eating indie in indy

The Willard Restaurant – 99 N. Main St. Franklin Indiana


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Thursday was the first day of spring. Of course the silly Indiana weather wasn’t co-operating, there was still a little arctic in the wind. However the sun was out and the sky was blue so we decided on a road trip. Franklin is a small town south of Indianapolis. I have been through there a few times but never really looked around too much. So I was in for surprise. It is really a lovely town, full of old houses and friendly people. A down right charming place of Victorian architecture and mom & pop businesses. It’s also home to Franklin College. Maybe I’ve seen too many Andy Griffin episodes,but I think I could really enjoy living here.

Well back to Willard’s. This joint has quite the history. It was a hotel at one time. I am including a link to their website so you can peruse the history as well as the menu. Pat and Fran went there a few weeks ago and Pat was impressed with their fish sandwich. He was also seduced by the pizza that he observed going by his table. That’s why we went. Pat for the pizza and me for the fish.

As an appetizer we ordered a basket of breaded and fried pepper jack cheese cubes with Ranch dressing. They were really pretty tasty. Melted spicy cheese with a light breaded coating. What’s not to like. Of course we ate about 2/3 of the basket before we remembered to take a picture. It was indeed a healthy portion for $3.95.

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Like a lot of taverns they offer quite a bit of fried food. I had my mouth set on an oyster platter. But our server told me they didn’t bread the oysters in house . So I opted for the fish and fries. Two 4 oz. cod loins, fries and hush puppies for $6.95. The fish was very good. Since they used cod loin, by nature a dense and rather thick hunk of flesh the batter was necessarily thicker than that which you would find on a fillet. So the result was a tasty and tender fish and a coating that stayed crunchy, even though my fish cooled because we were busy conversing with a local couple next to us.  She used to work in Indy and he is a Franklin Firefighter. Small town friendly. Back to the food. The hush puppies were great. Standard IQF fare but it has been a while for me. They served 2 (two) pups. Why not three (3)? I’ve only found 2 places that offer hush puppies and they both give up two. They probably cost six or seven cents so I don’t get the rationing.

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Pat got his pizza, but sometimes anticipation is the best part of a meal.

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If you read Urbanspoon you will see that the only negative feedback for this joint is slow service. The afternoon we went their business was rather robust and I can see trying to get in and out quickly could be problematic. I think any flaw in service is a result of the layout of the place. The dining area is a bunch of small rooms around a central bar. The bar itself is somewhat of a bottle neck. The primary access way is only wide enough for one person to walk down when patrons are sitting at the bar. That in itself can be an issue while you’re trying to wait tables. Personally I don’t see that as a deal breaker. I think Willard is definitely worth the trip. You can even reserve one of the rooms for a kids pizza party. One was going on when we got there. So that’s something to keep in mind.

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willard 447Willard Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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6 responses

  1. I’m with you on the hushpuppies. They always leave me wanting more. When I was younger and would go to Long John Silver, I would buy a dozen hushpuppies for 99 cents and take them back to my co-workers. Even cheap fast food ones were decent. If I were homeless, that’s where I’d spend my dollar–on filling fried cornmeal. At least you had jalapeno cheese balls to fill you up. Thumbs down for pre-breaded oysters. Are they hard to bread? The fish looks tasty and affordable.

    March 22, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    • Cod is an inexpensive fish. The value is added by the dude or dudette in the kitchen. It amuses me the prices some joints charge. Oysters are simple to bread. It takes a little time, but anything worth eating is worth working for. Just keep your oysters wrapped in damp towell, not in the liquor. Otherwise the excess water can blow up in the fryer sending your food to the bottom of the fryer.

      March 22, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      • The liquor??

        March 22, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      • Yeah. When you buy shucked select oysters they are packed in their own liquid. Some folks call it liquor. Just like the liquor greens are cooked in is called liquor, or likker. Guess my South is showing.

        March 22, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      • You’re learnin’ me something new. Like pot liquor?

        March 22, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      • Yeah buddy. Pot liquor and corn bread is as good as liquor of the Irish variety.

        March 22, 2014 at 5:49 pm

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