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Shapiro's Delicatessen 808 S. Meridian St.

Shapiro is one of my favorite joints. It is always a sure thing for a great sandwich or a hot dinner. This is my first time for breakfast. Pat and I did not meet last week; we both had too many other things going on. We decided on breakfast and I suggested on Shapiro’s. I had a desire for some great corned beef hash and they have the best. You can get it as a side for $3.95 or as an entree with 2 eggs and toast for $5.25. I opted for it with eggs.

My portion was huge and my eggs were poached. The hash was excellent. Big hunks of potato and a bunch of their in house made corned beef. If you like corned beef hash I don’t think you can get any better than this. As for toast when you order breakfast at Shapiros you just have to order rye bread toast.

I don’t usually drink sode in the AM but I can’t resist Dr, Brown’s Cream Soda

Pat ordered scrambled eggs on the side and naturally rye toast. His eggs were wonderfully mixed and appered to be more than 2.

I am sure most of you are familiar with Shapiro’s sandwiches and plate meals but in case you did not know you can get the same quality of food for breakfast. They offer biscuits and gravy I just don’t know what kind of gravy, also they are now serving pancakes. If anyone has had the biscuits and gravy let me know how it is.

Peppy Grill 1004 Virginia Avenue.

Peppy Grill has been around this town since right after World War two. By 1960 there were 10 locations around town. Now the one in Fountain Square is the only one left. When it closed in November 2018 a lot of people doubted that it would ever reopen. Well it did reopen with a new interior and kitchen and fancy red rolled and tucked booths as well.

We started the meal off with some breaded mushrooms for about 4 bucks. They were the standard pre breaded shrums you will find at most bars or diners. Good but not great.

Pat was so intent on reminiscing about times gone by he didn’t even talk about his food. Well as you can see it was a cheese burger. A single one served with chips. He seemed to enjoy it. It appears it was started on a flat top and then transfer to a grill for some marks. It was cheap. Less than 5 bucks.

For some reason I ordered a Pollock sandwich for $7.25. Pollock is an “okay” fish it just doesn’t captured my imagination. But fried fish on a rainy day seemed like a good idea.

You could tell right off that it wasn’t breaded in house. It came in breaded and frozen so all you had to do is drop it in a fryer. Their tenderloin is the same way. Pre breaded cooked right from the freezer.Good but not great.

Maybe this hew Peppy will grow into something close to the old one. In house soups and stews and pies but until that time there is always breakfast foods.

Offshore at Sun King 1021 Broad Ripple Ave.

Sun King is the largest Brewery in Indianapolis and has been around since 2009. It has expanded quite a bit in that time. Their main brewery downtown has grown from half a ware house to 3 large buildings and they have smaller locations in Carmel and Fishers. I don’t believe they would have a presence in Broad Ripple were it not for the closing of Three Wise Men. They bought all of their equipment at action which included a full kitchen. Sun King does beer but it doesn’t do food. That is where Offshore comes in to play. Offshore is the small sibling of Pier 48 Fish House & Oyster Bar which is new to Indy. It currently is a lunch and dinner house in the new Hyatt hotel downtown. The owner, Fred Knipscheer is a former Boston Bruin hockey player whose family has fished the Atlantic for generations. That is his hook, serving fresh fish caught by his family and flown in from Maine. As a “foodie” that was the most exciting news I have heard all year. After a shopping trip I stopped for a wheat beer and a bowl of clam chowder.

The picture was rotten but the chowder was excellent. Hot bowl of clams, cream and potatoes. A cold Hefeweizen was a perfect match. A bowl was a reasonable $8.

Patrick’s coleslaw without onion.

Lobster Roll- $15.50, Wee Mac beer- $6. Rendering Pat speechless- Priceless.

They offer sliders at various price points. Since fried oysters is one of my favorite sandwich fillings I opted for 2 Oyster BLTs for $11.50. The sliders are served with a bag of their house made chips.

The little Oyster sliders were delicious. A bright combination of briny sweet oyster and a salty smoke of the bacon all topped off with a cold set and a spicy mayo. The roll they use appears to be a lobster roll bun cut in half. Excellent bread and the chips were possibly the best I have had in this city. A slight BBQ flavor that would go well with any beer.

I think this is easily the best addition to the Ripple that I have seen. At least since Three Wise Men came in because it was only the second brewery in the village. Well Sun King has better beer and seafood beats out pizza and calzone any day in my book. I am sure some folks will be put off by the price of some of their items but what you must keep in mind is the fish has never been frozen. And in Indiana in the winter time that is indeed something.

Joe’s Shelby Street Diner 3623 Shelby Street

Once again a joint that won’t wow you or astound you with their clever or avant garde menu but a joint that will feed you and not hurt your wallet. They rely on several IQF items but the breakfast and burgers are made to order. They offer tenderloins two ways. The Hubcap and the Baby Moon. Both are pre-made and frozen. Pat ordered a Baby Moon.

