Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JUL-AUG 2019

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At e Northside Social, the hub of a three-restaurant cluster (the other two being The Northside Kitchenette and The Nook By Northside), flavor takes pride of place. It's the kind of place where you actually go to eat the food, not immortalize it on social media. For the past decade, this well-regarded establishment, under the guidance of co-owner Nicole Harlan-Oprisu and partners Tim Oprisu and Bill and Nancy Ficca, has oƒered a diverse menu of boldly traditional American cooking with more subtle Mediterranean in…uences. Clearly not targeted towards the attention-seeker or super‡cial Instagrammer, this is dining created for folks with the appetite and taste for hearty flavors. Portions are generous, and …avor combinations assertive. During those ten years, Northside Social has become something of an institution, beloved by its many regular customers for the consistently high quality of the cooking, the creative cocktail selections and the well-thought-out wine and beer lists. "Close enough to Broad Ripple to be cool, but far enough away to ‡nd a parking space" is how the owner describes her prime location on College Avenue: right in the middle of an a'uent, settled neighborhood, but removed from the nocturnal chaos a few blocks to the south. Being an institution comes with its own challenges, however. "It's wonderful to have been here for so long, and it's not unusual to see the same people in here or at the Kitchenette or Nook ‡ve days a week," says Nicole. "But there comes a time when you have to reinvent yourself, and try to reach a new clientele while retaining the regulars; otherwise you just become known as that place that's been there forever, and your business inevitably suƒers." Not enthusiastic about having Northside Social become a museum piece, and eager to immerse herself and her long-serving staƒ in a more stimulating culinary environment, Harlan-Oprisu, with Chef Dean Sample, has completely re-imagined and reworked the menu based upon classic dishes from the Low Country of the Carolinas and Georgia. With the popularity of Charleston as a food destination, and the absence of comparable menus anywhere else in Indianapolis, the decision is bold, yet inspired. Written by Neil Charles / Photography by Rachel Lutz LOW COUNTRY STYLE The Northside Social Reinvents its Menu 86 slmag.net

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