Yats is one of the hottest restaurants in Broad Ripple and on Mass Ave, partially because it’s constantly packed but mostly because of its crazy cajun and creole entrees. This Indianapolis restaurant is unusual because there are no printed menus. Each day, Yats staff chalks up a new Louisiana food menu that is based on what’s fresh and in season.
If you’re not sure what “Louisiana” food is, think plates heaped with “comfort food” like fiery jumbalaya, etoufee, rice, and beans. Seafood gumbo is a crowd-pleaser, as is the traditional red beans and rice. Most of the food is unapologetically spicy, but there are some tamer options for the fainter of heart, and for those who really like it hot, there’s the option to add more Cajun, creole, or whatever sauce you like (including zesty thai chili paste) to your meal. Each plate is filled to the edges and served with two thick slices of bread layered with spiced butter, and you can order as many more slices as you like for $.50 each. The menu is different each day, offering a wide variety of specialties to mix it up and keep it interesting for the numerous return customers. And if you don’t fill up by the end of your visit, order the homemade peanut butter cream pie-every true Yats connoisseur knows your experience isn’t complete without it.
Customers place orders at the counter before finding a seat or carrying out. Speed is a top priority at Yats, which is why the staff makes the limited and ever-changing menu entrees in large quantities, Louisiana style. There are typically less than 10 entrees on the chalkboard menu, but customers seem to have no trouble finding something that suits their tastes.
Because they’re always looking out for the customer’s pocket book, everything at Yats is priced under $10. In fact, customers have only three prices to worry about, half orders are $4.50, a regular is only an buck more and a split combo of two entrees is offered for $6.50. That’s the best price in all of Indy for such a boat load of yumminess.
The mastermind behind Yats, Joe Vuskovich, hails from Louisiana, where he owned a pair of Cajun restaurants. He brought his special blend of spices and southern hospitality to Indiana in the 1990s, and has a cult following at his several Indiana locations. Yats has expanded to Fishers, Lafayette, Greenwood, downtown Indianapolis and most recently, Chicago. Joe is well loved by his customers, and he’s most known for his wild enthusiasm for Louisiana cuisine. He was born and raised in New Orleans, and he’s been in the restaurant business for most of his adult life.
The staff at Yats takes pride in their family-like business. Building relationships with customers is very important to Yats, so the staff is always super friendly. They’ve developed an especially good reputation with Indianapolis media, gaining good ratings from the Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Monthly Magazine, NUVO Magazine, Indianapolis Dine Magazine and even national publications like Northwest Airlines World Traveler Magazine and the New York Times.
Yats has a comprehensive Web site that features interesting stories about the restaurant, along with pictures from major events, like Mardi Gras. The popular menus are also posted online daily. Over the years, the restaurant has become a hallmark of Indianapolis culture. It has been rated the Best Cheap Eats, the Best Restaurant and the Best Soul Food in town. It’s a great place to take out-of-towners because it’s a unique and completely different from the average restaurant.
Yats offers a unique catering experience, with the option of hosting an event in the restaurant, or having the food delivered and served. More details about Yats catering, including prices, are listed on its Web site.
Whether it’s a for a party, a casual date night, or you simply want a cheap, out-of-the-ordinary dinner, Yats is the place to go. Next time you find yourself wandering down Mass Ave with your stomach growling, stop in and treat yourself to the ultimate New Orleans dining experience!
Yats Restaurant in Broad Ripple
5363 N College Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46220
Yats Restaurant on Mass Ave
659 Massachusetts Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Read about Indiana