eating indie in indy

diners

Joe’s Shelby Street Diner 3623 Shelby Street

Once again a joint that won’t wow you or astound you with their clever or avant garde menu but a joint that will feed you and not hurt your wallet. They rely on several IQF items but the breakfast and burgers are made to order. They offer tenderloins two ways. The Hubcap and the Baby Moon. Both are pre-made and frozen. Pat ordered a Baby Moon.

I decided that I needed a burger, a patty melt to be exact. What I got was a nicely prepared sandwich with actual carmelized onion. Properly cooked onion brings so much to food it is a shame when not done well.

All of their sandwiches come with chips but of course you can sub fries or rings for an up charge. I opted for some onion rings for $2.75 additional. They were ordinary IQF rings but were still a pretty good companion to my Patty melt.

Well as I said earlier if you are looking for a joint that puches the envelop of culinary achievement this ain’t it. However if you want a breakfast at anytime or a good inexpensive lunch this is it. Both of our sandwiches were under 8 bucks. Now that is diner pricing.


Sero’s Family Restaurant 11720 E. Washington Street

This place is like several around town. Family owned and operated with huge menus offering large portions and breakfast served all day. It may be tempting to slip in a phrase like “cookie cutter” but that would hardly be accurate. You may find an identical menu at some other joint but the preparation is far from identical. That is probably why I order liver and onions so often. I always expect that I will be pleasantly surprised.

Yep I did it again. Liver and onions with potato choice and one other side for $9.99. I like my onions well carmelized and the meat medium rare. I understand that a thin slice of liver is hard to get medium rare but it can be cooked to medium rather easily. Well obviously the onions missed the mark and the liver was over cooked. It was also over breaded. I contend a light coating of flour is sufficient but here they seem to have used an actual breading. So the result was that you mainly tasted the coating, with a slight flavor of liver. I would make it at home but the store where I used to buy my liver does not handle it anymore. They used to sell fresh slices that were one half inch thick and cooked up a delightful mid-rare.

For my second side I opted for green beans. They were really pretty good. They were canned but had bits of onion and tomato in them. Pretty tasty.

Pat’s diet plate was $10.99, so we actually got quite a bit of food for our money. Don’t let my liver experience dissuade you from trying this place out. I am reasonably certain you will find something you will enjoy. I just don’t recommend the liver and onions.


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.


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


Kazablanka Grill & Bar 5801 Rockville Road.

Before I get into our review this week I would like to announce that today; the 14th of August is our 8th Anniversary. Yay.

I am not sure how Pat decided on this particular place. The only thing I can figure is that he saw it in his travels and thought it sounded interesting. Well it was definitely interesting. Some may say it was fascinating. It has a great lay out and could probably seat over 150 people. The bar has plenty of seating and located on one end so the other dining area can be used for family dining. It also has a big deck. Of course the deck could used some work. The whole joint could use an overall but it is clean. They offer a $6.99 lunch buffet, but we decided on ordering from the menu.

The menu is quite large and they offer several specials. The prices are excellent as well. After much deliberation Pat decided on Lasagne, which came with a side salad. Our wonderful server/ bartender went to the buffet and made it for him.

This was a huge salad. It would pass for two at most joints.

It took me nearly as long to order and I was just looking at sandwiches. The sandwiches come with no sides and are all $7.49 and most sides are $1.50. So that is just a bit cheaper that other joints. I decided on a new addition. A hand breaded cod sandwich. I also got a side of coleslaw and our server brought it out with Pat’s salad.

The slaw was homemade and pretty good. I don’t think Grandmas should be worried but it was better than most. I must admit I was not prepared for my sandwich.

I have never seen such a poorly presented sandwich. Four ounces of fish on 8 ounces of bread. The cold set consisted of one small piece of iceberg, one tomato slice and a few scraps of onion. Oh yes and a big solo of mediocre tartar sauce. I was more bemused than angry. Who could ever say that this plate was something they would admit to creating. It is all well and good to control portions. I further understand how two ounce cod loin portions seem attractive to control cost but couldn’t you find a smaller hoagie bun. If you insist on a 4 oz cod sandwich why not a round bun? Of course this is just a rhetorical question because who ever is in charge of your kitchen either doesn’t know any better or doesn’t care. Also it is doubtful they will even read this. I just chuckled and cut half of the bun in half and used that to make my sandwich. It made a nice size sandwich that way. However after all that the fish itself was pretty bland. The tomato tasted fresh though.

