eating indie in indy

Burgers

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.


The Free Spirit 6155 E. 86 th Street

Well one more bar.Or tavern. In other words a joint that sells alcoholic beverage with food; as opposed to a joint that sells food with alcoholic beverages. I have no problem with bars or taverns. However a few weeks back someone asked me if ; as a chef ; I found some places or some food beneath me. I had never thought of that before. I just go to different places that sell food, with Pat, we eat then tell folks what we think. I don’t consider any particular food type  boring or “bad” I can consider the preparation of it sub par or as Pat would say “street level”. That being said lets talk about The Free Spirit.

This joint has been at this location nearly 4 years. I believe the former owner had it on Shadeland Ave. They have excellent food and beverage specials and the prices are more than fair. The majority of their sandwiches are under $8. They also sell pizza and breakfast all day.

Pat wanted to show the char grill on his burger because when we went to the Burger Study they aggressively char grilled his burger and he thought it barely edible. And that is a fancy upscale joint that charges $11 and up for their burgers and this burger was $5.49.

I decided on a Cocky burger. That would be a burger with cheddar, bacon. BBQ sauce and an onion ring for $7.49.

This was a delicious burger. I ordered it mid rare and that was exactly how it was served. Every element of the sandwich was on point. From the toasted Brioche style bun to the crisp bacon and the battered french fries. I have paid more for a lesser sandwich.

I think this place will do well. They have great food, excellent service and enough room for a crowd. I can’t think of anything missing. It is a fun place to hang out at.


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/

 


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


Burger Study 28 West Georgia Street

In Indianapolis there is a legendary steak house. Home grown and operating since 1902 and still going strong. It is known for aged prime beef and an equally legendary shrimp cocktail. One with a sauce so hot it lingers in your mouth and memory for ages. It is called St. Elmo’s and about 10 years ago they opened a more casual affair right around the corner on Georgia Street, called Harry and Izzy’s. They are open for lunch and offer a prime beef Angus burger. Last year St. Elmo’s announced they were opening another joint right next door featuring nothing but burgers. Well Burger Study just opened last week.

http://www.burgerstudy.com/

All of their beef is ground Prime beef. A couple of their burgers made of St. Elmo’s dry aged beef. But we were happy to try their “regular” burgers. But before hand we ordered a fried avocado appetizer for $8.

Pat or I have never had fried avocado before so we were pretty excited to try them. Unfortunately the results were less than stellar. Some of them tasted burned, as though the fry oil was bad. It was strange not every one tasted bad but it impressed me enough to know I won’t be ordering them again.

They have a “build your own burger” offered on the menu for $9 with cheese for $1 extra. That is what Pat ordered.

I opted for the $13  HOMECOMING. Thick-cut, root beer glazed bacon, smoked Gouda cheese, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise. It was an outstanding sandwich and a great piece of beef. I don’t find the char off-putting so I enjoyed mine more than Pat. One thing I couldn’t help but notice was that the cheese looked pretty orange for Gouda. Regardless of the cheese it was an excellent sandwich and the only reason I probably wouldn’t order it when I go back is because I would like to try one of the other burgers.

I really have my eye on the   DOCTORATE. St. Elmo Steak House dry-aged beef topped with foie gras, triple-crème whipped brie, arugula, Dijon mustard, and caramelized onions on a sesame seeded brioche bun   30. That would be a burger for the ages. And at 30 bucks it would be a burger for a lifetime. I think I have tried all the burgers offered downtown and these guys put out the best. So a return trip is definitely in my future.


BurgerFuel 6320 Guilford Ave.

This is a company store from a chain that started in New Zealand in 1995. Even though it isn’t an Independent we decided to try it simply because it is so unique. Also it is the first one BurgerFuel has opened in the USA. Their other joints are in New Zealand, Australia and the Middle East.

Their menu is small and offers some very unique additions to their free range meat patties.

http://www.burgerfuel.com/us/usa-menu

Some burger places put their sandwiches in a small half sack to help keep them together while you eat. BurgerFuel uses small cardboard containers.

