Potatoes with potential

By Jenny Elig

Ah, the humble potato. He’s no oil painting, and if you wait around long enough, he can see this fact with his own eyes. And even though he’s kind of thin-skinned, he won’t take it personally. While spuds may not be the prettiest dish, he’s still got a lot to root for. And while you may associate fall with pumpkin spice, our minds head below ground to where the starch lies. Here, three southside spud spots.

McAlister’s Deli
8860 S. Emerson Ave., Indianapolis
(463) 999-0190
1011 N. State Road 135, Greenwood
(317) 300-8064
7711 Shelby St., Greenwood
(317) 889-7500

McAlister’s Deli has three southside locations (County Line, Allyne Park and Greenwood Place), with a fourth set for Franklin. Known for its sandwiches and soups, this nationwide chain is also known for its massive baked potatoes, which are loaded with toppings. Although it’s tough to choose, our hearts (and stomachs) lean toward the chipotle chicken and bacon spud, which is filled with grilled chicken, bacon, green onions, chipotle ranch and cheddar-jack.

Historic Don & Dona’s Restaurant
188 W. Jefferson St., Franklin
(317) 474-7611, dondonasfranklin.com

It’s said one should eat breakfast like a king and lunch like a queen; to add on, we’d say you should eat potatoes at both meals. Franklin’s Historic Don and Dona’s Restaurant got our message. Reopened in a new place, this storied spot is open for breakfast and lunch, with a breakfast buffet available on Saturdays and Sundays. The versatile potato makes appearances on both breakfast and lunch menus. Our choice? Fried, french, please, and laid next to one of Don and Dona’s epic sandwiches, such as the Reuben or the Philly cheesesteak.

55 W. Madison St., Franklin
(317) 733-7333

Franklin’s RFD (that stands for Real Food Fresh Dining) is in a renovated old post office. The food follows the restaurant’s simple, elegant approach: It’s fresh, not too fussy and elegantly plated. RFD is not about overkill, and perhaps that’s why the menu features four potato formats: stuffed skins, french fried, pureed or fondant, the latter of which you’ll find nestled by RFD’s pan-seared cod fillet. This light fillet is served with leeks, a side of lemon and fondant potatoes. That’s right: pan-seared potatoes to accompany your pan-seared cod. We cannot smack our lips enough.