eating indie in indy

pub grub

Whit’s Inn 1020 N. U.S Highway 31

Well as the man said this week is Tenderloin week and several bars and restaurants chose to participate. Of the few we had never been to this joint appeared to be the most interesting.  It is a neighborhood dive. The sort of place that draws the same crowd with karaoke on Wednesday night and live music on weekends. As a matter of fact Henry Lee Summers played there a while back. If you recognize that name you are probably over 50 and from Indiana. If you don’t never mind.

One thing we did not consider was the smoking. In Marion County smoking is no longer allowed in public places in Johnson County its smoke em if you got em. It wasn’t as off-putting as I thought it would be. The aroma was present it just wasn’t so bad that it ruined my visit. However as Pat said if I came back it would be to sit outside.

This place hand cuts the tenderloin and then cubes them in a cuber before they bread them by hand. So the sandwich is legit I just wasn’t in the mood for a hunk of fried meat. Their menu is small and predictable and nothing really jumped up and said “pick me”. I decided on a double bacon cheese burger; 86 the bun and garden. I wanted just the meat.

It was nothing spectacular. Two half pound beef patties topped with cheese and 2 nice slices of bacon. To me they were over cooked. I understand most joints are leery of not following Board of Health guide lines but I think 160 degrees is allowable. No matter; it was meat and it was filling.

Like most bars this joint has a Golden Tee golf machine and next to it is the coolest cocktail table.

Pretty neat isn’t it.

I enjoyed my self because the folks were friendly ( small Indiana town). As a matter of fact we met a fellow named Tom who worked for the city of Greenwood and has for 40 years. He was one year from retirement and on vacation. He decided that we were such nice guys that he had to buy us lunch. That was especially nice. If you are in the Franklin area and want a cold beer and a bite and you don’t mind smoke check out Whit’s Inn.

Thanks again Tom; enjoy your vacation.
Whit's Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The Long Acre Bar and Grill 4813 South Madison Avenue

One more bit of trivia about the Long Acre. Back in the day it was owned by a local celebrity D.J. Jimmy Mattis, AKA The Dog. While he was the proprietor he worked on a beef stew recipe in trying to replicate John’s Famous Stew. The Dog gave the recipe to the new owner; Sonley and a young lady named Shannon made a batch. Pat learned this on Monday when he did a bit of recon on the joint. He was also told that it had too many chiles in it. So we had to try some just to see for ourselves.

It was a pretty good bowl of stew and a close match to John’s. However John’s was a tomato base and this wasn’t. In either event it was a good stew and it wasn’t too hot.

Their menu is standard bar fare, and they offer daily specials. The special today was salmon patties with a choice of fries or onion rings for $7.95. It also came with coleslaw.

Here is the Coleslaw

As you can see I opted for the rings. They were your pretty standard IQF ring but they were pretty tasty and actually were solid onion rings. The salmon patties were pretty tasty as well just a bit flatter than what I am accustom to.

So the Long Acre is back in business. Service is great. Shannon waited on us. The same Shannon that made the stew. She also made the salmon patties. The domestic drafts are only $2.25 and are super cold. Pat’s sandwich was $7.95 and our “cup” of soup was $3.95. So you can’t complain about the prices. They even have a working fireplace in the dining room. I would be back on a regular basis but it is too far for me to drive. But I will be back.

 


Billy O’Neal’s Irish Pub 7445 W. 10th. Street

As tempted as I was by Pat’s Fish I decided on a burger. As matter of fact I ordered a double. Word of warning. Stay with a single, the double is a lot of food. They cook their burgers on a flat top so the patties are smashed and crisp; reminiscent of those greasy burgers served at drug store lunch counters.

Cheese comes with the burger but the bacon is $.99. It was an awfully good burger and the slaw was excellent as well. Creamy and sweet. I manage to eat all the meat but I didn’t eat all the bread. I was so full I couldn’t even drink a beer afterwards. I may make a point of coming back. If I do it will be to try the fish and chips.

Although that burger sure looks good. If another one of their smashed burgers is in my future it will be a single.
Billy O'Neal's Pub & Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The Thirsty Turtle 2949 S. Meridian St.

I know. Another bar. We have been going to several of these lately because we can’t find any Independent lunch joint that we haven’t already been to. I love bars, taverns, saloons; what ever you want to call them but sometimes we want something different. Actually we came here by a happy accident. The joint we were going to visit had abruptly changed their hours and stopped serving lunch during the week. The Thirsty Turtle was a place I have been by a few times and never took the time to stop.

