I enjoy buffets. It may because they remind me of my time in Vegas or maybe they just appeal to the Glutton in me. In either event here we are at the Garrison. Home to what may be the Mac Daddy of Sunday Brunch Buffets in Indianapolis. They have a smaller buffet at lunch during the week. We reviewed that about 18 months ago. It was because of that trip that we are here today.
I have said before that taking pictures of a buffet can be awkward and this was no exception. I did manage a few shots but for the most part I just took shots of our over stocked plates.
They offered everything you might need for a first or salad course.
And of course a dessert table that would make any casino proud.
The main buffet line is immense, featuring all the protein and veggie options you would ever want. Baked white fish, BBQ ribs, fried chicken and of course sausages and bacon. They also have a separate carving station featuring glazed salmon, ham and roast beef. In the opposite corner is a waffle station and an omelet station.
My first plate of protein was actually a bowl with ribs, bacon and sausage. Underneath was a fried chicken breast. The food was all very good. I discovered their fried chicken on my first visit. It is salty and crisp and the white meat is surprisingly moist; considering that it is warming in a chaffing pan. Some of the ribs were a bit chewy but were still good.
These may be ready-made salads but they were still tasty. The 3 bean and Tortellini salads are not often options on a buffet.
I know the height of gluttony. One piece at a time just would not do for me. I had to shove 3 into my bowl. All of their pies and cakes are done in-house by their pastry chef who spent several years at the “Dutch Oven”.
The buffet is staged in the Blue Heron Ballroom with 2 adjacent dining area for over flow. It is a spacious and beautiful room. One whole wall is nearly all glass with large double doors leading to a grand terrace.
I would also like to comment on the service. I don’t think I have ever seen such an attentive team of servers at a buffet before. Prompt refills and removal of dishes. I also would like to compliment Marsha, our server. Thanks from me as well.
Forgot to mention the price. It is $19.99 per person drink included.
MCL has been around since 1950. It started in Indianapolis and now has several locations in Indiana, Ohio and even Illinois. They pride themselves on scratch made comfort food and homemade pies.
The menus vary slightly from place to place but they all have a Blue Plate special and a Mayfield’s Value Plate. That is reduced portion of protein with 2 small sides and bread for $6.99. It used to be called the Jack Benny Plate. That is what we ordered. Fried chicken for Pat and Roast beef for me.
I honestly don’t recall Pat ever suggesting this joint but then he also thinks a lunch of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy with a huge roll is healthy eating. If I did give him some push back I probably had a reason at the time. Maybe I thought they had enough public exposure that they didn’t need our little bit of recognition. They are just as well-known now but we are running low on joints to go to, that is why I thought of MCL for this weeks lunch. So feel free to offer suggestions we are always looking. We don’t do dinner and nothing too “fancy” please as it may scare Pat off.
This was a great little plate of food. The meat was tender the taters were creamy and the beans were soft, the way I like them. I got a couple of Parkerhouse style rolls but no butter.
Pat and I both opted for a third side. For me it was spinach.
I enjoy spinach as much as any green. Our bus person Heather brought me some vinegar for the spinach and some horse-radish for the beef so the service at this cafeteria is as good as what you would expect from a full service restaurant. Better than some.
This is my pecan pie. Thick and sweet with a very good crust. On Thursday they offer a slice of pie for 99 cents. How is that for motivation to visit? I am sure most who read this are familiar with the MCL Brand. They are still doing what they have done for 68 years. Putting out splendid meals and great pies. Pleasant folks to have a meal with.
About 4 years ago Pat and I had lunch here. We both enjoyed it very much. I haven’t had an occasion to go to that part of town until today. Recently my friend Joey wanted to know if I wanted to join her and the family for Linner. ( her word). I promptly accepted and she asked where we should go. I sent her links to 5 different places and the entire family decided on His Place.
Joey is a turkey Manhattan junkie so that is what she ordered.
