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#1
Posted February 20th 2005, 4:49pm
This weekend, Mrs. JiLS and I went to Indianapolis to visit my parents. Immediately after witnessing this ultra-cool helicopter
installation of machinery on the roof of the Indiana National Bank Tower, we had lunch at Shapiro's Cafeteria/Delicatessen.

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I'll let these pictures do most of the talking, but with one preface: Observe the thickness and quality of the bread on the sandwiches. Here's what I am talking about when I say Manny's and others I've been to here seem to short-sheet the bread on the deli sandwiches.

First, a look at the cafeteria line at Shapiro's. See those two support columns? They are 18 feet apart. They and two others, all inside the dining area, are the only standing remains of the original Shapiro's store, which opened in 1905 at this spot.

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Here are some of the desserts. We didn't have room for any this time; based on past experience, they are as good as they look:

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The corned beef on rye:

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The potato pancake (a little bit dry, too finely grated for my taste, and I'll say Manny's has a better product here, but Shapiro's still worth exploring, and would likely be aided by sour cream or applesauce):

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And here is the reuben sandwich enjoyed by Mrs. JiLS (presented with a technical assist from GWiv):

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(They will make a reuben with coleslaw instead of kraut, if you prefer. Mrs. JiLS went for the traditional model.)


That's it for our field trip to Shapiro's. Hope you enjoyed.

Shapiro's Cafeteria/Delicatessen
808 S. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, Indiana
www.shapiros.com
Last edited by JimInLoganSquare on February 20th 2005, 6:55pm, edited 7 times in total.
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#2
Posted February 20th 2005, 5:12pm
Shapiro's does make some fine pastrami and corned beef. I would you could put them up in the top 10 nationwide. I'm going to be stopping in Indianapolis for a night. With any luck I hope to have dinner and breakfast either downtown or at the Carmel location.

I alwasy buy dessert to go. Its a long, boring drive back to South Bend.
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Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
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#3
Posted February 21st 2005, 9:18am
Hey! Shapiro's!

As only a few of you know (the cat's out of the bag now) the Hungryrabbi moonlights as a blues drummer, and my (his?) work takes me (him? ok, I'll stop) to Indianoplace quite often. One of the premier Blues clubs in the country, the Slippery Noodle, is right up the street from Shapiro's, on the corner of Meridian and South. Last year, I found myself there (funny, that usually happens to people in Tibet) playing a fill-in gig with a singer from Chicago. The Noodle graciously allows bands the use of their club-owned ranch house in South Indy. After we had spent the night at the band house, we had to go back to the club to straighten something or another out. I was driving (luckily, as you'll see in a sec) and passed by Shapiro's, to which I called out "brunch, anyone??" The rest of they guys, including the bandleader, had their hearts set on Bob Evans (don't ask) but, being at the helm of the vehicle, I steered us towards Shapiro's instead. I had no idea if the place was going to be good, but the name (Lantsmann!) and the Katz's-like, cafeteria interior boded well for me. I could hear the groans and bitching from the rest of the band as I pulled in, and more nonsense from them once we got inside and had to wait on line. The line moves fast, though, cause the nice people at Shapiro's have their act together, and not just as far as being quick on the carve. Close your eyes, and it's about 97% of the way to Katz's or Adelman's in New York. The boys opted for breakfast anyway (out of sheer provincialism) and were rewarded with omelettes, hash browns, even biscuits and gravy that looked and smelled (and, apparently, judging from their silence and clean plates, tasted) incredible. I wouldn't know, though, cause I was in Chopped Liver and Pastrami heaven. Right on the money, and, yes, with great, thick-cut, chewy, ballsy rye bread, a Dr. Brown's Cream Soda, and piece of delish chocolate cake and cup of strong, old-school diner coffee to finish. Made the 3 hour ride back to Chicago seem like... well, no, that always seems like the 3 hours it is. Indiana is still Indiana (it's where Prince Charles spent his honeymoon, too.). But Shapiro's (to paraphrase Katie Couric) rocks! Eccch, a little pricey, maybe... But good to see Shaipro's not only surviving in Indy (a town that never met a chain restaurant it didn't like) but thriving, with no compromises to quality, atmosphere, or service. 3.5 Mogen Davids out of 4. Coincidentally, that singer I was backing up - he makes Shapiro's his post-gig tradition every time he returns to Indy. Ha!

