eating indie in indy

bbq

Jimmy’s Dairy Bar 7065 S. State Road 67 Pendleton Indiana

Jimmy’s is an old-fashioned drive in. No car hops but you can order at the window and eat in your car; eat in doors or use their drive up. A triple threat. I am afraid places like this are slowly vanishing. Hopefully they can still flourish in small towns. There are a few left in Indianapolis but I am afraid “progress” will eventually take its toll.

This is the sort of joint that has a concise menu made up of both house made and “store-bought” items.

Pat and I both ordered two sandwiches and some mushrooms to share. I ordered a BBQ and a Sloppy Joe.

The BBQ was excellent. It was not dry rubbed and smoked and served sauce on the side. It was cooked in an unknown manner then sauced in a very unique sauce, with mushrooms. It was moist, tasty and abundant; and less than $5. When they serve the sandwiches they are wrapped in paper, which can be problematic when you unwrap to photograph.

Sloppy Sloppy Joe. It fell apart when I unwrapped it.

As you can tell from the pictures both of these sandwiches require a fork. I have been a fan of the Sloppy Joe since I was a kid and I think the one at Jimmy’s is the best I have eaten. The meat was looser than most and didn’t have the sweetness that most others have. It wasn’t a Maid Rite or Loose meat but probably something in between; as it had a tomato presence. In either event it was a big hit.

Pat wanted to show what was under the lid. Look closely and you can see the mushrooms.

This is Pat’s tenderloin and the mushrooms. The mushrooms were one of those “store-bought” items on the menu. Not worth doing again.

Pat got a chocolate malt to top off his lunch I got a chocolate soft serve cone. I honestly can not remember the last time I had soft serve. It was so good it makes me wonder why it has been so long.

Their dining room is actually pretty spacious and don’t forget the drive through if you don’t want to come in.

They even have picnic tables out back. They got you covered no matter how you roll. This place is a keeper.

 

 


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


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.

 

 

 


The Rib Kitchen 1501 Prospect Street

This is a new joint that opened in November 2017. As I was told by the owner after they opened they closed for a while to do some re-organization. They did the re-organization well because this is a neat little joint. The menu is intentionally sparse. They also do a nice array of deep-fried appetizers sold by the pound. On the Q menu they only offer ribs and rib tips reserving the smoking of brisket and pork shoulder for specials.

This little guy stands at the counter where you order. The building used to house a KFC so the format is similar.

Pat and I both ordered the special. A pulled pork sandwich with a drink and 2 sides for $9.99. What he didn’t mention was the order of fried mushrooms we shared. The owner was kind enough to split them up for us. The mushrooms were interesting, the batter was tasty just a bit thick. I agree with Pat’s assessment on the pig and the sides 100 percent.

These are our 2 sides. Creamy slaw and Greens. The slaw wore a creamy dressing that coated without drowning the cabbage and the greens were in that perfect range of done but still having some tooth. The man also makes his own sauce which was really good as well. As we ate he told us about the brisket that he had to try as a special in the near future. A slow smoked brisket sounds wonderful, so that will be for my return trip.


The Patio 7206 E. Washington Street

The building that houses the Patio used to be a fast food place.( Arby’s?) Now it is a some of this, some of that Mom and Pop joint. The menu is extensive. They called themselves a Mediterranean Restaurant. Well they have that covered with Gyros and pizza. They also toss in a few BBQ items, some Mexican choices as well as fried fish, burgers and Tenderloin. A big menu. The Gyros were recommended but we felt more like BBQ.

This is not a place I would normally order ribs from. To me ribs cry out for a smoker and this place has none. So they would be baked; hopefully not boiled beforehand. Well I think they were boiled a bit before baking but they were still pretty tasty. They reheated them on a flat top and then sauced them. The meat wasn’t falling off the bone but you could separate the bones with a plastic knife so I think they passed the tender test. I was surprised at how meaty the ribs were, often spare ribs are a bit sparse. The slaw was very good. A mayo based dressing with a bit of vinegar that gave it a very nice acidity. I agree with Pat about the fries. They were fried perfectly. Crisp exterior and tender in side.

The only weak link would be the toast. Their attempt was laudable ( a touch of rosemary ) but it could have been toastier. However in the operators defense he may have felt hurried. Pat was up to retrieve the food prematurely so the guy may have felt like he had to sell it asap. However you could make a point he should have dropped the bread sooner. But that is such a nit I won’t attempt to pick it. Any more than I already have.

So we had a very nice full slab of ribs dinner for $19.25. We ordered an extra side of slaw and I think they gave us an extra side of toast and our total was about $22 ; including tax.

All of their prices seem more than reasonable and as big as the menu is if you can’t find something you want you aren’t hungry.

 

The Patio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Big Hoffa’s BBQ 800 E. Main St. Westfield Indiana.

This is a rather peculiar building. A big metal thing with the entire outer surface painted in such a way as to suggest it is actually many different shops. I only photographed the 2  functioning doors. It was cold and sleeting that day.

Inside it was cozy and quite utilitarian. You ordered at a counter and then when they called your name you picked it up. Simple and efficient. We got there a few minutes before noon and it was just starting to pick up steam. By 12:15 there was a considerable line.

This is the only smoker I could see; and it wasn’t working that day. I wonder if they have a tough time keeping up.

Did you notice anything odd about Pat’s sides? They offer Jasmine rice. I have never been to a BBQ joint that had rice. Unless it was Korean BBQ.

http://bbqindianapolis.com/

When I go to a BBQ joint I usually go with brisket. If they have it.

