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A good time at Greatimes November 28, 2014

Posted by Kenny Norman in east, south.
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Greatimes is on Indianapolis’ southeast side off I-465 & Emerson on Elmwood Avenue. Greatimes is owned by Royal Pin, who owns four bowling alleys in town, including Expo Bowl next door. Greatimes is a Family Fun Center with an indoor section and an outdoor section. The indoor section is mainly a two-level arcade with party rooms, as well as an indoor playground for the kids. There’s also a pizza bar in the corner. The outdoor section is a bit more for teens and young adults, with go-karts, mini-golf, and bumper boats. Kids having parties get a t-shirt, pizza, tokens, and other prize packages, including two hours in the party room. I would recommend this place for a birthday party for ages 8 to 15. I’d been going here since my 11th Birthday in 2000, and throughout the years, I’ve moved from the indoor section to the outdoor section. That said, Greatimes has a wide variety of arcade games, including motorcycle games, air hockey, skee ball, shooting games, basketball games, and even bowling games. The facility is very colorful, has two levels, and stuffed animals are strung up to and from the center desk. The staff here prides themselves on great customer service and will bend over backwards to accommodate guests who have been shortchanged. The bumper boats and mini-golf were fun, though there was nothing special, unique, or intriguing about them. I considered the go-karts the highlight of the place, and I think most of the population agrees, judging by the sometimes hour-long line to get in. Most of the other attractions barely have lines. The go-kart track is very windy and full of turns, and stoplights are placed to tell riders when only one lap remains. Single and double carts are available if couples would like to ride together or race each other. However, as I said, be prepared for a wait, especially on a weekend afternoon. Greatimes, though, is worth the drive. Though kids may get the most mileage, there’s something for everyone here.

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Fountain Square offers new twist on old game November 26, 2014

Posted by Kenny Norman in south.
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25th Birthday Event! (6) - Copy

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Duckpin Bowling is an older style of bowling with a smaller ball. I went to a Duckpin Bowling alley in the basement of the Fountain Square Theatre Building for my 25th Birthday. The pricing is done per hour, not per game, and it’s $30 per hour. A maximum of six people may play per lane, so for six people to play two hours, it would be $10 apiece, which is roughly the same price as modern bowling alleys, such as Woodland Bowl. The staff there mainly stays by the counter and lets the guests do what they will, but they were nice enough to take our picture and let us pose with the decorative trophies on the walls. The Fountain Square Duckpin Bowling Alley only has a few lanes, so reservations are required. Parking is available in a nearby lot by a Family Dollar, so there will be a bit of walking and crossing streets. I would recommend this activity for a party planned well in advance. I personally prefer the more modern bowling alleys, but Duckpin Bowling was an intriguing twist on a frequently-played game and it was a nice change of pace. I’d go back there again.

Shopping at Castleton Square November 24, 2014

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Castleton Square is the mall servicing the middle class for the north side of Indianapolis. It’s located off 82nd street, just east of Allisonville Road. In the front, where L.S. Ayres once was, is a “lifestyle section” with H&M, an AMC movie theater, Johnny Rockets, Kay Jewelers, Houlihan’s, a Forever 21 (where Borders once stood), and a newly-opened McAllister’s Deli. Admittedly, I mainly went to this mall for Borders, and I shop more at Greenwood Park Mall now. However, there are still a few things I like here. There’s an FYE and a Hot Topic, which offer a wide range of music, DVDs, pop culture accessories, and clothes. I also like to go to the Aeropostale here, even though they tend to run out of my size more than any other location does. I notice that most of the stores here are women’s clothing stores, and their own directory listing supports this. In other malls, other stores make up more of the inline directory. The feature where I think Castleton Square surpasses other malls is the food court. There’s not a restaurant in this mall where I wouldn’t eat. They have a Maki of Japan and Asian Chao for Japanese and Chinese, respectively, as well as a Charley’s Steakery, Chick-Fil-A, Dairy Queen, and a Friday’s. There’s more, but those are the main attractions for me. There’s also a play area for the kids in the middle of the food court. Castleton Square Mall is also considered the largest mall in Indianapolis. While I definitely could not waste a whole afternoon here, it makes for a nice trip every so often for a delicious meal and other various shops.

