Bernie’s Place — a fully student-run restaurant in Lawrence Township — is an excellent lunch choice for families on a budget, and probably the best-kept dining secret in Indy.
Located inside the McKenzie Center for Innovation & Technology on 75th Street near Shadeland Avenue, the restaurant is part of a program offered to students interested in the culinary arts to earn college credits. While participating in operating Bernie’s Place, students develop skills in table service, cashiering, baking, salad preparation, quantity food production, cleaning and sanitation, menu planning and more. Students gain practical experience by using commercial restaurant equipment and by interacting with the public. The program is run by Gracie Sahm. (Yes, from the Sahm’s Restaurant Group.)
When you stop by for lunch — they are open Wednesday through Friday from 11:00am to 1:00pm during the school year — you’ll find a menu that includes soup ($1.75-$2.75), several choices of salad ($3.95-$6.50) and hearty sandwiches ($3.50-$5.00). The affordable, satisfying and straightforward fare rivals many of the nearby haunts. The spinach melt is a favorite among regulars, with its melty cheddar, spinach dip, sliced bacon and tomatoes on toasted whole wheat. And for what it’s worth, you should get a side of sweet potato fries with whatever you order.
Take time for dessert and ask your server about the housemade dessert special ($2.50). The pineapple upside-down cake and sugar cream pie are favorites among the regulars. No tipping is allowed, but cash contributions are welcome, as they help fund student scholarships and programs.
Find Bernie’s Place inside the westside double-doors at the McKenzie Center for Innovation & Technology. Call ahead to confirm hours at 317-964-8000.
7250 E. 75th St., Indianapolis | mckenzie.ltschools.org