My sides were slaw and baked beans. The beans were pretty good. Not as thick as I would like but pretty good. The slaw was nice but not the best I have had. Which brings us to the beef. It was nice and tender and pretty lean. Just enough fat to add flavor. I could not detect much smoke though. It was pretty good and it went well with the 2 sauces we tried. The sweet and the spicy.

Our lunches were thoroughly legit and reasonably priced. A half pound of meat with 2 sides and 2 rolls for less than $9. I am with Pat though. It is too far to drive with any regularity. I will say this if I lived closer I would be back. They make their own Key Lime pie and peach cobbler.

 

Big Hoffa's BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Soul Bear Bar-B-Que 9120 Crawfordsville Rd. Clermont In.

We heard about this place when we had lunch at Jimbo’s, which is about a quarter-mile away. They don’t have a very big electronic foot print but I was able to find out enough to make me decide it was worth the drive. It is a basic BBQ joint with a basic menu. In addition to the usual pig and chicken they also sell fried fish.

Pat and I decided to share a full slab of ribs. A slab comes with 2 sides. Pat opted for greens while I decided on mac and cheese. Since we ate the same thing I only took 2 pictures. Unfortunately I screwed one up, so I can only show the one.

The pile of bones was huge. So big that we were able to eat our fill and have some left to take home.

I thought the ribs were pretty good. They had a good smokiness and while not falling off the bone they were still tender and juicy. I think they rank in the top 5 ribs I have had in the city. Their BBQ Sauce was excellent. We got medium and it had a bit of spice to it. They ladle sauce over the ribs just before service giving a nice puddle in the bottom to dip your bread in. The sides were rather small but with the pile of meat you get the sides are really secondary. I couldn’t make any comparison between this joint and Jimbo’s because Bear doesn’t do brisket. I can compare mac and cheese though and I liked Bears a bit more. It had a more “natural” cheese flavor.

It is a drive but I can see myself going back for the rib tips. Clermont is really a nice little town. It sits in the shadow of its more famous neighbor Speedway but it is doing pretty well on its own. Two BBQ joints, a coffee shop and a great little bar all within a half mile. It is large enough to support local business and still small enough to avoid the Starbucks encroachment. I think is a town with a future.


Jimbo’s BBQ 9211 Crawfordsville Road

This joint is located in an old house right on US 136. They have limited seating and parking in the rear. Just in case you aren’t sure where you are this is on the side of the house.

It is small place that is as neat as a pin. All of the food they offer is listed on 2 chalkboards on the wall.

As soon as you park and step outside your car you can smell it. When you walk through the front door you can smell it. A carnivore’s dream. Smoked meat. Pat and I both enjoy BBQ and have eaten at several but I don’t recall that many joints that offer chili; and none that offer Brunswick stew. The stew tempted me but I was there to try the BBQ so I ordered their brisket special with one side and drink for $8.99.

The bun was pretty generic but the brisket was far from being run of the mill. It had a nice smoke ring and an excellent smoke flavor. It was also very tender and lean. The sandwiches come undressed but they offer 4 different sauces at the table. Texas, Memphis, Kansas City and Carolina. The first three are tomato based with varying degrees of sweetness. The Carolina a vinegar based. I liked a combo of Carolina and KC. While the meat was exceptional the mac and cheese was ho-hum. Macaroni with canned cheese sauce. Very cheesy just not what I look for in a Mac and cheese.

Pat is right there are several joints that do a good job with pulled pork. It is just a matter of how good that determines where to go. That and location. Clermont is pretty far for the both of us so I can’t see me hanging out there. However I can see myself going back for the stew. That is not something you see every day.

Jimbo's BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Big Woods Speedway 1002 W. 10th Street Speedway In.

big-woods-001

Big Woods is a brewery AND distillery and originated in Nashville Indiana. They also have a joint in Bloomington Indiana. I believe last year they decided to make the move north to Speedway. The home of America’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing; the 500. It is a big beautiful building with an amazing interior of varnished wood.

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Quaff On is the name of the beer they produce. Also each beer has an individual name. So when you order a Quaff On flight you get 5 five ounce pours of beers that are representative of their brewing skills.

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I am not going to begin to describe each beer. I will say they were excellent examples of their craft. All for $13.

big-woods

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As soon as we pulled up I could smell their smoker. I love smoked meats. I find pulled chicken boring. Brisket is still hit and miss around here. A good smoked pork butt is getting easier to find and from the aroma of their smoker I figured this one should be pretty good.

big-woods-006

It was excellent. A great smokiness and the pickled veggies were a marvelous counterpoint. Of course I would have enjoyed more and a larger variety but carrot and onion are pretty commonplace in most kitchens. The bun was nice and I appreciated the sauce on the side. Their side options were kettle chips with truffle oil and parm, fries or kicked up slaw. For some reason I chose chips. They were okay but I think the truffle and parm bit looked better on paper. I forgot all about the slaw option. That was silly. Next time. My sandwich was $11.25 and Pat’s 2 topping pizza pie was $10.95.

In the beginning I mentioned that Big Woods was a distillery too. Their brand of liquor is called Hard Truth. They offered Vodka, Rum and Gin at first. Now they have a whisky. It is a clear liquor; like moonshine. So in keeping with the spirit of adventure I ordered a Manhattan cocktail.

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It was a wonderful beverage. It was incredibly smooth. Too often when all the components of a cocktail are alcoholic the first taste can be a bit astringent. Not here. That is a testimony to the bartender and the liquor. In my opinion.

Pat and I had a swell time. The food is good. The beer is good. The surroundings are good and the service was outstanding. I think Pat and I will both be back;even though it is a drive for both of us. We think it may be worth it.

Big Woods Speedway Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato