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Dukes Honky Tonk 2352 S. West Street

This building has been around for a while as the Ice House, a legendary tavern on the near South side. The owners decided to retire and an old customer decided that he wanted to realize his dream. Owning a Honky Tonk. To him that meant live music and fried chicken dinners at night. During the day the menu is like most taverns or bars, with a few exceptions. They feature a rotating BBQ special from Black Metal BBQ which is a mobile catering truck that has its base at Dukes. They also feature Hatch Chiles on their menu in the form of a green chile cheeseburger and as a pick me up in their mac and cheese. They import them; I assume from New Mexico. I asked but our server wasn’t sure. No matter where they came from that was what I had to order. I also went for a side of mac and cheese, for a slight up charge.

The sandwich was excellent. A moist patty smashed on a flat top served on a bun wonderfully toasted with just a hint of hamburger grease. The only thing I would do different would be to 86 the lettuce and tomato. They just interfere with the chiles. As for the mac and cheese it was Ok, the chiles carried it for me. To me mac and cheese has a roux made cheese sauce mixed with macaroni. Then the dish is put into an oven with buttered bread crumbs. I can appreciate and enjoy other versions but they are not my preference. The noodle in this dish was nicely done and the cheese sauce was smooth and creamy. It just wasn’t what I expect in a mac and cheese around here.

So if you are a freak for Hatch chiles or if you need a pressure fried chicken dinner then now you have a place to go.

https://www.dukesindy.com/

https://www.blackmetalbbqindy.com/

 

BBQ Heaven 2515 Martin Luther King Blvd.

This place has been around since 1952 and yet I believe this is only the second time I have been here. I have gone to their store on 30th street several times and they only offer carry out. I honestly don’t recall an out-door deck on this joint before. Well it is there now. When I eat here I usually get the BBQ on a bun or the rib tips. When I was younger it would be a big slab of BBQ’d beef Bologna on bread. Well today it was a small tip. No sides just meat. As much as I enjoy side dishes I just felt like meat.

What I enjoy about tips is they are for the relaxed eater. No gnawing on a bone ; you just pop a piece in your mouth and start chewing. Stopping long enough to remove any bone or otherwise inedible part. That is why I get them already sauced. One box of tips and 2 pieces of bread was enough to sate my appetite.

I didn’t get a taste of Pat’s ribs but I can say that they were some of the best looking bones I have seen.

Big and meaty just ready to be dipped into some hot BBQ sauce. I have always liked BBQ Heaven. Growing up there was only 2 joints for BBQ in the city Zeb’s and BBQ Heaven. I have no idea what happened to Zeb’s; it just disappeared. I am glad BBQ Heaven is still around.

http://www.barbqheaven1952.com

I hope this link helps plan your next BBQ trip

Burgerhaus 335 West 9th Street (revisit)

This place has the coolest patio in Indianapolis. It is located right on the canal, which is pretty sweet. However when it is July and the humidity and temperature are in a race to hit 90 sitting inside with AC is always the better option. We first reviewed this joint more than 3 years ago. This was their only location at the time and their basic burger; the Haus ; was $9.50. Now they run 4 locations and the basic burger is $11. Progress. Of course choice of cheese and side come with your burger.

https://visitburgerhaus.com/

I had the basic burger as well with cheddar and for an extra $1.50 I added bacon. I opted for fries since it has been months since I have eaten a french fry. The burger was as great as I remember and the fries were especially delicious. Probably because it had been such a long time since I have had any. What I especially appreciated about this joint is they cook the burgers the way you order them. Medium is medium and mid rare is just that. Quite a few places miss it for what ever reason.

All I can add is I agree with Pat. This is the best burger in Indy. Well at least of all the burgers I have tried. On the down side they no longer have Bitburger beer. They had several Indiana Craft beers and they even offer cocktails. Just not Bitburger. Hopefully we will have some decent weather so that sitting outside will be an option before winter. I would love to sit on that patio with a great burger and a beer.
Burgerhaus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Happy Brewing 3902 N. Illinois Street

I am sure some people will ask the same question that is always asked when a new brewery opens. “Do we really need any more breweries?” Well I don’t see how that is possible. Can you have too much happiness or too many smiles? I don’t think so.