So Pat was the big winner. He got a double side salad and enough Lasagne to take home for a second meal for $10.49. I got a average at best sandwich, some assembly required, for $7.49. I also met a very charming lady who served us our food and drinks and made me a very nice Margarita for $5. In a Mason Jar.

My Margarita after I had drank half.

Well I don’t have much to add. I can’t recommend the cod sandwich but the Lasagne is pretty good. If that cod portion had been 6 ounces or more and fit the bun like other places I would not have said a word. Except that it would probably still be bland


Zaharikos 329 Washington Street Columbus Indiana

This is definitely an historic site. It has been a functioning ice cream parlor since 1900 and it definitely has that old time air about it. From the carved fretwork to the hardwood cabinetry and the marble soda syrup dispenser.

The space is airy with high ceilings and filled with natural light. From the shiny hardwood floors to the pressed tin ceiling you can’t help but feel the history of the place.

Well as charming as the space is we were there to have lunch. Fran; Pat’s wife went with us and she is a Sloppy Joe junkie like me. On their menu is a Gom sandwich, which is their version of a Sloppy Joe. You can get it with or without cheese, they come grilled on white bread. That is what we ordered.

It was really a very nice sandwich. If you like Sloppy Joes then I think you would like this. It is tighter than most Joes and the flavor is mild compared to some but it definitely has that tangy sweetness common to “loose meat” sandwiches. Since this is above all an ice cream parlor that makes its own ice cream some form of frozen confection was required. Fran decided on a Root Beer Soda.

Fran’s Root Beer Soda
Pat’s Chocolate Malted, prior to the fall.

Boy when that glass hit that hard wood floor it went every where. As quickly as they got on the clean up you can tell they had been there before. They even replaced his Malt. For Free. Very nice gesture.

Since I had water with my lunch I was ready for some Ice Cream. I ordered a 2 scoop Sundae with hot fudge. My O My it was delicious.

I ordered a Mint Chocolate Chip and a Raspberry Chocolate Chip. The Mint was very good but the Raspberry was incredible. A true raspberry taste in an ice cream. If anything would make me drive for an hour that might be it. They put the hot fudge sauce in the bottom of the dish and built the sundae on top. They also supplied a small boat with more for the top.

As formidable as the task was I was still able to clean the bowl.

I sincerely hope people have an opportunity to visit. They have a small museum of antique soda fountains in the dining room adjacent to the one we ate in. I took several pictures but they were really of poor quality. The rooms may have had a lot of sunlight but it was too diffused for my camera to get some good shots. I am including a link to their website. Listen to their sample of mechanical music. That played in the dining area. Continuously. This “modern” ear thought less would be better. Thankfully as more people came in the normal conversation took the edge off.

http://www.zaharakos.com/

So we had a splendid time in Columbus. We had plans on dropping by Zwanzigz for a beer but we were all too full to even consider it. Imagine that. Too full for a beer.


The Most Delicious Pancake House 5010 S. East Street


How is that for a name for a restaurant? No faux humility for them. Pat told me about this place and how could I pass up a joint called most delicious.

I don’t think Pat’s BT was cut and pounded in house, I believe it was brought in already breaded. It appeared to be a solid piece of meat and the consumer liked it so it probably doesn’t matter.

I decided that I needed a burger and I opted for a Most Delicious burger. That would be their standard half pounder with ham and bacon. Oddly enough I don’t believe it had any cheese. It came with a usual cold set and a spicy mayo. It was sloppy but good.

I especially liked the bacon. It was thick and crisp and just greasy enough to bring an added layer of flavor to the sandwich. What I didn’t get was the ham. It was nicely done; thinly sliced with a slight char but I don’t get the connection. It reminded me of a time , long ago, when stuffed burgers were in vogue. I had good success with various combinations so I offered one stuffed with chopped ham and Swiss cheese. “We put the ham in hamburger”. Boy that went over like the proverbial lead balloon.

I think I ordered it for the bacon. I wonder how it would be with an egg on top. Regardless the burger was pretty good the way it was.

This place doesn’t have any media presence yet so there is no menu to show. Just be assured they probably will have something you want to eat and it will be nicely prepared at a reasonable price. I think our sandwiches were under $10 each.

This fancy chandelier is in the center of the dining room. I don’t think the new tenants brought it in so it came from Shoney’s or Lucky 8 buffet. In either event it certainly adds a bit of Bling to the joint.