This day they were having a very busy lunch. They were selling 50 cent wings, or maybe it was wings for a quarter. They do a wing special on Wednesday and Thursday, 50 cents one day 25 on the other. Either way it was crazy. Especially since the kitchen staff consisted of one young woman. I sat at the end of the bar and was able to see all the action in the kitchen. The work is strong in this one. She did an outstanding job and I had a grand time watching.

I wasn’t in a burger mood so I opted for catfish. I decided on “blackened” for two reasons. First I didn’t want to compound the kitchen’s fryer load. Also I was curious to see how they did it.

They had a nifty little stove and griddle combo featuring a 4 eyed stove and oven as well as the flat top. So the fish could have been prepared in a skillet or on the griddle. As you can see from the color of the fish it wasn’t really blackened. It was cooked on the flat top and seasoned with a “cajun” spice. It was still nicely done and I liked it.

I really enjoyed our lunch. It was nice to see some real kitchen work. It has been a while. It isn’t close to me but I would like to go just because the people are just so darn nice. Oh and the prices are fantastic. The food totaled $15 and my Lite bottles were 2 bucks and Pat’s Rolling Rock was $3. You won’t find that Downtown.
Thirsty Turtle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Fireman’s Raceway Pub 9104 Crawfordsville Road.

This joint is a first for us.  The food is cooked to order, but with pre- made product. They use a frozen crust and a ready-made sauce for the pizza. The pizza product comes from a well know purveyor that sells a good product. They also use an independent restaurant supply for the rest of their inventory.

We learned of this joint recently after visiting Jimbo’s BBQ. Actually this was where we heard of Soul Bear’s. The hook to us was the fact they were just blocks from the BBQ and they offered $1 domestic bottles on Wednesday. As for the reason we decided to eat here was solely because of Danielle. She waits tables, tends bar and cooks the food all with an amazing amount of energy and humor. She told us she wanted to go to a Culinary School but was having second thoughts. Her attitude about cooking and tending to the customers is very refreshing. She does everything to the best of her ability which is very exciting to see. That is why we opted to have lunch here. There are several joints that have one person doing it all. Serving drinks and cooking food and they are all independently owned and they deserve some attention as well as a Gastropub.

Staying with the “sausage” motif I opted for a corn dog as my app.

It was pretty dark in the bar so my pictures are less that stellar. For my “main dish” I chose a Stromboli. As Danielle explained it to me she prepares the sandwich the same as a deluxe pizza. Ground meat, sauce, peppers,onions, mushrooms, pepperoni and cheese all on a toasted Hoagie bun. All of the pizza product comes from Delco Foods, a well know supplier of Italian food products. This sandwich was a big hit. The bun was exceptional and the toast was just right. It hit all the right notes and went down quickly. For $6 it was a bargain.

You don’t always need scratch made food to have a good meal. Good product and good preparation go a long way in making a joint shine.
Firemen's Raceway Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Dugout Bar 621 Virginia Ave.

On a rainy day there is just something about an old bar that draws me. We decided to do lunch on Monday instead of Wednesday this week. Since it was rainy we came here. Also since it was raining I forgot to take an outside shot. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by both the bartender and 2 guys sitting at the bar. That is always a good sign. We started off with some breaded mushrooms for $7.95. They offer a choice of 3 dippers, which is unique. Marinara as well as cocktail and ranch.

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They tasted pretty good. I have had a few better. I couldn’t place the breading. Had I know that the Head Food Dude was sitting at the bar with us I would have asked. By the time we were introduced the mushrooms were gone and so was the question.

After a long weekend of tryptophan, turkey and carbs Pat and I both craved a burger. We opted for a bacon cheeseburger for $8.75.

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The only difference in our orders was Pat wanted pepperjack cheese and pickle only. I opted for Swiss with pickle and onion. I asked our bartender if they used red or white onion. I can tolerate red onion in a salad but not a burger. Yes I can be finicky. She told me I could have either one. Now that is service.

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The burger was tasty, the pickles were crisp, the onions crunchy and the Brioche bun was beautiful. It was a very nice sandwich and they didn’t scrimp on the bacon; 3 strips.

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As we entered we were informed of the lunch specials. A Cajun seasoned pork tenderloin and a blackened salmon Etouffee. Normally I would have jumped on the fish but as I said I was craving  red meat. As we chatted with the 2 fellows sitting at the bar I discovered that their current chef had worked at Bourbon Distillery around the time Pat and I went there. If that is the case then he was responsible for my blacked trout with Etouffee that I had that day. The dish was excellent. So this just gives me an added incentive to return and try one of his fish dishes.