Happy Brewing opened in one of the defunct Double 8 grocery stores. It opened about 2-3 months ago with typical brewery hours. No lunch just evenings and noon opening on weekends. My first trip there was on a Sunday to sample some beer. I really enjoyed the beers I tried. They have a nice ale and a great cream ale but the show stopper was their Happy Hopper. Be advised though it has a ABV approaching 11 so it is best consumed in small quantities. Their cream ale is less than 5 ABV so it is more like a session beer. A brew you can drink while mowing your lawn. I think the owner Gabe has plans on canning it in the future. As of the past week they took the bold step to open for lunch.

Their menu is small and concise and it is all done in a kitchen without an exhaust hood. For those who don’t know all commercial kitchens require an exhaust hood when the cooking process produces fumes or smoke. Further more you will also need a fire suppression system. All of this runs into a bunch of dollars. Dollars they did not want to spend at this time. So now they have an impinger conveyer belt oven, a Panini press and a soup warmer. I think they pulled it off well.

On my first trip there I had their Italian sausage. It was a solid sandwich. The sausage had a slight spiciness to it but what carried the dish was the red sauce. It was very good. I ordered it with chips and pickle but in the future I will probably just opt for the sandwich alone. Beer carbs are superior to chip carbs.

On my return trip I ordered a pizza. They buy all the pizza product from Delco a Hoosier firm founded in 1957 that sells all things Italian related. That includes the raw dough they use for the pizza and the Calzone.

I thought it was a nice pie. The crust had a slight chew and again that marinara sauce has great flavor and richness.

I have only tried 2 items on their menu but I plan on trying more. This joint is very close to home so I can see myself there weekly. I had a very good conversation with Gabe on my first lunch trip. He has some great plans for his place. Patio seating and even a rooftop beer garden and in time he would like to have a “proper” kitchen. I am always excited for new places to eat. Especially one so close.

shalom

Why do we  have this blog? I am sure some folks ask that. It is really simple. We are two old friends that enjoy having lunch together, and an occasional Adult beverage. When I retired from the Restaurant Biz my old friend Pat and I decided to have lunch every week and BS about the past. After a few weeks we decided that we needed to share our experiences with people. Actually we bring some unique experiences to the table. I spent several years “touring” the south-west and old Mexico. I also spent a tour in Las Vegas. That is where I went to Culinary School; UNLV. After Vegas I opened a few joints in New Mexico, so I think I have an understanding of what it takes to be an owner/ operator. As for Pat he is very analytical and has pretty good food instincts. So we hope you enjoy our posts. More importantly we hope you find a place you want to go to and break that chain habit of eating

Christina’s Pancake House ( formerly Sister’s Place ) 215 Terrace Ave.

I am starting off my lunch review with a picture of the best part of my lunch. Pie

A delicious slice of Lemon Meringue pie for $3.50. They buy the pies from Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago. The same outfit that the previous owner use. It was an excellent piece of pie. I can’t say the same for the rest of my lunch. My meat loaf dinner was $9.45 and came with soup or salad, roll and VOD as well as a plate of meat loaf and “lumpy mashed potatoes” all smother with gravy. One of the soup options was Chicken Gumbo. Well it was not what I expected.

I think you could call this many things but Gumbo isn’t one of them. I have never seen a Gumbo that didn’t have the Trinity in it. Nor have I ever had a Gumbo with macaroni added to it. Overall it had the flavor of a Campbell’s Soup. Would not do it again.

The roll was interesting. It had a slight Ciabatta chew to it which I thought was nice and they use real butter which is always good. As for the veggie. Why bother. It was straight from a bag of frozen vegetables and no attempt was made to even make them even interesting.

