Dave’s View: It wasn’t until two weeks ago when one of our readers told us that 3 in 1 restaurant was back open on West 56th Street in Indianapolis. Why did they close? I really don’t know. I’ve heard many rumors to which none of them had anything to do with the restaurant. I was deeply saddened to hear they were closed and I was hoping one day they would make a come back. That day has come.
Andrea and I have seen them at many farmers markets and festivals struggling to sell Pupusas underneath a makeshift tent with a two burner grill. We always ordered food from them and watched people walking by not knowing what a Pupusa was. It’s a shame because people are missing out of one of the greatest foods there is, the Pupusa. Not only that, the family that runs this place is incredibly nice. So when we heard that 3 in 1 had a restaurant on the West side, we were thrilled.
The line up I had was the Cheese Pupusa, Chicken Tacos, followed by a Rigua. The Pupusa was nice and firm and when you put some 3 in 1 hot sauce on it, it just makes it all the better. The taco, again, the chicken was tender and they have a cart with all the topping to customize your taco. Extreme value for your dollar. Don’t believe me, here’s their menu:
The Rigua, which I’ve never had, is a corn pancake. It is incredibly sweet and I suggest you eat it last, like a dessert. It was so sweet, it caught me off guard. Going from a Pupusa to a Rigua will definitely confuse your taste buds momentarily. The cheesiness of the Pupusa to the sweetness of the Rigua is an adventure I wouldn’t take again.
Now the restaurant, for those who are familiar with the area, is in the same strip mall as Jiallo’s. The inside of the place is simple. Four walls painted yellow with a El Salvador blanket map hanging off the wall. Up in one corner is the El Salvador flag. Not much else in this place and my thoughts were going back to their old place.
“Where is Jesus?” Their old place was like walking into your dad’s basement church. It had paneling from the 1970’s, a bar, and a picture of Jesus on every wall. Jesus on the south wall, Jesus above the gumball machine, Jesus on the mantel. He was everywhere! He was even on the front cover of the menu! You would be eating your Pupusa with Jesus watching over you on every bite, but sadly He wasn’t here. There were no pictures, the paneling was replaced with fake brick paneling and the bar was gone. By then I’m thinking to myself, is Jesus really gone?
You see, the owners remind me of the spirit of Jesus. Distraught and beaten down, they worked hard to be where they are at now. Earning a dollar at a time at festivals and markets, having people walk on by without notice, having to scrape up enough money to open their restaurant again. It’s truly a resurrection of the restaurant kind and I think someone might have had His Hand in it. There are only three words to describe 3 in 1 Restaurant: Spirit, determination, empathy. You’ll feel it when you eat here.
Food: 9.5 Ambiance: 7 Service: 9 Total: 25.5 out of 30
$15-$20 without adult beverages. They do not serve adult beverages.
Note: Really inexpensive and extremely family oriented. A great place to take your family on very little money.
Andrea’s View: About two years ago, Dave and I visited a restaurant at 34th and Moller called 3 in 1. We raved about it. We told everyone we knew about it. And then it closed. And we were heartbroken. 3 in 1 had the BEST pupusas and tacos in town. I have written about my taco obsession many times, these are the tacos that started it all, and the restaurant literally went up in smoke.
Flash forward to 2014. After making appearances at farmers markets and festivals for the past two summers, 3 in 1 finally found a permanent home on 56th Street just east of Guion Road. Dave and I decided to check out the new digs.
The new place is much fancier, and by fancy, I mean matching furniture. None of the Jesus paraphernalia adorns the new place, the only leftover decoration is a wall tapestry of a map of El Salvador. But décor doesn’t really matter, it’s all about the food and the service.
The service is excellent, even better than I remember, even if you do order and pay at the counter. But the food…the food is exactly how I remembered it. My cheese and loroco (spicy pepper) pupusa was fabulous, my pork tamale was ok (I remembered too late that I didn’t care for my tamale last time), but the chicken taco, OMG, what do they put in these tacos?! Whatever it is , this is still the best taco ever, hands down, that I have ever eaten. And I don’t even know why. They are just fantastic. So please run, run, run to 3 in 1 and welcome them to their new home. And please, order a taco. You’ll be an instant addict.