So we have an old bar with friendly patrons, excellent service and great food. On and the prices are reasonable. They even offer up great beer specials. PBR and Killian Red for $2.50 per pint. I wish I could remember our server/ bartender’s name. She did a terrific job. So I’ll be back with or with the rain.

Dugout Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The Kitley Inn 825 S. Kitley Ave.

Yes we went to the Kitley Inn. Laugh if you want but it is a piece Of Indianapolis History. It opened across the street from The Kitley Speedrome in 1946 and has been a viable joint ever since. Now the Speedrome is the oldest operating Figure 8 track in the US and is considered to be the first. I remember taking my boys there for races back in the 70’s. Great times.

Last week,after lunch at Tie Dyed Grill we decided to travel 2.1 miles South to check out the Kitley Inn.since neither of us had ever been there before. What we discovered was an old school bar with old school pricing and friendly customers. Our bar tender/ server; Nancy was a delight. Gracious and efficient she made us feel welcome. There was a handful of regulars sitting at a table playing a bowling game and drinking beer who welcomed us as we entered. Furthermore they told us goodbye and even remarked that it was a pleasure to have met us. I go out a bit and I never experience that in some other parts of the city. I think that,plus Nancy, was what prompted us to go back today for lunch

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Now this is a bar with bar food. They offer scratch made specials, but the most of the food they offer is from Sysco. The appetizers are an IQF product, with the possible exception of one. The jalapeno stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon. I neglected to ask about that one. We ordered some fried mushrooms for $5.99. They are what you might expect from Sysco. Decent and nicely prepared.

 

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Per Nancy’s recommendation Pat opted for a mushroom pizza. A 7 inch cheese is $6.99 with toppings an extra buck.

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Well Pat was partly correct. This joint is older than us by 4 years. I think all 3 of us are holding up pretty well.

I decided on a shroom burger for $6.99,and for a $1 up charge I got (drum roll) tater tots. A whole bunch of tater tots. When we got are app. we were given both Ranch dressing and marinara sauce. I kept the Ranch for the tots. Not too bad.

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That is a whole lot of tater tots for a buck. The only reason I was able to finish them was Pat “helped” me. It was really a pretty good lunch. The burger was a standard pre-made patty, slacked in advance and then cooked to order. Very common practice in most bars. The unique aspect of this joint is the large bun with a very nice char. As a matter of fact it could have used some more. Also it offered an abundance of shrooms and a nice cheese cover.

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So if you want “scratch cooking” if it’s not the specials you ain’t gonna’ get it. If you want to have a few beers or a few cocktails and maybe meet some new friends then this is the place. If you want to grab a bite after a race, well this is the place. I mean,after all it has been the place for over 65 years.
Kitley Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Bearcats Restaurant 1055 N. Senate Ave. (Revisit)

Pat and I had lunch here in July 2013. We heard sometime back that the joint had changed owners and quite a few changes were made. I also heard that they were going to start corning their own brisket. Before they bought raw corned beef and cooked it off in-house. I haven’t heard any more about it so we decided to go today. As I understand it the fellow that originally opened the Living Room Lounge is the new owner. At the Lounge he perfected a technique to cook a burger on a griddle that makes it crispy on the outside yet tender and moist on the inside. Pat remember that and he was jonesin’ for a burger.

The last time we were here the place had a definite industrial vibe, concrete floors the whole bit. Now they have a wood floor. They also had mushrooms. The menu offered fresh breaded mushrooms both times. The last time they were out, not this time.

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Now these suckers were hot, fresh and delicious. An excellent appetizer.

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They had all the lunch specials typed out in the caddie on each table so you knew as soon as you sat down what the specials were. I opted for the Mahi burger. I really didn’t know what to expect. Our server wasn’t sure how to describe it. She did know they came in frozen and were good. As it turned out it was a round cutout of a fillet. It wasn’t chopped as you might expect from a sandwich called a burger. However it was a solid piece of fish and it was really pretty good. Of course this “burger” begs the question. What do they do with the rest of the fish? Don’t know. I liked this one and I really liked the sweet potato waffle fries it came with.

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The special had cheese choice so I went with swiss. I probably should have gone with no cheese. The swiss was too mild to bring much to the table.

So Pat and I both think this new joint is an improvement over the old one. Better looking, interesting specials and a much friendlier atmosphere.

