We’re not completely sure if Shapiro’s qualifies as an Indianapolis institution, but if it doesn’t, it’s awfully close. Any establishment that gets mentioned in a book such as Roadfood counts as a local institution in our book.
Jennifer has been to Shapiro’s a time or two with her family, including her tongue-sandwich-eating father. Yes, we said tongue. Sheila went to the Carmel location several years ago and mostly remembered that the sandwich she got was much too big to eat responsibly. So of course she was un-responsible and polished it off solo.
Today however, we decided to behave ourselves, perhaps not entirely by choice. When we first walked in the setting is almost overwhelming – the takeout counters, the crowded seating area, the busy menu board. Yeah, we had no idea what we were doing and kept trying to get other people to pass us so we didn’t hold up the line. Desserts (mostly cheesecake) started the line, which didn’t really give us time to consider what we wanted, and by the time Sheila realized she would have liked a piece of plain cheesecake we were much too far along in the line. Fortunately the the line’s progress, we’d already decided on our lunch – we were going to split a Reuben.
But then they threw in other options like sides and did we want something? Who knows what some of those things were, although the mac & cheese looked delicious and there were some very healthy-looking greens. The line just moved too fast! Confusingly, when Sheila gave the Reuben order she was presented with an empty blue plate and a mumbled “… this” ? Huh ? After asking, yes, we were to take the (empty) plate with us.
And then we were at the drink station (what, no chips anywhere to grab a bag?) and were getting pressured to go to the other checkout on the other side of the line – but we still needed a drink so we were slow to react. Finally getting to the checkout, Sheila asked for clarification on the empty plate and how exactly we would get our Reuben.
Turns out the Reuben is the only sandwich that gets delivered to you, so the blue plate is just so they know who’s waiting for a sandwich.
So we find the glasses of ice / water spout, and find an empty table, and before we get settled they bring the Reuben. And all the issues we had with not knowing what we’re doing go out the window once we taste the sandwich.
We’ve had a Reuben or two in our past, and this one is up there with the best ever. Sheila feels it’s the best rye bread she’s ever had, and Jennifer thought the meat was exquisite. The sauerkraut was appropriately tangy and if we were to look for something to complain about, it would only be the slight excess of Thousand Island dressing. But really, that’s quibbling and you know we hate to quibble. (No comments from the spousal unit, please).
One sandwich, no sides, no dessert and it still was enough for two. They pile the meat on with a very VERY generous hand so it’s really the perfect place to spit a meal. As long as you’re not with Jennifer’s dad and he’s ordering tongue.
Oh, and the chips? They’re in a rack as you first enter the line. So plan ahead.
Service ** Friendly enough but very basic. It’s a cafeteria line after all.
Atmosphere ** 1/2. You’re not going there for the atmosphere.
808 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Or, if you’re north of town:
918 S Rangeline Rd
Carmel, IN 46032