I decided that I needed a burger, a patty melt to be exact. What I got was a nicely prepared sandwich with actual carmelized onion. Properly cooked onion brings so much to food it is a shame when not done well.

All of their sandwiches come with chips but of course you can sub fries or rings for an up charge. I opted for some onion rings for $2.75 additional. They were ordinary IQF rings but were still a pretty good companion to my Patty melt.

Well as I said earlier if you are looking for a joint that puches the envelop of culinary achievement this ain’t it. However if you want a breakfast at anytime or a good inexpensive lunch this is it. Both of our sandwiches were under 8 bucks. Now that is diner pricing.

Sero’s Family Restaurant 11720 E. Washington Street

This place is like several around town. Family owned and operated with huge menus offering large portions and breakfast served all day. It may be tempting to slip in a phrase like “cookie cutter” but that would hardly be accurate. You may find an identical menu at some other joint but the preparation is far from identical. That is probably why I order liver and onions so often. I always expect that I will be pleasantly surprised.

Yep I did it again. Liver and onions with potato choice and one other side for $9.99. I like my onions well carmelized and the meat medium rare. I understand that a thin slice of liver is hard to get medium rare but it can be cooked to medium rather easily. Well obviously the onions missed the mark and the liver was over cooked. It was also over breaded. I contend a light coating of flour is sufficient but here they seem to have used an actual breading. So the result was that you mainly tasted the coating, with a slight flavor of liver. I would make it at home but the store where I used to buy my liver does not handle it anymore. They used to sell fresh slices that were one half inch thick and cooked up a delightful mid-rare.

For my second side I opted for green beans. They were really pretty good. They were canned but had bits of onion and tomato in them. Pretty tasty.

Pat’s diet plate was $10.99, so we actually got quite a bit of food for our money. Don’t let my liver experience dissuade you from trying this place out. I am reasonably certain you will find something you will enjoy. I just don’t recommend the liver and onions.

Beach Bum BBQ Washington Square Mall

Beach Bum is a well know food truck in Indy. For a while they had a home in Irvington. I believe their idea is to have a brick and mortar presence to make the food for the truck and to sell to the sit down crowd. Currently they are only open Thursday through Sunday. This may change as the weather changes.

The dismal surroundings Pat was referring to is the deteriorated and broken Mall. Washington Square opened in 1974 and it was a quite a place at one time. It had all of the requisite anchor stores and dozens of hip and trendy “boutiques”. Now it can barely keep up with its own maintenance. Of course I am sure the rent is cheap.

Since Pat went with pork I opted for brisket. Actually I probably should have gotten a plain brisket sandwich in order to get the full effect of the meat. However I ordered a Pecos Bill for $12. That is brisket with pico de gallo and jalapenos. Pat’s pork was $8

The portion was very generous so I was able to taste the beef all by itself and it was excellent. It wasn’t pulverized like some joints do when they chop the brisket. It was cut into nice size pieces. Also Pat’s pork appeared to be cut the same way not pulled as you might expect. They offer 3 sauces. A honey mustard, a Sirachi and the Beach Bum which I assume to be a more traditional mild sauce. I tried a bit of the hot Kracken sauce and enjoyed it, and it wasn’t overly hot. I also got a side of slaw and agree with Pat it was spot on and it was only 2 bucks.

So now I know Beach Bum is a truck to be on the look out for. It is also nice to know that if you need a BBQ fix you can get it met on the far east side. If you are old enough to remember the Mall from the 70’s and 80’s try not to be too sad. Remember you have some tasty Q waiting for you.

Pizza King 12110 E, Washington Street Cumberland Indiana

Pizza King originated in Lafayette Indiana in 1954. They have expanded over the years with several “company stores” and some franchise holders. As far as I know they are only in Indiana. They were known for a thin crust, edge to edge toppings and a fine ground sausage. I have always been fond of a fine grind for pizza. This particular outlet is a company store on the far east side of Indy. Actually east of the little town of Cumberland. It is a very large place with an old school pizzeria decor.

They offer the usual fare you would find at a Pizza joint but today we were after pizza. They have an 8 inch 1 topping pie for $6.79 and charge 90 cents for additional toppings. That is what we ordered. Pat got a mushroom and sausage because that is his go to combo. I ordered the same because I could not decide, and sausage and mushroom is as good a combination as any.

Another thing I like about this place is they cut their pies in a “party style”. Instead of all triangle slices you get squares and triangles

that is why i like “party style”. You get center slices like this.

I enjoyed my pie quite a bit. The crust isn’t as thin as I would like but it was nicely done and the price is very good. It is quite a drive but I can see myself going back. I would like to get an 8 inch Meat Feast pie. The Meat Feast – A delicious blend of sausage, pepperoni, ground beef, baked ham and bacon. That is $7.99

The Pizza Inn that Pat referenced is the Pizza Parlor that was in Southport when we were in High School. That is another old chain that started in Texas in 1960. They no longer operate in Indiana. I don’t remember much about their food though. Pizza King does operate in Indy and they put out a pretty good pie.