Her daughters ordered a pulled pork sandwich with mac and cheese and potato salad and a breaded chicken sandwich with fries.
Jason ( AKA The Mister or Jake ) opted for sliced brisket with 2 sides. For some inexplicable reason I did not take a picture. Luckily for me everyone enjoyed their meals.
Last time I had ribs. This time I tried the rib tips with greens and Coleslaw. Everything was excellent. The tips were full of flavor and wonderfully tender. They could be the best tips I have eaten.
The portions are lavish. Everyone had food to take home. It was an excellent lunch. I really enjoy sharing a meal with Joey and her family. They are great conversationalist and have a real appreciation for good food. A really nice family.
So His Place is still putting out good food and well worth the trip. The entrees are in the $11 to $12 range and come with 2 sides and bread. The sandwiches are about 8 bucks.
If you haven’t been there you really should go.
White gravy on a white platter doesn’t give much contrast does it.
I wanted something more lunch like so I decided on liver and onions. The server convinced me that the senior meal was the way to go and she was absolutely correct. A very nice portion of meat with potato and vegetable. Plus a salad or soup all for $7.
The salad was quite respectable not to the Sahm’s standard but sufficient for its purpose.
The potatoes and gravy were probably not made from scratch but they fulfilled their purpose more than adequately. These were merely the opening acts before the main event. The liver and onions. I order liver any time I see it on the menu. I like it and it is good for you. My ideal plate is fully carmelized onion and a nice slab of liver more medium rare than medium.
This plate got one out of two. The onions were nicely done but the liver was a bit more than medium. However it still retained a moistness that some joints fail to meet. It also was a beautiful piece. Not one bit of vein. It was all soft edible meat. So I realized maybe my quest for a “perfect” plate of liver might fail not because of the restaurant but me. That is except for the joints that turn it into shoe leather. That’s entirely on them. You meed a thick slice to get a mid rare finish and that seems hard to find.
Overall I enjoyed my $7 lunch. I know Pat will be back but I don’t ride so I don’t think I will make a return trip, but if I am in the area I know where I can get a good meal.
This is a little place. A place folks like to call a hole in the hole or a dive bar. None of these are meant to disrespect they are merely meant to describe an old school bar. A place that has no pretense of being a hang out for hipsters or a gastropub. It is a joint that has bar food and proud of it. It is a joint where the owner serves your beer and cooks your food. It is a bar from my youth.
They don’t have much of an electronic foot print. I should have made a copy of their menu. Their menu is small and basic. The usual range of sandwiches you might find in a small bar around here and they are all in the $6 to $7 range. The first thing we ordered was an app of clam strips. You don’t see these very often. They come with a nice homemade cocktail sauce and are worth doing again.
I was really torn between meatloaf and Sloppy Joe; both are made by the owner and I am a sucker for either. I finally opted for a meatloaf sandwich on a bun. I could have gotten it on bread; toast even. That is how accommodating the owner is.
The meatloaf was nicely done. A great texture, neither too dense or loose. It also had a great beef flavor. You didn’t taste a bunch of non-meat additives. This ranks with the best I have had.
Pat and I both enjoyed our lunch immensely. I want to go back and try the Sloppy Joe. As for the service it was wonderful. I never got the owner’s name but she is incredible. She remembers what the regulars drink and eat and she is a first class Hostess. Keep this hole in the wall in mind when you go see the Colts or just drop in if you are in the area. I think you will like it.
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.
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.
This place has been home to eating establishments for probably 40 years. So three joints in about 40 years is well above the average life span. Of course I don’t have any idea how many years; if any the property set vacant.
It is an oddly shaped building that reminds me of a Gazebo. I should have taken some outdoor shots but didn’t. Their menu has a few surprises on it but it is mostly the predictable Hoosier seafood.
The new owner is a retired LEO from California so we had a good time talking with the man. Being gun enthusiasts we talked both guns and gun ranges with him. He was born in Indy and raised in this neighborhood and he wants to do his part in its revitalization.
