eating indie in indy

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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.


Texas Margaritas Mexican Restaurant 6473 Keystone Ave.

I had the pleasure of meeting my pal Joey for lunch Thursday. It has been too long since we saw each other. She works too much. She did agree to meet me for her lunch break so we decided on Texas Margaritas. It is a new place that opened on the site of the former Cancun Mexican Restaurant. The joint is decorated with Mexican style murals and booths.

I thought it was quite a display of art and color. I was reminded of that phrase “a riot of color” for that was surely what it was. They brought out some chips and salsa for me to munch on and to show my appreciation I ordered one of their Texas Margaritas that was on special that day.

The salsa was house made and hotter than most and the chips were still warm. It was a wonderful start to the meal. When Joey arrived it did not take us long to order. Her a shrimp quesadilla for $12.99 and me Enchiladas Ranchers for $9.99. The enchiladas was a plate of 4 corn tortillas stuffed with ground beef, shredded chicken, beans and cheese, then covered with a red sauce, white cheese and lettuce tomato and sour cream. I also added a dish of pico de gallo for $2.25.

I nearly forgot to take a shot of my plate and I didn’t bother Joey to take a picture of her quesadilla that would just eat into our talking time. We only had an hour to catch up on stuff. She did enjoy her shrimp quesadilla but not the rice. It is unfortunate that so many Latin joints feel obligated to add rice to their menu when so few do it well. My enchiladas were very good. The red sauce they used was very tasty and I enjoyed the 4 different fillings. I should do that more often.

So I think this joint is definitely worth looking into. Good food, good service and fair pricing. Also you won’t be bored with your surroundings and if you can, have that meal with a friend so you can catch up on stuff.


La Chela Taqueria 720 E. 38th Street.

About one month ago a new taqueria opened near me. The place is small, definitely an Independent joint and it has been recently painted yellow. I can not believe it took me a month to get there. Yesterday I finally made it. The food is great. I ordered 3 tacos. One lengua one carnitas and one al pastor

I appreciate that they dress the tacos with only chopped onion and cilantro. They also add some radish, cukes and lime on the side. In addition each diner gets two bottles of their salsa, One green with a bit of heat and one mild red. The green wasn’t really hot but both had some great flavor. The tongue was very good. Moist and tender. The Carnitas was a touch dry but still good. By far the Star of the plate was the Al Pastor. Pastor is the chile and pinapple marinated pork steaks that are traditionally roasted on a vertical spit with pineapple rings. Similar to shawarma. As I said all of my tacos were excellent but the Al Pastor was even better. So if you want a taco keep this joint in mind. I had 3 tacos and a lime soda for $11.30 with tax. Don’t feel like tacos well they have other stuff as well. They don’t have a web site but they do have a good sized menu


La Parada 1642 E. New York St.

La Parada has been around for a while. They used to do business in a small stand alone building at the front of the strip mall they are in. I have eaten there several times some years back. I am glad I finally went back and with Pat a willing participant.

Parada brings you out a bowl of salsa and chips as soon as you are seated. That always makes me happy. Their menu is huge but I knew what I wanted from the beginning. Posole. I believe they are the only joint in town that has it. Posole is a wonderful soup of pork and hominy in a chile fortified broth.

Their version was hot, unctuous and delicious. It was a huge bowl. I ate my fill and took home enough for at least dinner. Another thing I enjoy about posole is the stuff they give you to add to it. Like Pha.

My Posole “stuff”

I am more accustomed to shredded cabbage but I can appreciate their substitution of shredded lettuce. As long as they had onion and cilantro. They also added a few dried chiles to the mix. They looked like dried arbol but from the lack of heat I don’t think so

The rest of our dining “props” .

Using tostadas in place of tortilla strips was pretty slick. The diner can use a piece as a scooper or crumble some up in the soup. It also saves someone some time. Pat and I were both quite pleased with this little place. The prices are reasonable, very reasonable. Pat’s tacos were less than 6 bucks, the cheese sauce was $5,25 and my posole was $9.45. Of course since they offer beer and Margaritas you can pad that ticket. For example on Wednesday they offer 16 ounce Sun King beers for $4.75. And I can testify that Wee Mac pairs nicely with posole.


Mrs. Curls Ice Cream & More 259 S. Meridian St. Greenwood Indiana

This little place has been around since 1962. It is like a drive in without car hops. It offers your standard drive in food but it is a notch or two above the usual. The building is close to the street so there is only room for a few tables in front, but on the side under some trees is a sizable out door dining room. You order at the front and they bring the food out to you.