Now we come to the center of the plate. The meat loaf. It wasn’t bad just not really good. I would guess that it wasn’t made in-house. I based that on the compaction and the fine grind of the meat. If I am wrong then they can redeem it by using seasoning in a more bold fashion. Since they refer to their potatoes as lumpy I would guess they are made here from real potatoes. They are pretty lumpy and pretty good. The gravy was more than likely from a mix but had a decent flavor to it. I think if you want a more “scratch made ” experience you should try breakfast, which they sell all day. It is a really large menu so you could probably find something you like.

Tavern at the Point 401 Mass. Ave.

As you can see the building seems to come to a point. Hence the name.

It is hard to see in this pic but that’s Pat pointing at the sign over the door. It’s a Tavern at the Point sign. Yeah that’s funny.

The place has been gentrified since it was the Old Point. They added a second bar. This one seats 5 bodies and, like a sushi bar, gives a nice view of the kitchen operation, and it was a pretty busy kitchen that day. I had a great time watching.

I decided on a Smoked brisket melt. Horseradish Havarti cheese, candied onion, horseradish sauce and of course brisket. All on Sourdough bread. It was a very formidable sandwich. I always like to order any meal the way the chef or cook has planned it. Most times it is done a certain way for a reason. I was a bit wary of the candied onion but I thought the boldness of the horseradish and the fat from the brisket would keep the sweetness in check. Not quite. I first encountered an “onion marmalade” at a joint I worked in California about 30 years ago and have seen it a few times since then. It is still a practical and popular element to a sandwich but it can overwhelm the other ingredients. This was a very good sandwich that wasn’t bullied too much by the candied onion. I personally would have enjoyed it more with a more pungent horseradish.

Pat and I both had the slaw. It was a slightly sweet vinegar affair that had a big old Southwest spin to it. It was garnish with a bit of cilantro. That was a big old kick in the taste buds. I enjoyed it tremendously and I am going to rip the idea off the next time I make slaw. The sandwiches are in the $12 – $ 13 range and beers are $7. It is Downtown after all. The only negative I have is about the bar stools they are bolted to and floor and do not swivel so they are hard to get it. Other than that this joint is a hit and I will be back.

https://www.tavernatthepoint.com/

Here is our post for the The Old Point Tavern; FIVE years ago. That is a long time.

https://kosherhamandcheese.com/2013/04/24/the-old-point-tavern/

Gallery Pastry Shop 1101 E. 54th Street G

This shop is a little tricky to find. The address is on 54th. but you can’t see it from the street. It is behind a building. You turn into an entryway and drive to the back of a small business area. Turn right and at the end is the neatest little joint you can imagine.

At the far end you can see what appears to be a Chess set on the ground. That is exactly what it is.

A little whimsy is always appreciated.

Each piece is about 2 feet high and seem to be a lightweight plastic. I say light weight because as we were leaving I saw two little kids moving them off the “board”.

I met my friend Joey, 2 of her teen daughters and her husband Jason today for brunch. The seating is nicely spaced but the acoustics and the loud music made it difficult to talk.

They offer a week day menu and a Brunch menu for Saturday and Sunday.

https://www.gallerypastryshop.com/

Once you are seated you receive small printed sheets with all the menu items listed. You check what you want, add you name and pass it to the server. It sounds pretty efficient but the service was rather choppy. Not bad just not smooth. I ordered 2 crepes, one sweet and one savory. My sweet crepe came out first. Lemon curd folded in and topped with whipped cream.

This was delicious. A tender crepe and a light curd with the proper amount of tartness. Possibly the best I have had.

My savory crepe was chorizo sausage from Smoking Goose, a “mushroom mix” and mozzarella cheese. It was a big hit as well. It held a good amount of meat and the chorizo wasn’t spicy at all. It balance well with the sweet tartness of the lemon curd.

 

I know this is an atrocious picture. I felt hurried for some reason. Each diner in our party had 4 plates and servers were in and out bringing the plates out at different times. I am glad we had a big round table.