Hoagies and Hops 4155 Boulevard Place

Eight years ago Flat 12 Brewery opened. Like most breweries the food option consisted of the occasional food truck. Then three years ago Hoagies and Hops set up shop in their tasting room. We reviewed it for the Indy Bacon week about a year ago and they put out an impressive sandwich. Now Flat 12 is going their own way on food and Hoagies and Hops has moved to another spot and hooked up with Chilly Water Brewing.

It is a very nice spot. Each business has its own area separated by a wall; with an opening and 2 separate entrances. That I am sure was to placate our curious alcoholic beverage laws.

The husband and wife team that started the eatery are purists; they import the bread from South Jersey and use House sliced Delmonico rib eye for their cheese steaks. Their Hoagies and cheese steaks come in 3 sizes; 7,9 and 18 inches. As for their cornerstone cheese steak you order it with or without onions and Provolone or Cheese whiz. I got a 7 inch cheese steak or Shorty with onions and cheese whiz for $7.99. Wow. It was a very nice sandwich. Flavorful and loaded with steak. The bread was the perfect complement to the meat and cheese.

On my second trip I wanted to try one of their cold hoagies. They use Dietz and Watson cold cuts. That is considered the Godfather of luncheon meats. I ordered the Hog Island. It offered Salami, Ham, Prosciutto, Capicola and Provolone. I enjoyed the freshness and crispness of the fillings and great texture of the bread.

Both of the sandwiches I tried were top-notch. Since this joint is so close to me I will definitely be a regular. FYI on Wednesday Chilly Water features $4 pints and $7 Growler fills. In addition Hoagies and Hops discounts their half Cheese steaks by 2 bucks. Now how can a beer drinking bargain seeking carnivore resist that.


Continental Grill Family Restaurant 3815 W. Washington Street

https://www.continentalgrill.net/

For some reason we don’t venture to the west side very often. I discovered this place by “surfing the web.” It started out as a Waffle House and opened in 1970. It changed identities recently and appears to be doing very well.

The menu is huge and they have different specials every day, breakfast and lunch and dinner. It would seem as though some of their lunch specials are menu items at a reduced price. However they did offer a Swiss Steak Manhattan which really intrigued me. They also offered an 8 ounce rib eye with toast and 2 sides for $9.99. That I couldn’t resist.

They aren’t much on presentation; as you can see. It didn’t matter. The steak was a perfect medium rare and delicious. They had an extensive list of sides but I decided on butter beans and potato pancakes.

Butter beans are not seen on too many menus. I enjoy them; and here they even serve them with a fresh buttery taste spread.

The pancakes were probably not made in-house but were pretty tasty. They were made with mashed potatoes and had a nice crisp to them.

So if you are hungry but not sure what you want than this joint may be just the place for you. Lots to choose from with big portions and good prices.

 

 

 


Mom’s Country Kitchen 1313 N. Sherman Drive.

Up until recently this was the Sawmill Saloon. The kind of joint you went to for an uninspired but decent meal or more than a few cheap beers. Now it is a diner, one that serves lunch, dinner and breakfast all day.

Pat and I just thought we were hungry. Pat had their basic breakfast. Two eggs with sausage or bacon, toast and potatoes. He got a pound of potatoes, 4 slices of bacon and what looked like more than 2 scrambled eggs for $7.50. He also decided he needed a half order of biscuits and gravy for $2.99

This is all the food Pat ordered for breakfast.

After all this it is no wonder Pat forgot that we ate here when it was the Sawmill Saloon.

https://kosherhamandcheese.com/2014/07/22/sawmill-saloon-1313-n-sherman-drive/

I had their works platter. Two sausage, 2 biscuits, 2 eggs and potatoes and gravy for $7.99. The amount of food was nearly embarrassing. Not only did we each get a mound of potatoes but they were nicely prepared. A bit under seasoned but still nicely done. The sausage patties were super sized and delicious with a bit of spice. The gravy was pretty good but the biscuits were average.

I don’t think this place is still a destination but if you are hungry for a well prepared breakfast and you are even close by I don’t think you can go wrong with stopping in. I wouldn’t mind trying their lunch just to see how they handle that. They also proudly proclaim steak and eggs for $9.99 all day, every day. Normally I would avoid steaks in a diner but I saw a sign inside announcing that they refuse to cook any steak well done. Now that intrigues me. I just may have to go back for steak and eggs.