Reb
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#4
Posted March 26th 2005, 9:41am
nice pics.

It is worth the stop. Was there for an early lunch.

Had a corned beef/pastrami combo sandwich on rye so I could try both meats, also had a side of chopped chicken liver and marinated mushrooms.

The corned beef was good, the better of the two meats. Do they cook their own meats here? I ask the question because I went to the take out area afterwords to browse and buy a sesame bagel, they had lots of Vienna products in the case (retail packs).

Bagel was good, but seeing as I just had some Montreal bagels a week ago, no place in the US would have come close to making the level bagel that Montreal does.
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I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
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#5
Posted March 26th 2005, 4:29pm
Shapiro's definitely cooks all its own meats. In fact, each of the two locations makes its own meats (they have another spot in north suburban Carmel). Quoting the boss, Brian Shapiro, from the book Tray Chic, "Our food isn't made in a factory. The corned beef served at Shapiro's in Carmel is made at Shapiro's in Carmel." (Which is, of course, the same story for the original southside location). I'll suspect the pre-packs of Vienna Beef products are a last vestige of Shapiro's original life as a grocery that happened to sell sandwiches.
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#6
Posted May 18th 2005, 9:44pm
Had business reasons (a terrifyingly boring seminar) to be in Indianapolis last night and today. Last night meant a tolerable meal at Ruth's Chris with the client; today meant glomming onto three sandwiches from Shapiro's Carmel location to take on the road (one for my drivetime snack, two for Mrs. JiLS and me to enjoy at dinner upon my return). Corned beef, pastrami and rye bread in Carmel are the same as South Meridian Street (although the setting has been sanitized for that Carmel housewife/soccer mom acceptance factor. For those unfamiliar with Carmel, think Northbrook, only much bigger).

Here's how the remains of the 8-hour old pastrami sandwich looked this evening, after a four hour drive and four hours of refrigeration, too; imagine how it looked fresh from the line:

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(Fans of Manny's are requested to please observe the bread) :)
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#7
Posted May 18th 2005, 9:56pm
Hi,

Sure looks lovely for an 8 hour old sandwich. How could youth improve those looks?

The bread seems hand cut or is it just your picture?

If you ever want to do the Indianapolis and environs food crawl, then please put me on your list after Mrs. JiLS. Our midwest is not so blindingly dull as many would suggest. There is treasure everywhere if you spend enough time at it.

Regards,
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Cathy2

"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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#8
Posted May 18th 2005, 10:52pm
JimInLoganSquare wrote:
(Fans of Manny's are requested to please observe the bread) :)


I see what you mean about the bread, but sometimes extra thick bread makes for an extra dry sandwich IMHO, although this looks pretty good. It kind of reminds me of Langers in LA. The sandwich I had at HP Schmaltz in Naperville was a nice compromise, though. The bread was thick, but soft enough to not dry the sandwich.

HP Schmaltz Corned Beef on Rye
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Your picture, and the ones posted earlier in the thread had me somewhat excited about a trip to Carmel to visit my Goddaughter that will take place this summer.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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#9
Posted May 19th 2005, 5:17am
Shapiro's does a fine job with the pastrami sandwich. I've eaten at both locations and the only difference is atmosphere. I have also had the beef stew which was a joy to eat. Bright, flavorful, vegetables with rich beef.
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Bruce
Plenipotentiary
bruce@bdbbq.com

Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
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#10
Posted May 19th 2005, 7:49am
stevez wrote:I see what you mean about the bread, but sometimes extra thick bread makes for an extra dry sandwich IMHO, although this looks pretty good.


Steve -- Shapiro's bread is anything but dry; very moist but with strong and toothsome crusts. If you look closely at my most recent picture, you may be able to see some finger indentations in the bread surface that indicate its moisture level is pretty much ideal, even after a long road trip.
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#11
Posted May 19th 2005, 7:52am
JimInLoganSquare wrote:
Steve -- Shapiro's bread is anything but dry; very moist but with strong and toothsome crusts. If you look closely at my most recent picture, you may be able to see some finger indentations in the bread surface that indicate its moisture level is pretty much ideal, even after a long road trip.