Barringer’s Tavern 2535 S. Meridian Street

Yep this joint has been around for a long time. We were here some years back, before we started the blog. I remember it well because our bartender was telling us about the pink 38 that her father bought her for her 21st Birthday. Don’t remember what I ate but I remember her.

They offered a second special that day for $6.95. A bowl of chili and a grilled cheese sandwich. I was tempted but opted for fish and chips for $8,25

Actually I was impressed with both the quality of the product and the execution of the dish. I was also impressed with their portion control. Some joints think tossing more fries on a plate increases the value of the dish when all it does is increase costs. Barringer’s served about 6 ounces of cod loin that was perfectly battered and fried along with a reasonable amount of waffle fries. The fries were excellent as well. I don’t think I have had waffle fries as good as these, They were thick and meaty hunks of potato that I would love to eat again.

I was fed well for 8 bucks. My only criticism is the tarter sauce was so so and there was a disconnect between the ordering and the kitchen. Pat’s special was an immediate so it took minimal time to put out. My lunch required some time to prepare and Pat’s food came out first by several minutes. I think the newness of the POS system was the problem. Still doesn’t detract from the good food and the good value of my lunch, They offer craft beer on draft as well as the more pedestrian domestics. Their special was Busch Light drafts for $1.50. That may not be a really good brew but it was cold and it was beer. So they may no longer offer turtle soup or pigs feet but Barringer’s is back in business.

Chicago Beef and Dog Company 5402 E. Washington Street

This place opened a few months back but I pretty much disregarded it because I thought it was a corporate type place; from the name. Like those fish and chicken fry joints that are everywhere. I discovered it is an independent joint; so much for my assumptions. Pat was hesitant at first but agreed when he thought there was a possibility that their beef may be a better value than some other joint he likes.

I am not the freak for Italian Beef that Pat is but I thought the $8.50 price was a touch high. Eating out is not always about bargains though. It is about the adventure. Value is important but you just can’t judge value until you try it. For me I wanted a jumbo Vienna Beef hot dog. They offer different topped versions with names of different Chicago celebrities but I wanted a create your own for $6.75. For value that is probably the best. All of their dogs are available classic or charred. I ordered mine charred with spicy mustard and jalapenos.

Vienna Beef dogs are possibly the best hot dog around. This joint did it justice. A nice char on a poppy seed bun and they ceratainly didn’t skimp on the toppings. I feel that I got my money’s worth.

However as good as our sandwiches were and as much as we enjoyed them the best thing was the small fries I got for 3 bucks.

Not only was it enough for two they were excellent. They cut their own each day and they really know how to do them right. They were crisp and hot and all joints should have fries this good. They also do onion rings in house and I saw a couple of orders go out. It definitely looks as though a return trip is in order. An Italian beef combo with rings. A combo with drink and fries is $4 more. Adding rings is an extra 75 cents. If the rings are done as well as the fries I’ll be content. https://chicagobeefanddog.com/

Baby’s Diner 2147 N. Talbot Street.

In 2016 after a 15 year run the Talbot Street Night Club closed. Well now the site is home to Baby’s. A colorful little joint that is a lot of fun. Since the old Talbot had regular drag shows the owners of Baby’s wanted to celebrate its past by using color and sparkle. When I first read that in a local column I did not know what to expect. It could have easily come across as more parody than homage. But they did it right.

They also have a very nice outdoor seating area with infra heaters in the ceiling. A reminder that Summer may be over but we will still have several days left before sub zero temps.

That rustic brick building is Shoo Fly Public House.

One thing I don’t understand is why they call themselves a Diner. They have a small menu featuring smashed burgers and broasted chicken with a few side dishes. They also have a selection of Milk Shakes, some spiked with alcohol. I would like to show the menu but I seem to have mislaid the link. It is out there somewhere because I saw it. I found it. http://babysindy.com/

Pretty straight forward presentation. Chicken in a basket.

They offer their chicken as a whole bird for $24, half chicken for $12 and 2 piece white or dark for $7. I was more in a beef mood so I ordered their House Strut burger. That would be a double smashed burger with bacon, gouda and mango chutney as well as a special sauce priced at $12.

I enjoyed my burger very much, it had a lot going on. The creamy cheese and smoky bacon brought one taste to the party the spicy sweetness of the chutney another and the whole thing was unified by the hamburger lace of the smash burger. Very good burger. But it may have gone one sauce too far. The special sauce got kind of lost in all the tastes.

It is really good to see the Old North Side being rejuvenated. It is pretty close to me so I will be coming back. I want to try some chicken and a spiked milk shake.

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