This shot is only marginally better, which is a shame. As good as the crepes were this plate was the show stopper. It consisted of a split croissant with a piece of bruleed Trillium Cheese nestled in it. It was placed on a smear of honey with a fresh berry compote next to it.

Trillium cheese is a triple cream cheese similar to Brie and Camembert. This particular cheese comes from a local creamery. Tulip Tree in Zionsville. If you enjoy a warm and gooey cheese you would love this dish. The rind is sugared then torched making a sweet crust. Slice the crust off and put on a piece of the buttery croissant and enjoy the first bite. As you continue eating you get tastes of the cheese, the sweet honey and the slight tartness of the berries. Our table had 4 of them so it wasn’t just me that enjoyed it.

https://www.tuliptreecreamery.com/about-us/

I will be back. Joey and her girls got a dozen Macarons to go, but I was too full. Also on Wednesday they sell them for a buck. Normally they are $2.50. So I will be there at 10 AM this Wednesday.

Greens & Things Eatery 4709 Shadeland Ave.

This place used to be called Bookers BBQ. We reviewed it in January 2017 and then they were out of BBQ so there won’t be any comparisons.

Pat order the pulled pork meal which comes with 2 sides for $12. I think he was bummed that it came in the form of 2 sandwiches. He is still avoiding non beer carbs and was expecting a pile of pork on a plate with a side of green beans and greens. He had the meat scraped of the buns before I had a chance to even think of taking a picture.

Pulled pork pulled from the buns.

I decided on a half slab rib dinner with collard and coleslaw also $12. I also ordered a small side of hush puppies.

My greens

Hush puppies!

I ordered my food with sauce on the side (SOS). I got it hot which had an interesting flavor. It was simply a sweet sauce with hot sauce added. I have had it at other joints but this one had a more vinegar kick, which I enjoyed. The ribs could have spent more time on the fire. They had a bit of fat and were a bit chewy. They weren’t the best I have had nor were they the worse. There was no noticeable smoke ring so I figured they were cooked in an oven. More time in the oven would have made then more tender and rendered more of the fat. Since this joint is new I have faith that they will get it together. The coleslaw was nice and sweet which I like with BBQ. The greens did have a nice flavor but they could have used a touch of crushed red pepper and a shot of vinegar. The pups had a great corn flavor and would have been great dipped into the collard pot liquor but I didn’t get much liquid in my greens.

Their menu is pretty basic and seems to cover most of the country food groups.

Overall I enjoyed my lunch. I was full and I had some food to take home. I will enjoy a return trip. They have a bunch of sides and they also have meatloaf on Sundays. It isn’t close but it is an easy drive.

 

 

 

Jamaican Jerk Chicken 7023 Michigan Road

I don’t know how long this place has been on Michigan Road but at one time it was over on Keystone Ave. and 34th Street. It was inside a gas station and had carry out only. Their menu is small featuring only the essentials.

As soon as you walk in the first thing that hits you is the wonderful aroma. The scent of all the spices and herbs mixed with a bit of smoke makes you want to eat. All of the menu is cooked in advance and stored on a steam table; so service is quick.

I decided on a quarter chicken white meal.

The breast was very good. Often breast meat has a tendency to be dry if not cooked properly. Which is why I usually go for the dark meat. The thigh is my favorite. This breast was properly done so it was both moist and tender. Under the meat is the red beans and rice. The rice was a bit dry. That is the danger of steam tables. Over time they dry the food out. The flavor was there I just would have enjoyed more red bean “juice”. The meat was rubbed with a subtle and savory blend of herbs and spices prior to cooking. Then a jerk sauce is served on the side. He makes 3 of varying degrees of heat. I opted for the “hot”. It wasn’t very hot at all but complemented the dry rub very well. I think a return trip is in my future.

Mr. Natural ordered the quarter white as well, but he opted for just the meat so he could have a side of cabbage.

Pat’s “steamed” cabbage

So if you need a jerk fix now you know where to go. While you are there may I suggest trying some of this.

Good stuff; and it is hot.

 

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