If you asked me for a quick hit list of restaurants you just have to try in Southern Indiana, I could easily come up with 12: Hull & High Water, Orange Clover, The Exchange Pub + Kitchen, Red Yeti, Arni’s, Sam’s, Aladdin’s Cafe, River City Winery, Brooklyn & the Butcher, Israel’s Delicias de Mexico Gourmet, Rice Bowl and MESA (which isn’t exactly a restaurant but is a collaborative eating experience).
The Caesar Salad.
But, now that I’m a Hoosier, I rely on friends who live in Louisville to keep me up on the River City’s best places to eat. That’s how I found Bar Vetti. My friend – and talented food photographer – Josh Keown recently invited me to join him there for lunch. It took me a couple moments to find the restaurant, which is located inside the 800 Tower City Club Apartments, and a parking space. There isn’t a dedicated parking lot, so be prepared for street (and metered) parking.
Sleek and chic yet comfortable, too, the 45-seat restaurant opened in October 2017. Owned by HiCotton Hospitality – the talented team behind Feast BBQ and Royals Hot Chicken – Bar Vetti has garnered rave reviews, and deservedly so.
Neither Josh nor I had a lot of time to spare, which is always a concern for me when dining in for lunch, but I shouldn’t have worried. At lunchtime, you order at the counter and then a server brings your food, which happened quickly.
Josh ordered the Salumi (tomato, calabrese, soppressata, toscana, mozzarella, peppadew peppers; $19) and declared it delicious. An art director for Pizza Today Magazine, he gets paid to eat and photograph pizzas around the country, so that was seriously high praise.
I opted to order the Caesar Salad (baby romaine, date and anchovy dressing, crunchy bits, bottarga, salmon roe; $9/$14). I went with the half-order, which was incredibly filling and – hands down – the absolute best Caesar salad I’ve ever had. I mean ever.
The menus for breakfast and lunch are small but varied. I look forward to trying the Bomboloni (Italian donuts, apple butter; $8) and Cauliflower Crostino (seaweed tonnato, golden raisins, white grapes, herbs, caper vinaigrette; $9), which comes served with marinated charred cabbage, flaming hot chickpeas or Louismill grits, as do all sandwiches.
The dinner menu has a good selection of unique Bites, Plates, Pasta, Pizza and Dessert, and – so I’m told – a really cool vibe at night, whether you opt to imbibe or not.
One thing to note: Bar Vetti staff don’t accept gratuities as made clear in a note on the menu that reads: “As a non-tipping restaurant, we promote an equitable wage for all of our employees; hospitality is included.”
800 S. Fourth St.
8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday
5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Photos by Josh Keown