Half Liter is part of the Liter House brewery and restaurant project that Sahm’s Restaurant Group has been developing at former Bent Rail Brewery
Chef Blake Ellis has made the rounds at Indianapolis restaurants, cooking at big names like Black Market, Tinker Street and most recently new Liter House, but his heart has long been set on barbecue, and it showed when Half Liter BBQ restaurant opened near Broad Ripple.
Ellis’ big, wood-fueled smoker tinted fall-from-the-bone-tender ribs pink and produced pulled pork so juicy it instantly generated thoughts of a monster sandwich on a Half Liter from-scratch bun.
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While Ellis tends meats, his team turns out Mom-style mac and cheese and stewed collard greens that are rich enough to make a meal with just cornbread on the side.
Dry-rubbed smoked wings at Half Liter BBQ, 5301 Winthrop Ave., Indianapolis. The restaurant opened March 4, 2019 south of Broad Ripple. (Photo: Liz Biro/IndyStar)
Half Liter is part of the Liter House brewery and restaurant project that Sahm’s Restaurant Group has been developing at the former Bent Rail Brewery, 5301 Winthrop Ave. Sahm’s started with German beer hall Liter House in July. Half Liter opened March 4.
A bar overlooks the family-friendly dining room at Half Liter BBQ, 5301 Winthrop Ave., Indianapolis. The restaurant opened March 4, 2019 south of Broad Ripple. (Photo: Liz Biro/IndyStar)
This spring, garage doors will open onto a 200-seat patio set with picnic tables, good spots to sip one of respected Indy barman Steve Simon’s frozen drinks. Even in winter, the Ramos Fizz, with Luxardo cherry gin, orange blossom water and vanilla ice cream, is a refreshing followup to barbecue feasts. Still, one of the bars hot toddies or 19 whiskeys is more fitting around the fireplace.
A grand fireplace flanks the dining room between garage doors that open in spring to a patio area that seats another 200 guests at Half Liter BBQ, 5301 Winthrop Ave., Indianapolis. The restaurant opened March 4, 2019 south of Broad Ripple. (Photo: Liz Biro/IndyStar)
You’ll have to walk through Liter House to reach Half Liter. Once inside, score a wooden picnic table, regular tables or a seat at the bar. Note your table number and then scan the chalkboard menu by Half Liter’s entrance. Order at the counter, telling the clerk your table number, before heading back to your seat to consider drinks. Write your beverage selections on cards provided and then hang the list from a tiny clothespin hanging from copper-pipe trees at each table.
Food arrives Texas-style, meaning just about everything you and your party orders all comes on one or a couple trays. It’s a situation that encourages family-style eating, and Half Liter welcomes kids.
Some dishes may be different than you expect. Half Liter’s inch-thick, smoked patty on Day 1 was lean and firm, a texture that you might excuse if lean burgers are your thing or if you’re charmed by the Instagramable load of caramelized onions, grilled mushrooms and so much melty blue cheese on top.
Follow IndyStar food writer Liz Biro on Twitter: @lizbiro, Instagram: @lizbiro, and on Facebook. Call her at 317-444-6264.
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