Earlier this year, I was talking with a guy at one of my dealers in Indianapolis and we were talking about places to buy eclectic beers in the area. He was telling me about a place that was a wine and beer store not far from his business in near-north Indianapolis - an interesting place with an interesting name - Goose the Market. He told me that in addition to beers, they also had a butcher shop that sold dry aged steaks and their own artisan meats. I figured I needed to check this place out at some point.
Then not long ago, I posted a picture on Road Tips' Twitter account of the meal I was having at an Indian restaurant in the Indy suburbs. One of Road Tips' Twitter followers, the guy who has the wonderful Chicago BBQ King blog site (a.k.a "Smokin', Chokin' and Chowin' with the King") replied back to me and asked if I'd had a sandwich at Goose the Market. I still hadn't made it there yet and I didn't know that it was also a deli that served sandwiches. He said it was a "must stop" for him each time he made it down to Indianapolis. With that kind of recommendation, I made it a point to stop into Goose the Market on my way out of town to grab a sandwich for the road.
Christopher Eley is a native of Indianapolis who found his passion working in restaurants as a teenager working at one of the Sahm's locations in the area. A self-professed under achiever in high school, Eley went off to Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts in Providence, R.I., to learn how to be a chef. He then went to Purdue University where he studied hotel and restaurant management.
Eley went to Chicago and worked with legendary chef Rick Tramonto (Tru, Tramonto Steak and Seafood, Osteria di Tramanto) and Tramonto's ex-wife - and revered pastry chef - Gale Gand. Eley tells the story of telling a chef he used to work for - possibly Tramonto - that he wanted to possibly open his own restaurant at some point. The chef's advice to Eley? "Give me $500,000 and then I'll punch you in the face. Then we'll call it even."
Tired of working for someone else and wanting to get back to Indianapolis, Eley and his wife, Mollie, (pictured right) bought a newly developed building in the Fall Creek Place neighborhood on the corner of Delaware and 25th just north of downtown Indy. His goal was to have a gourmet butcher shop that focused on selling naturally and locally raised meat products. Mollie's nickname growing up was "Goose", hence the name - Goose the Market - and they opened for business in October of 2007. Chris and Mollie made their home on the second and third floors of the building which stood where an old abandoned gas station once sat before the area was redeveloped.
After awhile, Chris Eley began to sell wine and cheese in his store. And, against his own better judgement, he eventually began to sell artisan sandwiches in Goose the Market. A year after they opened, Goose the Market was named by Bon Appetit magazine as one of the 10 top sandwich places in the United States.
The Eley's eventually began to sell eclectic beers and opened the Enoteca, a small wine bar in the basement of their business that they call the "Goose Cellar". The downstairs area has seating for 15 people and a seasonal outdoor patio in the back has room for 10 more patrons. Goose the Market is now a full-service deli that also sells coffee, espresso, pastries and gelato.
Chris Eley's goal was to have his own USDA-inspected facility to smoke and cure the naturally-raised meats that didn't use compounded nitrates in the process. In 2011, they opened their own meat processing business - the Smoking Goose - that sells handcrafted salami, sausages, cured and smoked meats to restaurants and hotels in the greater Indianapolis area.
I was through with my last appointment in Indianapolis around 10:30 a.m. and I drove over to Goose the Market, finding a parking spot just up the street on Delaware. (see map) Walking into the restaurant you immediately see the long counter filled with all different types of meats. They had 100-day-old aged steaks in the case along with their own smoked and cured meats from the Smoking Goose. I didn't bring my cooler with me or I would have picked up some salami, capicola and pepperoni for my homemade Italian sandwiches.
On the wall directly opposite the meat counter were boxes filled with a number of locally and naturally raised produce. The produce is seasonal so you won't see many summer veggies in the produce bins in the wintertime.
The menu for sandwiches is on one of the blackboards on the wall behind the meat counter. Their signature sandwich - the Goose - consists of prosciutto, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil on a hard roll hoagie. The Tatiana featured beef brisket, Emmental Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and topped with a sweet pepper mustard on a hoagie. And the Stahly had sliced smoked turkey breast, Mascarpone Italian cheese, stewed apples, pink peppercorns and fresh lettuce greens on a hoagie.
The one that caught my eye, however, was the Batali. It was an Italian hoagie that featured capicola, soppressata, dry cured capicola (or coppa), provolone cheese, hot giardiniera, tomato preserves, fresh romaine lettuce and sliced marinated red onions. Actually, it was the one sandwich at Goose the Market the Chicago BBQ King told me was his favorite. I ordered that from one of the young ladies behind the counter.
Since they weren't busy, it wasn't long before I got my sandwich. After paying for it, I asked if I could have a look around the downstairs area. She said, "Have at it!"
The Enoteca (from the Italian "wine depository) in the Goose Cellar features a number of bottles of wine for sale. A large community table with heavy benches on two sides sits in the middle of the wine room for people to use while they're eating sandwiches from the deli upstairs or to sip some wine when the wine bar is open. Deep well windows let in some natural light into the room to give it a more open and less sub-terranean feel.
Of more interest to me, they had a varied selection of microbrews and imports in the Enoteca. Many of the microbrews were from Indiana craft brewers such as Three Floyds, Sun King and Oaken Barrel Brewing Co. Some beers I was familiar with, some were not. There wasn't anything that jumped out at me that made me want to take something home. At least, not on this trip.
The wine bar area of the Enoteca was situated in a small room off to the side of the larger room in the basement. There was a small bar where you can get wines by the glass. I believe they also sold beer at the wine bar, but I'm not certain about that. They also offered cheese and charcurterie plates in the Enoteca. This would be the kind of place my wife would like to go to.
Ah! The Batali sandwich - the main reason why I went to Goose the Market in the first place. The hoagie bread had a crunchy outside and a chewy inner core. The fresh Italian meats were a mix of spicy and robust flavors, but not hot enough to detract from the overall taste of the meats. The giardiniera was not that hot - at least, to me - but it was a nice accompaniment to the taste of the Italian meats. The sandwich was good served cold and the flavors of the meats would have probably been enhanced even more if they would have been warmed up - the way I like to make my homemade Italian sandwiches. I was able to eat one half of the sandwich and the other half kept well for a couple days. The Batali was as good as the Chicago BBQ King told me it would be. (You can follow him here on Twitter.)
Goose the Market is one of those little places that makes traveling on the road a worthwhile experience. Finding a place that is as unique and diverse as the little butcher shop/delicatessen/wine bar on N. Delaware in Indianapolis is a large treat. The Batali sandwich was very good and the overall vibe to the place was very pleasing. If you get to Indianapolis at some point, you need to go check out Goose the Market. Oh, and take your cooler.