I need a little more time to process my thoughts on General Convention #77 but I thought I’d give a quick look at the City of Indianapolis.
I should admit that I have a bias against many midwest cities right off the bat. As a child of the hill country of western Pennsylvania my image of a beautiful city includes a greater variety in elevation than places like Indianapolis can offer. Of course at the same time Indy threw a few additional roadclocks in the way of any potential love affair by trying to roast me like a holiday turkey the first several days. Temps in excess of 100 degrees are just oppressive. Later in the week the temperatures moderated into the 80s and low 90s. Still hot but seeming much more reasonable after the early convention heat wave.
Outside of that Indy struck me as an interesting. Some interesting architecture and it seems to offer a nice variety of things to do. Being the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates AAA affiliate certainly is in the city’s favor, a couple big league sports teams, Symphony, several pretty good museums and a pretty good zoo I’m told. Home to one of the nation’s greatest racetracks and races. Not bad at all.
We had several great meals during our two visits here. Shula’s Steak House (Miami Dolphin Hall of Fame coach Don Shula. Not sure why he has a restaurant in Indianapolis) was fabulous, Buca di Bepo was also great, as was Barcelona Tapas. Also kudos to the Panera Bread right in downtown who handled an unexpected influx of 30 people with great care and efficiency. Sadly beyond that we were profoundly UN-impressed by the service pretty much everywhere else we went. for a city that prides itself on being a “convention city” an awful lot of food places seem to be clueless that such a thing might be going on. A large chain restaurant just a block or two from the Convention Center had no idea that an 8 day convention of thousands of people were even in town! We walked in with a group of 12 which is large but they weren’t that busy. Yet there was no solution offered to get us seated. No trying to break the group up (which we could have done easily) just left us cooling our heels till we gave up and left. Worst of all was the one food service court vendor IN THE CONVENTION CENTER ITSELF that somehow didn’t manage to have enough stock on hand for lunch one day. Not that they ran out during lunch but they had nothing for the start of lunch that day. Personally I’d be kicking the manager in charge of stocking that vendor to the curb. They lost hundreds if not thousands of dollars that day and probably more over the final 3-4 days of the convention.
Most of my visit was great. But in the end Indianapolis didn’t quite pull it off as well as I’d bet they wish they might have. If you’re in Indianapolis definitely try the places listed above plus the Chocolate Cafe on Monument Circle near the Episcopal cathedral!