Yep. Lookin' good!
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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#12
Posted June 15th 2006, 9:08pm
I've been to Shapiro's a couple times back in the 90's. I'm stopping there en route to Bloomington, IN within the next few days. I'm almost a vegetarian, so I don't dig corned beef, etc. Other than that, I'm game for almost anything. Any recommendations?
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#13
Posted June 15th 2006, 9:33pm
kithat wrote:I've been to Shapiro's a couple times back in the 90's. I'm stopping there en route to Bloomington, IN within the next few days. I'm almost a vegetarian, so I don't dig corned beef, etc. Other than that, I'm game for almost anything. Any recommendations?


Their breads are so good, a cheese sandwich would likely hit the spot. I suspect they'd do a nice grilled cheese for you; get some kraut on it and a potato pancake on the side, get a Cel-Ray or another Dr. Brown's soda, and you'll do all right (even though I'm not a huge fan of the style of latke done at Shapiro's, it's a legit expression of a style that many prefer; see my picture above). The desserts are also fantastic; great cheesecake and, as noted by hungryrabbi, the chocolate cake is very good. They aren't all about the vegetables at Shapiro's, but their attention to quality is so high, I think you'll do all right with whatever you order.
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JiLS
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#14
Posted June 16th 2006, 7:50am
kithat wrote:I've been to Shapiro's a couple times back in the 90's. I'm stopping there en route to Bloomington, IN within the next few days. I'm almost a vegetarian, so I don't dig corned beef, etc. Other than that, I'm game for almost anything. Any recommendations?

About a half-block south of Shapiro's
are a couple other good places, Greek
Islands and Cafe@Ray.

Greek Islands has all the usual suspects,
but one of their stand-outs is their Greek
Spaghetti, with a thick, rich, spicy sauce -
probably tasty with no meat, but unbeatable
topped with their tasty gyro meat.

Cafe@Ray is run by the same Greek
Family, but is a "lighter" option, with
good sandwiches and soups in a
relaxed cafe atmosphere (and
bonus out-door, off-the-street
dining around back).

Shapiro's has some of the best
house-made smoked salmon (lox)
to be found. And getting it as the
"Lox Plate" usually gets you about
a half-pound, with cream cheese,
olives and a toasted bagel, for
less than you pay by-the-pound.

Desserts: Boston Cream Pie. Or
just one (or two) of their robust,
slightly-sweet Pumpernickel Bagels.
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#15
Posted June 16th 2006, 8:32am
I grew up on Shapiro's. You can't go without having the macaroni and cheese. Ask for a corner scoop so you get all the browned, crispy bits. And the green beans are great. I don't know what they add to them, but they have a really unique flavor. I happen to love the chocolate chunk cookies. Buy a couple for the trip to Bloomington.
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#16
Posted November 27th 2006, 1:04pm
Made it to Shapiro's, finally. Post-Thanksgiving with s/o's relatives in the indy burbs. (just the s/o and I...funny story...we were gonna go the day before, but with two young nieces in tow...s/o's mom said oh...as long as they can get a ham sandwich they'll be fine...um...yeah...)Carmel location for breakfast...at first I was miffed that we only received brkfst menus, but our amazingly friendly(we discussed mohair sweaters as that's what I was wearing and she liked it) waitress/floor manager said, "honey, they're just now setting up the sandwich line, but you go on ahead and get yourself whatever you want." What I wanted was a half-pastrami(profiled in November's Indianapolis Monthly's Cheap Eats cover story---great issue of hidden gems like...wait for it...The Workingman's Friend), a cup of matzoh ball soup, and a Dr. Brown's black cherry soda---was drinking it outta the can as is my want and our waitress gave me a concerned look, asked, "honey, you want some ice?...I'm gonna get you some ice." S/o ordered a mountain of corned beef hash which he was quite pleased with. My pastrami was the best I've had, ever...I'm no Jewish meats scholar...so, what do I know? But, damn! The tenderest beef, that crispy and soft-in-all-the-right-places rye. So frickin' good. The soup a perfectly balanced dialectic of chicken, salt, and aromatics soflty lapping at my tender, lovely matzoh ball(uhuh).

Waitress came 'round to see how we were doin', looked at my plate and said simply, "honey, looks like you killed it."

Just crumbs and a need to go back there right now.

We picked up some great bagels on the way out.

