Noodling around

Whether they’re stir-fried, deep fried or boiled, there’s something about noodles that always delights us. Although the traditional flour-and-egg pasta might be the first noodle to pop into your noodle, remember that noodles can also be made from rice flour or mung bean starch. A versatile food, they are used in a variety of ways: cold, hot, in salads, soups, as main or side dishes. Here, four noodle dishes from in and around the southside of Indianapolis.

Yum Wun Sen at House of Thai (pictured)
275 S. State Road 135, Greenwood
(317) 889-0886,

House of Thai offers food with an authentic twist. Sure, it offers the familiar Thai noodle dishes (such as pad thai) that many of us would recognize on a menu, but it prides itself on freshly made food, so customers can make special requests. You need it gluten or allergy free? No problem. You want your dish with no spice or extra spicy? Sure thing.

One of the many noodle dishes on the menu is Yum Wun Sen, a salad that begins with silver noodles, which are made from mung bean starch. These clear, thin noodles are boiled first and then given a cold-water bath. The final product is served at room temperature.

Once the noodles are prepared, chili paste, chili lime juice sauce, fresh mint and cilantro are added for flavor. According to House of Thai owner Kanlaya Browning, the salad is “going to taste a little bit spicy, sour and hot, which is the most common flavor in Thai food.” It is served meatless, but you can opt for chicken, pork or shrimp; Browning recommends shrimp as a tasty addition.

Fettuccine Alfredo at Shallos Antique Restaurant & Brewhaus
8811 Hardegan St., Indianapolis
(317) 882-7997,

Shallos Antique Restaurant & Brewhaus has a menu that includes burgers and steak, chicken and pork entrees. You’ll find several items that are “swamp-style,” that is, a protein of your choice piled high with bacon, sautéed mushrooms, honey mustard, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, American cheese and a homemade Caribbean marinade. Now imagine what they can do with noodles; the restaurant’s fettuccine Alfredo might exceed your wildest dreams.

The dish starts with enriched boiled fettuccine noodles, which are blanketed in a basic Alfredo sauce that’s given a special touch: garlic, a proprietary blend of seasonings and extra Parmesan. The result, according to owner Paul Zoellner, is “cheesy creaminess.” While the dish is served with chicken or shrimp, some customers opt to stir in a side of steamed vegetables (a mix of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots). If you’re a fan of fungus, ask your server for a mushroom addition. All options are served with the restaurant’s warm homemade bread topped with butter and garlic.

While the food menu is enough to make anyone pop in for a sit down and eat, Shallos is more widely known for its extensive beer menu. Boasting more than 500 distinct types, the restaurant and brew house has more than 400 bottles that are cold and ready to serve at any time along with its 48 beers on tap.

Homemade Chicken and Noodles at Gigi’s Sugar Shack Café
377 E. Jefferson St., Franklin
(317) 868-8888,

Gigi’s Sugar Shack Café is more than the sweet treats the name implies. Although the restaurant does offer a wide variety of homemade confections — including cheesecakes, doughnuts, cookies, fruit pies and cakes — you’ll also find full meals on the menu.

One of the more popular dishes is the scratch-made chicken and noodles. Starting with egg noodles prepared from flour, eggs and water, the dough then sits for a while before it’s rolled out and cut into thick noodles. The chicken is simmered for several hours in a slow cooker before it’s shredded and added, along with the noodles, to a pot with chicken stock, roux, salt, pepper and a whole stick of butter. The result is “really creamy, down-home like your mom used to make,” says Amber Schall, who co-owns the café along with her husband, Greg.

One of the first things you’ll notice upon entering Gigi’s Sugar Shack Café is the eclectic décor and dishes. Each table has a different tablecloth. The dishes are a combination of family heirlooms from Schall’s mom and her husband’s grandma (the “Gigi” of the name) and donations from customers.

Gigi’s gives back to its community through its Soup for the Soul program. It offers a free warm bowl of homemade soup to anyone who asks for it. Schall says a lot of people rely on it. “We don’t judge anybody who comes in and asks for it. It makes us feel good that they use it.”

Linguine and Clam Sauce at Vito Provolone’s Italian Restaurant
8031 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis
(317) 888-1112,

Starting its life as a Pasquale’s Pizza, Vito Provolone’s slowly evolved from a gourmet pizza shop to what it is today: a fine dining Italian restaurant complete with white tablecloths and linen napkins. While both restaurants belong to the same family, Vito’s offers “a potpourri of different Italian dishes,” according to founder and owner Jim DeCamp Jr.

Every dish is unique, and several have changed over time based on feedback from customers, but one of the classics is the linguine and clam sauce. It starts with a generous portion of linguine noodles. Next is the clam sauce, which is a combination of garlic, white wine, clam juice, clam stock, red pepper and sea clams. While the menu touts this as spicy fare, you can ask your server for less red pepper if you prefer a milder meal. With the merger of noodles, clams and sauce you’re looking at just over a pound of food to satisfy your Italian craving.

If clams aren’t your thing, then any of the pasta dishes with a red or Alfredo sauce are sure to please. The original red sauce recipe comes from DeCamp’s mom; it has an authentic American-Italian flavor. The Alfredo sauce contains triple the Parmesan cheese than what you’d typically get anywhere else.

The extensive wine menu features several options that go great with the menu, including the Riserva Ducale Chianti, DeCamp’s recommended accompaniment to the linguine and clam sauce.


By Sara McAninch // Photography by Stacy Able