Boogie Burger offers wide burger variety November 22, 2014

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Boogie Burger (7) - Copy Boogie Burger (1) - Copy Boogie Burger (2) - CopyBoogie Burger, which sits at the intersection of Crittenden and Broad Ripple Avenue, occupies the former Tin Star space. I had driven past it repeatedly and had always wanted to try it. This past summer, I finally did so. It’s also a small, neighborhood business, and that makes me admittedly a bit biased in supporting it. Their burgers are fairly cheap, from $6-10. However, there is more grease in their burger than a sit-down restaurant, and even moreso than certain fast food joints. That said, the burgers were quite delicious, and for a smaller restaurant, the selection was quite varied. They had a “blue moon” cheese burger, a “rise & shine” burger with eggs and bacon on it, and a “cluck & moo” which had a cheeseburger patty combined with a chicken breast. Bacon is often an additional charge, though. Boogie Burger has several places to sit, including a row of seats along the window, as well as an outdoor patio for the warmer months. They also have ice cream and milkshakes, available in about five different flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and birthday cake. While their milkshakes weren’t the best I’d ever had, they had a rich, creamy, smooth taste and feel, and I’d drink one again. I certainly found it better than the milkshakes from the nearest Steak n Shake at 54th & Keystone. The staff here is young and energetic, and they’re quite good at remembering faces. On my first trip there, the nice young waitress brought my food directly to me, and I was sitting in the back corner facing away from the main dining area. Fries are often an extra charge, but they taste like real potatoes, not some substitute cooked in chemicals. Nothing Boogie Burger offers would be considered “the best I’ve ever had” in its category, but the food is delicious and is a nice change of pace from fast food chains.

Firing up the Weber Grill November 20, 2014

Posted by Kenny Norman in downtown.
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Weber Grill (7) - Copy Weber Grill, located at the heart of Indy at 10 North Illinois Street, is right across from Circle Centre Mall. They advertise an open-flame, classic barbecue. I have had their barbecued half chicken with baked potato and it is wonderfully delicious, every bite bursting with sweet, charcoal flavor. This place is very much on the expensive side. The barbecued half chicken, for example, is $17. Therefore, I would only go to this place once a year or to celebrate a special occasion. The interior is very fancy, carpeted, wooden, brown, and dark, and the restaurant boasts a formal atmosphere. The restrooms even have high-definition television sets. One benefit of Weber Grill’s location across from the mall is that it has easy access from the Artsgarden; no one need venture outside in the winter months if they’re parked in Circle Centre’s garage. The staff here is polite and attentive, but as this restaurant is the only one in town and a common dining hotspot for hotel visitors, be prepared to make reservations and place your order as soon as possible. I find this restaurant to be near capacity more often than not. However, if you aren’t deterred by downtown traffic, a populated dining room, and a higher price tag, then I would suggest investigating Weber Grill. It is the best barbecue I have found currently available in Indianapolis. 

Red Robin: My favorite burger November 17, 2014

Posted by Kenny Norman in north, south.
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Red Robin- West Carmel Marketplace (1) - Copy Red Robin- Clay Terrace (7) - Copy Red Robin- Metropolis (3) - Copy Red Robin- Hamilton Town Center (7) - CopyRed Robin often uses the tagline “gourmet burgers.” Generally, I would be suspicious of a place that boasts about their own food, but I have to admit, Red Robin has the best burgers I have ever had…and I truly mean “ever.” I don’t find the meat too greasy or oily. It’s cooked as the customer likes it, from medium rare to well-done. (I usually get my burgers cooked medium well.) There are a variety of burgers available, from a banzai burger that has teriyaki and pineapple to the classic bacon cheeseburger. And, of course, they have their regular Red’s Tavern Double burger as well. The menu also includes bottomless fries. The fries are refilled as often as the drinks are. A few of their other entrees are also bottomless, including, surprisingly, the broccoli. For those diners who factor in the décor, the inside is casual, modern, and just a little bit nostalgic, with signs and posters dating back to Red Robin’s beginnings. The burgers range from $8-13, so I would consider it affordable, but not entirely cheap. There aren’t any technically in Indianapolis, though there are four locations in the suburbs. There’s one in Noblesville at Hamilton Town Center, one in Plainfield across from Metropolis, and two in Carmel: one farther due north at Clay Terrace and one just outside Indy northwest at 98th & Michigan. The staff here is also very friendly, advertising their specials, including certain promotions, and they happily accommodate any of their guests’ seating or dining preferences. Overall, I would say Red Robin is worth the extra few dollars more than a standard burger joint.