eating indie in indy

pub grub

Monkey Business 5055 S Dearborn Street

Pat picked this place. He learned of it from his cousin, who is a regular. That is one of the interesting things about taverns. Their regulars usually visit more often than a regular at a dinner house. When you go to a dinner house you go to eat. Same can be said for a lunch place. When you visit a tavern you can eat or drink. Taverns also have a bunch more appetizers than a  restaurant. So the occasions to go to a tavern are more numerous. Pat mentioned that this joint was previously named Harry C’s. I have never heard of that place either.

We started out with some fried pepper jack cheese cubes. For some reason I neglected to take a picture. These little things were very good. Lightly breaded and cooked perfectly. I was really surprised that they weren’t hand-made in the kitchen. I have had these before and they weren’t nearly as good.

Pat didn’t write about what he had for lunch. I guess he was still thinking of his prime rib dinner. He had a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato for $6. I guess he liked it. I mean it is really hard to mess up a grilled cheese sandwich.

They offer a fish and chips platter with a choice of walleye or catfish for $7.50. Either fish will get you fries, coleslaw and tarter sauce. I opted for walleye, because it is a good white fish and you don’t see it around too often.

I liked it. It was a good portion of fish and it had  very tasty breading, Also the coleslaw was house-made and the amount of fries they give you is reasonable. Some places think it is necessary to serve up more french fries than 1 human can eat. I would like to see them offer an extra piece of fish for an up-charge. I could have handled another piece of walleye. On Fridays they offer an all you can eat fish and chips for 12.95. I think that is the price.

I like this little place. Good food and great prices. For the bonus their special that day was $2 Domestic bottles. They offer several draft beers and a  Craft brew cost $5. If I lived closer I would try that Prime Rib dinner myself


Vern’s Place 2322 E. Washington Street

The sign pretty much says it all. It is a nondescript block building that would be easy to miss. However when you go inside it’s a whole different story. Inside is a clean and well put together bar. Pool tables in the front and electronic Dart machines in the back. It is like a shotgun house. Stand at the front door and you will pretty much see it all.

Their menu is as straight forward as the building. A few common appetizers and sandwiches and of course pizza. As an added bonus they offer breakfast. If you haven’t eaten breakfast in a bar at least once in your life you are missing out.

I opted for biscuits and gravy. A full order with fried potatoes is $4.99. I added 2 eggs for $2 and a side of 3 pieces of bacon for 3 bucks. So for $10, the price of a burger in some joints, I got a huge breakfast.

The gravy wasn’t as good as Olly’s but the biscuit was excellent and the potatoes were wonderful as well. You can tell from the picture the potatoes were nicely browned and appropriately crunchy. The eggs burst as they were being plated and the kitchen apologized. I thought that was sweet. Mixing the yolk in with the gravy was my goal. Nicely done.

Pat decided on a lunch type meal A tenderloin.

I don’t know if it shows up in the picture but they batter and fry their tenderloin. I have never eaten a battered tenderloin before.

Now no meal at a bar would be complete without a bit of day drinking.

So don’t let the facade fool you. Inside you will find pleasant service and good food at a good price. They open at 11 during the week and are closed on Tuesday. They start at 8 AM on weekends and they have their own lot.


The Whistle Stop Inn 375 S. Illinois Street

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.


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