Shapiro's? Will you marry me?

thank you all and esp. hungryrabbi
Last edited by Christopher Gordon on November 27th 2006, 3:04pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#17
Posted November 27th 2006, 2:58pm
I had my first visit to Shapiro's in years last week. It was as good as advertised/as good as memories. I'm not a big breakfast guy, and I was glad they were able to whip me up a pastrami sandwich at 9:30 AM. Not only was the meat great, in the pantheon only below Schwartz's and Katz's from what I've tried, but the bread for the sandwich was top notch as well. Manny's should copy the decor!
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#18
Posted November 27th 2006, 3:25pm
Vital Information wrote:Manny's should copy the decor!


I thought the decor was quite (pre-two or three remodels ago) Mannyesque. It reminded me of the old days at Manny's as soon as I walked in.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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#19
Posted November 27th 2006, 5:00pm
I wasn't going to bother posting on Shapiro's but figured I might as well make a few comments. If you're in Indianapolis and have even the slightest interest in delis or cafeterias, Shapiro's is an essential stop. Everything I tried was at least very good.

The one slight disappointment was the Reuben. Shapiro's fresh-baked, hand-sliced rye bread that's so wonderful in their regular sandwiches actually works to the Reuben's disadvantage. It's sliced so thick that it interferes with heat transfer and prevents the cheese from melting at all—in my book a serious problem for a Reuben. If you look at the picture in this thread's first post, you can see it wasn't an isolated occurrence. Even so, this was an awfully good sandwich.

Reuben
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I later tried a plain corned beef sandwich and enjoyed it immensely. Almost as good was the pastrami sandwich. I also liked the chopped liver but would have preferred it had not been so finely pureed. One of these days I hope to make it to Shapiro's in time for breakfast.

Pastrami on Rye
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I hadn't been in Shapiro's even 5 minutes before I realized it's an exceedingly well-run restaurant. Even though it was quite crowded the line moved smoothly, the food was replenished frequently, and tables were cleared promptly. Impressive enough but as I was sitting down, a woman at the next table dropped her tray. A busboy and manager appeared immediately, calming her down, cleaning up the broken dishes, and finding out her order. About 2 minutes later a third person brought out a new batch of food. Very impressive.
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#20
Posted December 21st 2006, 8:39am
The LTH Shapiro's Pastrami Collection:

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Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.

The Local Beet 2014 Guide to Chicagoland Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs)
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#21
Posted January 6th 2007, 9:48am
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Xmas Eve 2006
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#22
Posted January 6th 2007, 10:03am
Being Santa in a Jewish Deli has got to be one of the loneliest jobs on earth.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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#23
Posted March 21st 2007, 3:01pm
03.18.07

Well, next morning we trundled about the downtown again...attenuated nigh-Spring sunlight...chilly in the shadows...perfume of green beer and stomach fluid. Breakfasted at an Einstein’s Bagel...

Original Shapiro’s! for lunch.

Another brisk walk from the hotel back through this Twilight Zoned street of becalmed vintage houses stuck in amongst factories and massive construction.

Shapiro’s was packed like a motherfucker.

(neither here nor there...I guess Giuliani stopped in the week before)

Seems like it’s the sister of our own Manny’s or the long-lamented Busy Bee...a Sunday go-to-meetin’ crowd sprinkled with assorted politicos. It really didn’t seem all that Jewish to me...not that the other location does either. Hell...it seemed like most people were drinking pink lemonade to wash down their turkey sandwiches and iceberg lettuce salads. To each his own, I suppose. We went for the pastrami and matzoh ball soup like good goyim. Also tried the deviled eggs and one helluva carrot cake slice.

Yay! Shapiro’s!
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"Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
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#24
Posted February 18th 2012, 7:31am
Wanted to say that I visited clients in Indy last Monday--had one meeting at 10:00 and one at 1:00. I was hoping that my 10:00 wouldn't want to take me to lunch, so I could nip on over to John's Famous Stew.

Alas, it was not to be. He took me to Shapiro's, which I guess has been there a long time. I was hoping for the best, but found Shapiro's to be like Manny's if it were in the bizarro world. Cafeteria-style, steam table-laden, but that's where the similarities ended. The rye bread was good, and they brine a decent pickle, but the pastrami was fairly tasteless & very fatty, accompanied by a thick, non-seasoned potato latke. And every bit as high-priced as Manny's. Not impressed.
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