They actually come in handy;especially when you have a potentially messy burger with lots of stuff. They even work upside down.

In addition to the common cold set they add a house made tomato relish to each sandwich. The most unusual addition they offer is the raw grated beet and chia. That is what prompted me to order the Bio fuel sandwich with bacon added.

100% pure grass-fed beef, organic egg, raw grated beetroot & chia, salad, tomato relish & aioli 7.40

This is one heck of a sandwich. The meat offers a great flavor, though a bit dry. This is more an observation than a criticism. The slight nuttiness of the Egmont Cheddar married well with the meat and the “salad” added a nice crunch. The beet was the big gun though. It did add a sweetness to the sandwich but the poor tomato relish was lost and the egg may have stood up to it better had it been more “runny”. The bacon was very good with just the right amount of saltiness. As for the bun I can’t agree more with Pat. More and more joints are going the Brioche route. It is a good bun but this rustic little multi grain roll is the winner; in my book.

I will be back. Next time it will be the double. I also am intrigued by their vegetarian sandwich and the Motobites. I may be a carnivore but I am always on the look out for different tastes. Also a well made sandwich is a treat even if it has no meat.
BurgerFuel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Between the Buns 102 S. Madison Avenue Greenwood In.

This place opened about 2 or 3 years ago in the heart of Old Greenwood. It is housed in a 100-year-old building and is decorated more or less as an homage to the 70’s and 80’s. The table tops are all decoupaged with cut outs from that era. I think they are pretty cool but the shellac used to cover and protect the artwork can be a bit tacky to the touch. Unfortunately that can lead some folks to mistakenly think the table tops are dirty. Unfortunate.

The big hits on the menu are their burgers and their dogs. The burgers are hand formed half pounders and the dogs are 4 oz. The hook is the clever and creative toppings for them.

They have a lunch menu which features a select number of their sandwiches at a reduced price. All of their items come with fries. Pat and I are both trying to watch are carbs, so I was surprised when he ordered a plain Jane dog as an app.

I did get a bite ( a one inch piece) and it was very nice. It had little rips in it as though it had experience great heat. Maybe dropped in a deep fryer and then put on a grill? I don’t know but I think it would have been killer with some relish and mustard.

I ordered off the regular menu. A PB&J Burger for $9.99. Sound interesting? It is a burger smeared with peanut butter topped with bacon, pepperjack cheese and jalapeno. jalapeno is the J in the name. Then the thing is drizzled with maple syrup. Crazy.

It is a big burger and I had to cut it in half to eat it. First thing they cooked it mid rare for me; which is a big plus. Secondly the burger is really good meat. Finally all the odd toppings made sense. The peanut butter melted onto the burger bringing a degree of fat to the lean meat. The chiles and cheese brought some heat and the bacon brought a nice smoky crunch. The syrup just brought a sweetness that your taste buds never expected but appreciated.

One last thing. The french fries. I really liked them. They were nice and crisp on the outside yet a little mushy on the inside. As for the seasoning I found it to be a rather sublime accent to the potato. Most house seasonings are too spicy or too salty. This was like Goldilocks. Just right.


Between the Bun - Burgers, Dogs & More Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Rebar 20 N. Delaware

Yep; it is a bar. But to be more accurate it is a Rebar. Now what is a Rebar? Well in this case I would say it is a joint that has a wall of serve yourself beer. The concept is great. You get a plastic card. You place it on a sensor and the pour yourself as much beer as you like. You are charged by the ounce and they offer 20 different rotating taps. You can get  2 ounces for a taste or a 12 ounce glass to enjoy with your meal. To me it is a winner for everyone concerned. For the consumer you do not need to worry about an over worked bartender, and for the house the bartender is free to do other things. Plus the place gets paid for the tastes that folks expect to get. I should have taken a picture.

