eating indie in indy

Mel’s Drive In 3045 Mars Hill Drive.

How many folks remember drive ins? I am sure you know what I am talking about. You drive up and park and the server comes out; takes your food order and then delivers it to you on trays that clip to your car windows. If you don’t recall first hand I am sure you have heard tales from your parents or Grandparents.

I am not sure how long Mel’s has been serving food to the folks in Mars Hill,but I would guess more than 50 years. It isn’t easy to get to but it is worth the effort. It is about 50 yards from a busy highway and a railroad track. I am not sure how busy the track is but a train came by while we were there.


As you can see it is pretty close. Mel’s is the building in the foreground.


A couple of old-fashioned drive ins in town have house made root beer as their hook. Mels’ doesn’t. All it offers is its food and great pricing.


They have no indoor dining. You eat in your car or on some picnic tables out back. That may turn some people off but Pat and I loved it. You may not be able to see the prices all that well on my picture but both Zomato and Yelp have shots of the 2014 menu. The new menu is about a half buck more per item. Pat ordered a single hamburger, a small order of mushrooms and cheese bites as well as a hot dog and vanilla malt.






I opted for a breaded tenderloin. I don’t know if it was just the special for that day or if it’s the normal pricing but the girl asked me if a wanted a second tenderloin sandwich for $1.10. One for $2.75 two for $3.85. At first I said no. I quickly realized I had made a faux pas and changed my order. I figured that Pat and I could share the ‘shrums and cheese bites so I finished my order with a coney dog and a Chocolate Malted.


I only ate one of the tenderloin. It was a pre-breaded item not hand breaded in-house. So it wasn’t representative of scratch cooking but it was representative of a damn fine sandwich. For $2.75 each and $3.85 for two make that an excellent sandwich.


The coney dog was very good as well. A dirty water dog on a common place bun and smothered with a pretty good coney sauce. Pat asked me if I thought it was house made. I don’t know but I doubt it. Why should they. I would guess they bought it ready-made and spiced it up with chile powder and cumin. I don’t think this joint ever felt the necessity to scratch build food items. Their mission is to feed people,what they want to eat. And I gotta’ feeling folks like the food a lot.


Oh and the Chocolate Malted was pretty good too. I mean Chocolate is the best of all Malts.

Mel's Drive-In Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

8 responses

  1. Nice nostalgic feel and nothing pretentious!

    September 8, 2016 at 4:00 am

    • So true. No confit or kale salads here.

      September 8, 2016 at 5:37 am

  2. Wow, I love a breaded tenderloin…even the ones we ate in school. I’d love to check this place out, but it’s kinda a trek from here. Hafta go on a weekend.

    My grandmother used to stop at Dog n’ Suds out by Camp Atterbury when I was a kid. Every Friday, IGA, the liquor store, and Dog n’ Suds 😀 Good memories!

    September 8, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    • Seems like Grandma had her priorities about right. Mel’s breaded tenderloin is more of a fritter,hence the low price.It is still a fine sandwich. You could find an actual hand breaded tenderloin sandwich closer to you. But how many joints have a train running through the dining room?

      September 9, 2016 at 6:50 am

      • I can’t think of a single one.
        Culver’s makes a nice tenderloin, but I don’t know that theirs are hand-breaded…

        September 9, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      • I have never been to a Culvers. Their ad says that they hand bread them;so they probably do. I mean what sort of Hoosier would lie about that?

        September 10, 2016 at 7:55 am

      • Benson, Culver’s is delicious. I mean, DELICIOUS, like whoa. The tenderloin is good, the cheeseburger good, the fish sammich is to die for. The cheese curds are tasty, the onion rings are yumma — and Benson, frozen custard!!! OMG THE FROZEN CUSTARD!
        We eat Culver’s at least once a month.

        September 10, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      • Well it looks like a trip to Culvers is in my future.

        September 11, 2016 at 7:22 am

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