Fran was with us this time and she ordered a coney cheese dog combo. Their combos come with a soft drink and choice of 3 different fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks or tots. She ordered a coney cheese dog combo with mozz sticks.

As for me I ordered with gusto. A BBQ andwich combo with tots. AND a coney dog. In my defense I did not expect such a large BBQ san.

Or such a good portion of tater tots

Their BBQ sandwich was really quite good and being more than an 8 ounce portion quite the bargain at less than $7 for the whole combo. I have paid more for less elsewhere. As for the tots they seemed exceptionally tasty today.

I thoroughly enjoyed the coney dog. The sauce had a slight chile kick to it, which makes me think it also serves as the chili for the chili dog once some beans have been added. If you look closely you can see a bit of char on the dog as if it had taken a plunge in a deep fryer. A nice touch.

The back of the building

I have never been here either. My loss. Like Pat I would like to go back for a foot long and malted. We should be making plans on that soon since they close for the season on October 31. I think this should be a destination for folks. Joints like this are disappearing; and for the people who live in the area I hope you take advantage of this little out door cafe.

http://www.mrscurl.com/menu/default.html


Next Door Eatery 4573 N. College Ave.


This place opened less than 2 years ago by Kimbal Musk the brother of Elon Musk of Tesla fame. It was the curiosity that prompted me to eat here. Musk owns a restaurant group that started in Colorado in 2004. Another brand is Hedge Row. He opened one of those on Mass Ave. prior to the opening of Next Door.

The building used to be a Double Eight grocery. A local chain that closed a few years back. It was started in the 50’s as Seven Eleven. Long before that convenience store chain started. A few years back our local chain changed its name. As a homage to a by gone era Musk incorporated a sign into their interior design.

Several Indianapolis restaurants are currently running a Devour promotion. That is when participating restaurants serve a special meal or discounted normal menu items. Next Door was offering 3 courses for $16.95. That was my original plan but I changed my mind at the last minute. I thought a 3 course lunch was too much and I was drawn to their Pineapple Express burger. That would be a Black Angus burger from local Fisher Farms on a toasted bum with fresh grilled pineapple, bacon, swiss cheese and Siracha honey.

All of their burgers and sandwiches come with chips and a “simple salad”.

I really enjoyed my burger. The bun was nicely toasted and they cooked it medium rare as I requested. That combo of sweet pineapple and smoky bacon was really excellent. The burgers are one third pound. With this particular sandwich any thing bigger would be too much.

Although this joint is not Downtown their prices are. A basic burger is $10.95. They also offer a burger that is half ground beef and half crimini mushrooms for $11.95. My Pineapple Express was $13.95. Expensive but tolerable. My Sun King beer was $6.75 and wasn’t even a pint. Across the street Scarlet Lane opened a tap room so if you feel like a couple of beers that is the place to go. I would like to follow up and try their Next Door 50/50. That is their crimini and beef mix burger. All in all I enjoyed the joint. It is attractive and has a great out door space and they cook a very good burger.

https://www.nextdooreatery.com/location/indianapolis/#food


Fat Cat Bar 3015 Lafayette Road.

When we can’t come to a quick agreement on destination we know we can always agree on the ever popular, hardly controversial “dive bar”. Pat, because the food is simple and me because the beer is cheap. This place has been a bar for as long as I can recall. For years it was Bud’s Lounge. Bud’s closed a couple of years ago and Fat Cat moved in. Fat Cat was originally down the street at 38th Street so they have some experience in the bar business.

Their menu is pretty common with a bunch of frozen apps and a few basic sandwiches and pizza. We ordered a side of mushrooms to start our meal off for $5. They were pretty good. Like most things frozen apps are not all the same. Some ARE better than others. These were better than average.

half eaten appetizer

Of course a picture should be taken before you start eating. Makes for a more professional effect.

I was leaning toward their fried catfish dinner but our great bartender told me it goes from $8 to $6.75 on Fridays. Unfortunately they stopped selling them with hush puppies. Their customers weren’t eating them. There is just no accounting for some folks tastes. So I went for the pig in the form of a grilled tenderloin.

This was an exceptional piece of meat. This was no light weight “fritter” this was an 8 oz. slice of pork loin that was pounded out and cooked really well on a flat top. Tender and moist with good flavor and just the right amount of chew.

So we really enjoyed this little place. It had good food, exceptional service and Domestic bottles were a buck and a half. So for 2 sandwiches, one order of mushrooms and three beers our tab was $25; with tax. That is a value. I will be back on a Friday and try their catfish special; even without puppies.