But we were here for the food. From what we sampled I would say that these guys have probably the best “bar” food around. The kitchen staff is composed of young people who went to the Chef’s Academy here in town. So they have a crew of knowledgable and creative folks that are in this business by choice. Which does make a difference.

They make the majority of the food from scratch. The exceptions are the buns, fries and cheese curds. The batter on the curds is reminiscent of what you would find on a corn dog. They were pretty good but there is better out there. It is a shame they don’t have the room to batter their own. I think they would probably hit it out of the park.

The dipping sauce they served with them was a dill Ranch dressing. Too close to tartar sauce for me but it was a decent condiment. They have set lunch specials. Pat opted for the house burger for $8.

Now isn’t that a splendid hunk of meat. Pat gave me a bite and it was as tasty as it looked. I decided on a pair of sliders for $7. You get your choice of an Angus blend burger, house smoked and pulled pork or a spicy sloppy Joe. I ordered the BBQ and the Sloppy Joe. Again I was impressed. I know pulled pork and sloppy Joes are hardly haute cuisine but some preparations are better than others . Even with the simplest of dishes.

Pat and I are in agreement about the chips. They served a whole bunch of them but they were fried too crisp for us.

This place is in a perfect location for me. It is a short block away from the new Transit Center. Since I do not drive downtown, and since it has a patio on a very busy street I can see myself sitting there having lunch and a couple of Adult beverages. Speaking of  beverages they have a Adult milk shakes featuring Graeter’s Ice Cream with various liquors.

https://www.rebarindy.com/

They are changing their menu soon so I am sure I will be back there at least once more when that happens. Actually I will probably be back with some regularity. It is a fun joint to visit.

 

Rebar Indy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The Mug (Irvington) 118 S. Audubon Road

mug-irvington-001

Well the wait is over. The Mug East has finally opened. The Mug owner bought the building and did a wonderful job rehabbing it. Originally the space where the Mug is was a Christian Science reading room. The center spot was a laundromat. Now it houses a Tyner Pond Farm store. That is the farm that supplies the Mug with all of its protein. That too is owned by Chris Baggott. Owner of both Mugs. The end unit used to be a cafe but will eventually house an upscale restaurant.

The Mug’s menu is the same as the one in Greenfield. They have Draft beer here. They also raised the prices. What was $5 is now $6.75. What was $6.75 is now $8. Life in the Big City.

mug-irvington-004

mug-irvington

Jimmy has joined us on a couple of other occasions. Since he still has a job we have to plan in advance for the pleasure of his company. He ordered one of their excellent house made sausages.

mug-irvington-007

I was tempted to order a chicken sandwich. All free range and stuff. I think I ordered a chicken sandwich once. To me grilled chicken is an option only if beef or pork isn’t. I think the 8 buck price turned me off. Not that $8 is too much for a sandwich. Just that maybe $8 for a grilled chicken sandwich is. Since I had already tried their beef and dog I opted for a house smoked pork sandwich. Covered in BBQ sauce and topped with homemade coleslaw, for $6.75. Formerly $5.

mug-irvington-005

It was a pretty good sandwich. Not bad, just not knock your socks off good. I couldn’t detect much smoke in the pig and the sauce was average. As for the slaw I prefer a sweet slaw with a more prominent sauce presence. So a pretty good sandwich. A decent value at $6.75. Excellent value at 5 bucks.

I think their burgers, hot dogs and breaded tenderloin will keep people coming back. I know I will be back for another burger. One of the multi-patty ones. Their basic patty is one-quarter pound,so two will make a substantial sandwich. That is what Pat ordered. They also serve two forms of fries. One is your standard IQF variety  which was $2.25 in Greenfield. ( same as McDonald’s) They also offer a hand cut version fried in lard for one dollar more. For an extra buck they will take any fry toss it in olive oil and then parsley and garlic. Like Boogie Burger in Broad Ripple.

So I think they will be successful here in Irvington. They offer good service and a good product and now they have beer.

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