Indianapolis–3 Sisters, who–or what–are they? (besides a great little cafe)

NOTE: For more reviews of places in Indy, see our Travels (with) aBroad page–

Front porch conversation is best enjoyed in the company of a dog tied to a nearby tree and set to the music of wind chimes. And so my husband and I sat on the painted porch of 3 Sisters Café in the Broad Ripple art district, our conversation punctuated by some other patron’s dog as he naughtily barked at chatty passers-by. We talked about traveling to India and about what to wear to the Renaissance Faire in July and a bazillion other things during this second visit to what is now one of our favorite places to eat in Indy.

No, it’s not owned by three sisters, although the middle-aged women who own, cook, and serve breakfast, lunch, and now dinner at this old Victorian home on Guilford seem like they belong to some sisterhood dedicated to fresh ingredients, no-nonsense service, and healthful and creative dishes, like the Mambo Italiano, which is one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten (and dug into so quickly I forgot to take a picture of it). So you go ahead and picture fresh tomatoes, pesto, and mozzarella on bread completely crusted with melted parmesan. I heard Dean Martin crooning as I ate it. The ginger mango tea was strong and unsweetened and fit perfectly on that shaded porch where I kicked off my flip-flops and rested my feet on my husband’s lap while we chatted.

And although we’re not dessert people, I couldn’t resist trying the blueberry and goat cheese pie. My husband wasn’t that impressed, but I liked it and the goat cheese left a hint in my mouth of the days I’d visit my cousin’s cow barn. (That means sweet and extremely earthy if you haven’t been.) I also tried a latte with housemade black walnut flavoring (although it was either quite subtle or someone forgot it).

Our first time felt like walking into some stranger’s house accidentally, but someone who didn’t mind at all and asked you to have a bite to eat because they had plenty. Three sisters is not a reference to any particular number of gray-haired women who call you “sweetie” and “honey” and do it in such a way that you don’t mind. The three sisters are corn, beans, and squash, which, according to Iroquois legend, should be planted together in community. Yes, a vegetable community.

The café’s vegetarian/vegan generous menu helped when I was on my Daniel Fast during our first visit. I ordered the King of Siam sandwich—a pita topped with (deep breath): hummus, cranberries, apples, almonds, spinach leaves, fava beans, red onion, and grain pilaf.

My husband enjoyed the omelet with goat cheese (I’m thinking there may be a long-lost fourth sister in here), onions, and mushrooms with a side of vegan chili.

My meat-eater ordered it on our second visit, too. He also tried the café’s signature potato salad, which is ordered a la carte as are most items on the menu. This decision was made by the owner who waited on us that first visit and explained, “We were throwing too much away, and I said ‘the hell with that.’” We tried desperately to clean our plates.

I hope to visit again before the summer ends and share “fitting and wonderful” (as the owner would say) conversation and smoothies with my husband on the front porch. And there is a grilled brie and berry sandwich that is begging to be blogged about.

3 thoughts on “Indianapolis–3 Sisters, who–or what–are they? (besides a great little cafe)

  1. Yum – yum! This wasn’t this weekend was it??? Milt and I were in Indy this weekend for a rockabilly fest. We ate at Rick’s Boatyard which was AMAZINGLY good and had great scenery and jazz… Have you been there!?


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