Most of their fish are available fried, grilled or blackened. Also their meals come with hushpuppies but they only give up two per meal. I ordered a catfish meal for $10.99 with the fish blackened and for my 2 sides I opted for coleslaw and an extra side of hushpuppies.
Even with an additional side I only got 6 pups. That is unfortunate. Joints around here are so frugal when it comes to giving out pups. The fish was pretty good. It wasn’t truly blackened; in the traditional sense of the term. It was cooked on a griddle with some Cajun seasoning. The fillets were probably about 4 ounces each which give you a decent size meal. The coleslaw was sweet and creamy which I like. Overall I liked my meal. On any return trips I am trying their fried fish. They use a batter with a touch of cornmeal in it. That sounds interesting.
Don’t let the container size deceive you. Both of these containers hold a good 4 ounce portion. An amount I think is adequate for a meal. His whole meal was $14.99, which I thought was high, but shrimp is always expensive when you eat out. That is why I prepare shrimp at home.
Overall this is a good choice for your seafood fix. I believe they have $7.99 specials for lunch featuring a sandwich, fries and a drink. Which is definitely competitive with the arches.
Why do we have this blog? I am sure some folks ask that. It is really simple. We are two old friends that enjoy having lunch together, and an occasional Adult beverage. When I retired from the Restaurant Biz my old friend Pat and I decided to have lunch every week and BS about the past. After a few weeks we decided that we needed to share our experiences with people. Actually we bring some unique experiences to the table. I spent several years “touring” the south-west and old Mexico. I also spent a tour in Las Vegas. That is where I went to Culinary School; UNLV. After Vegas I opened a few joints in New Mexico, so I think I have an understanding of what it takes to be an owner/ operator. As for Pat he is very analytical and has pretty good food instincts. So we hope you enjoy our posts. More importantly we hope you find a place you want to go to and break that chain habit of eating
In the 21st Century there is probably more Culinary schools than ever before. I know more High Schools now have culinary programs. To the Nines is the student run restaurant for Center Grove schools. Way out in the country ( my perspective) down in Johnson County. When we decided to go we learned that they have buffets on Fridays and prix fixe meals on Tuesday. Since Tuesday wasn’t an option for us I made reservations for their “Lunch for Brunch” buffet.
As the man said we had no idea that there was a 50 % discounts for seniors. The students did a good job of setting up and refilling the buffet. Refilling chafing dishes can be tricky, especially with an endless line of eaters.
They offered the usual fare of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and biscuits with gravy. They also offered a French Toast bake and a Breakfast Casserole. I passed on both.
They make the biscuits and pastries from scratch. The biscuits were as good as any I have had at a restaurant service. Same with the Cinnamon roll. The gravy was good not great. But that is the same for most joints that offer it. Overall the students did a very nice job. I would like to go back for the fixed meal. Even though it is a long drive.
Sometimes Pat and I like to change things up and do breakfast instead of lunch. Usually when Pat has something else to do on Wednesday afternoon. Such was the case this Wednesday.
This place has only been open for 4 months. It is in a building that used to house a Mexican restaurant and you can tell from the hand painted murals on the walls. Their breakfast menu is pretty standard but I thought the prices a bit lower than most joints. Which is a good thing. I went all in on their Sunshine Breakfast platter for $8.99. It was 2 bacon, 2 sausage links, 2 pieces of ham, hashbrown potatoes and 2 eggs your call. Plus a choice of pancakes or toast. I couldn’t resist the siren call of pancakes so I ordered my eggs scrambled. I mean why have all that egg yolk without toast to mop it up.
Everything was very nicely done. The shredded potatoes were crisp, as was the bacon. I especially like the slight “char” on the ham from the griddle.
The pancakes were light and fluffy, not exceptional, but good and they went well with the salty meats.
So we had a very nice breakfast, relatively cheap. As Pat said there isn’t any foo foo stuff on their menu just good solid food. Well worth trying.