midwest college & coffee tour (part 2)

see Part 1 (Pittsburgh & Columbus)


The City
Our next stop was Indianapolis, a city I had never visited before. My expectations were for bland, plain, vanilla, and I was very wrong. Older downtown with a mix of old and new buildings, a little grit to it; some beautiful residential neighborhoods, and some that may have seen better days; and Broad Ripple, the local version of a college town commercial district.

Fun part of the visit was attending game 3 of the first round NBA playoff series between the Pacers and Boston Celtics. Our hotel was right around the corner from the arena, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which is superb. Great atmosphere, free t-shirts waiting on each seat along with a wristband that lit up under the arena’s control. Made for a really cool light show throughout the game.

I want to come back again and visit the famous St. Elmo Steak House, didn’t have the chance this time around.

The College
Butler University seems a great fit in terms of size and academics, definitely a strong contender for my son. Beautiful, compact campus, some of the nicest dorms I’ve seen, a fantastic recreation and health center for students, and historic Hinkle Field House. You may remember it as the setting for the state championship in the movie Hoosiers.

The Coffee (side visit)
I popped into Bee Coffee Roasters’ downtown shop, across the street from the Convention Center. There’s nothing great or bad about the layout, which is a pretty typical lobby level office building retail space. Whatever was lacking in atmosphere was made up for by the coffee, which was fantastic. Nicely balanced, layers of flavor. Delicious.

Bee Coffee Roasters
201 S. Capitol Ave, Indianapolis, IN

The Coffee (main visit)
Manon Coffee has been in Broad Ripple for more than 20 years. It’s a warm, comfortable shop with a mishmash of non-matching used furniture, light wood floor, a mix of colors on the walls, and a picture window facing the street flooding the room with light. It’s the kind of place where you can sink into a chair or couch and not want to leave for a while.

The only problem is that the coffee isn’t very good, unfortunately. Made from their own roasts on a Nuovo Simonelli machine, my macchiato was too hot and had lots of airy foam. There wasn’t much flavor to it. I let the drink sit for a while to cool down, which helped with the temperature of the drink but not the lack of flavor. I chose not to finish it. So chalk the place up, at least on this visit, and a warm and welcoming spot on a cool, rainy day, but it might have been a better option to explore the tea menu.

There’s a selection of baked goods from 4 Birds Bakery. My peanut butter chocolate chip cookie was pleasingly chewy, if overall nothing special.

Monon Coffee Company
920 E. Westfield Blvd., Indianapolis, IN

NEXT city: Chicago

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