Illinois Street Food Emporium


Illinois Street Food Emporium has been a staple in the Butler Tarkington area for over 35 years, serving the neighborhood with an assortment of delicious homemade sandwiches, salads, pastas, sweets, baked goods and more. Owner Vivian Farris took over in 2014 and has only improved what loyal customers love about ISFE.

Here at ZESCO, we can’t say enough great things about ISFE! We even put together a list of our top five reasons we love this neighborhood café, although it was hard to narrow it down to only five. Those include:

  • Vivian Farris! If you go in, chances are you’ll find her there. Stop and say hi!
  • Winter Wonderland Tart. This Emporium creation has an almond crust that is filled with creamy white chocolate and raspberries. Are you drooling yet?
  • Double Dutch Chocolate Cake. Rich and moist, you can’t go wrong with this old fashioned chocolate cake.
  • ISFE can cater any event for any meal and it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. They even deliver!
  • Italian Cream Torte. This dense, moist cake is made with pecans and coconut, frosted with cream cheese icing and garnished with more coconut.

ISFE1As a valued ZESCO client, we sat down with Vivian to pick her brain and find out what makes ISFE such a successful operation.

Illinois Street Food Emporium is famous for its delicious baked goods! What are a few popular items that Indianapolis can’t seem to get enough of?

A couple popular items that Indianapolis can’t seem to get enough of include apple fritters, decorated iced cookies, croissants (both plain and filled), Double Dutch Chocolate Cake, peanut butter brownie ganache bars, house-made chicken salad and our specialty grilled sandwiches…only to name a few.

What key elements can be accredited to the success of maintaining your loyal clientele? What has helped IFSE attract new customers?

We strive to be consistent in our service, food preparation and cleanliness. We, as a staff, are constantly looking for ways to improve in the various aspects of the restaurant from the production of our food to the successful delivery of our product to the guest. We are committed to continued improvement and continually building our brand image.

One of the highest accolades attributed to IFSE under your ownership is superb hospitality. What does hospitality mean to you?

To me, hospitality means friendliness, warmth, kindness, a welcoming attitude and always smiling.

Name one piece of equipment that is vital to your operation and why.

The Hobart Planetary Mixer is vital for the baking aspect of our operation to make cookie dough, bread dough, cake icing and scones. Also, our Baxter Oven allows us to bake in massive amounts.

What do you celebrate and value the most about the IFSE and ZESCO relationship?

ZESCO’s customer service and their “can-do” attitude are two of the best things. If there is ever a problem or concern, I can easily discuss it and get it resolved with customer service.

What exciting things are on the horizon for Illinois Street Food Emporium?

We are working on our new website and updating the brand logo as well as updating our deli and catering menu/presentation. We’re working on improving our social responsibility and fundraising by getting involved in our community. We’ll be building upon our brand image by introducing new menu products soon and you can look forward to patio dining in the near future!

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