Bearcats Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Sawmill Saloon 1313 N. Sherman Drive

Okay. Normally our lunch day is Thursday. Pat decided that we would go “rogue” today and hit some joint that we would never normally consider. I decided to hit a joint I have noticed on the “net” that is located in Brightwood. This is a working class neighborhood that some folks call the hood. I grew up in that neighborhood. So actually I was rather excited to check out the new Brightwood.

The building has been around for a long time. For years it was called the Bungalow. A joint noted for its catfish dinners and bar service. I had been there a few times 35 years ago. My dad went there on a few occasions. Actually I forgot about it until I saw an entry on Urbanspoon. From what I recently discovered the Sawmill has been opened for quite a while. It was named after the veneer factory across the street. That particular factory has been around since I was a kid.

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The joint has not changed much in the last few years. A long bar, several tables and a rather cool back bar.

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Their menu is unpretentious and very Hoosier. I didn’t bring my scanner so I was not able to present the menu. Now that is a bummer. I always pride myself on the fact that I can usually present a joint’s menu for everyone to see. This time my camera was not up to the task.

They make their own fries, and onion rings. They also hand cut and pound out the pork loins for breading. Normally I try to avoid breaded and fried food. I am supposed to eat a Heart Healthy diet. However, sometimes a man needs some fried meat.

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Their version of the Hoosier staple was a great example of a simply good sandwich. It was not as intricate as some places. It was simply a nice hunk of pork that was hand pounded and breaded and fried. It wasn’t a great BT by any standard. It was a good one. It was tender. The breading was a little light.

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The fries were nice. They cut them in-house. I don’t think they double fry them. Which I think is how it should be. In either event they really should season the bad boys. Their fries are pretty good. They just need some cojones. One thing I enjoyed was that they put the tenderloin on toast. Not the obligatory Texas toast, on a flat top,but white bread toast from a toaster, I liked the crunch.

The previous day the Sawmill had a hog roast. So they ran their pulled pork sandwich as a lunch special.

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I think I agree with Pat’s assessment. If I found myself in the neighborhood I would go again. However Brightwood is hardly a destination;anymore. The food is tasty,the beer is cold and the new owner; Rhonda is a delight. So should you find yourself on Sherman Drive by all means pop in. For two sandwiches and fries the tab came to under 14 bucks. And a domestic bottle will cost you $2.75. So I think it was a good afternoon in the neighborhood.
Sawmill Saloon on Urbanspoon


Manley’s Irish Mutt -7041 East Tenth Street

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Saloons…Bars…Taverns no matter what term you use Manley’s is a perfect example of one. A  menu heavy on appetizers and with certain must have, or you’re not a real bar, sandwiches. Namely a breaded tenderloin, a burger, some type of chicken and roast beef, or steak. All bars have these. Some do them poorly. Some do them well and in the case of the Mutt some do them extremely well.

We started off with some mushrooms. You could tell from the uniform size that they were probably not made in-house. However at first bite you might think they were hand battered and then breaded back in the kitchen. They were excellent. Very crisp on the outside and almost liquid on the inside. Sort of like a savory mushroom cordial.

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As you can see I nearly forgot to take the picture. That stain at the top of the basket isn’t grease. I’m not sure what it is. These ‘shrums were not at all greasy.

The lunch special that day was a breaded tenderloin, for $6.99. Believe it or not I really try to watch my fried food intake; so I took a pass. Not Patrick.

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I completely forgot to take any pictures until Pat was finished and I was half done. Luckily a guy next to us at the bar ordered one, and he was kind enough to let me use his plate as a stand in.

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I ordered a Cuban Sandwich. Jerk seasoned pork,ham, pickle and swiss cheese on a grilled hoagie. The fillings are pretty much the same at most places around here the only question is the pork and the bread. This version was $6.99 and the coleslaw was an additional $1.99. The sandwich was excellent. From the spicy tenderloin through the ham and pickle to the swiss cheese it was a complete hit for me. So very tender. All the components represented themselves in tasty fashion and the melding of the 4 created another layer of taste. As for the coleslaw it turned out to be a good complement to the sandwich. Creamy and sweet.

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Pat thought I should have tidied the plate up before taking the shot. Obviously I thought otherwise. I think Pat was right.

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They have the usual selection of adult beverage. A few crafts for $4 and more Irish whiskeys than I have seen in one joint in my life. And they sell them for 4 bucks on Saturdays. I must say it is refreshing to see a back bar that doesn’t have 25 different vodkas.Manley's Irish Mutt on Urbanspoonhttps://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=2342&preview=true