eating indie in indy

taverns and stuff

CHECKERED FLAG TAVERN 5725 W. Morris St.

Well we are finally back. Marion County is a few weeks behind the rest of the state so at the time we went here only out door dining was “allowed”. We have been here before and knew it was a great joint to visit. Sadly a few joints are not coming back and a few new ones will never open.

We thought this joint had the best breaded mushrooms in town so we ordered some. Unfortunately they were out so we opted for cheese curds. As you can imagine they were delicious. Just what you would expect for fried cheese.

These were on special for $8.45. They called them loaded. They weren’t really loaded but they had a bunch of diced pepadew peppers scattered all over. They were an excellent start, especially paired with a Lift Off IPA.

Pat wanted some pulled pork and this place does it right. He got a huge sandwich with a mountain of fries for 9 bucks and for an extra $1.25 he got coleslaw.

I had my eyes on their Big Pig sandwich. That is a pile of pulled pork on a slice of grilled ham and then topped with a pile of crisp bacon all on a brioche bun. Served with fries and a side of BBQ sauce. This pig feast was less than $11.

This is one beautifu, sandwich.

Interestingly enough this was the same sandwich I got here about 3 years ago. It does stand the test of time so that makes it a Classic. A classic of pork deliciousness.

Well we are now cleared to live our lives as close as we can to as it was before so I think we ought to take advantage of it and get out to lunch with a friend.


Barringer’s Tavern 2535 S. Meridian Street

Yep this joint has been around for a long time. We were here some years back, before we started the blog. I remember it well because our bartender was telling us about the pink 38 that her father bought her for her 21st Birthday. Don’t remember what I ate but I remember her.

They offered a second special that day for $6.95. A bowl of chili and a grilled cheese sandwich. I was tempted but opted for fish and chips for $8,25

Actually I was impressed with both the quality of the product and the execution of the dish. I was also impressed with their portion control. Some joints think tossing more fries on a plate increases the value of the dish when all it does is increase costs. Barringer’s served about 6 ounces of cod loin that was perfectly battered and fried along with a reasonable amount of waffle fries. The fries were excellent as well. I don’t think I have had waffle fries as good as these, They were thick and meaty hunks of potato that I would love to eat again.

I was fed well for 8 bucks. My only criticism is the tarter sauce was so so and there was a disconnect between the ordering and the kitchen. Pat’s special was an immediate so it took minimal time to put out. My lunch required some time to prepare and Pat’s food came out first by several minutes. I think the newness of the POS system was the problem. Still doesn’t detract from the good food and the good value of my lunch, They offer craft beer on draft as well as the more pedestrian domestics. Their special was Busch Light drafts for $1.50. That may not be a really good brew but it was cold and it was beer. So they may no longer offer turtle soup or pigs feet but Barringer’s is back in business.


Next Door Eatery 4573 N. College Ave.


This place opened less than 2 years ago by Kimbal Musk the brother of Elon Musk of Tesla fame. It was the curiosity that prompted me to eat here. Musk owns a restaurant group that started in Colorado in 2004. Another brand is Hedge Row. He opened one of those on Mass Ave. prior to the opening of Next Door.

The building used to be a Double Eight grocery. A local chain that closed a few years back. It was started in the 50’s as Seven Eleven. Long before that convenience store chain started. A few years back our local chain changed its name. As a homage to a by gone era Musk incorporated a sign into their interior design.

Several Indianapolis restaurants are currently running a Devour promotion. That is when participating restaurants serve a special meal or discounted normal menu items. Next Door was offering 3 courses for $16.95. That was my original plan but I changed my mind at the last minute. I thought a 3 course lunch was too much and I was drawn to their Pineapple Express burger. That would be a Black Angus burger from local Fisher Farms on a toasted bum with fresh grilled pineapple, bacon, swiss cheese and Siracha honey.

All of their burgers and sandwiches come with chips and a “simple salad”.

I really enjoyed my burger. The bun was nicely toasted and they cooked it medium rare as I requested. That combo of sweet pineapple and smoky bacon was really excellent. The burgers are one third pound. With this particular sandwich any thing bigger would be too much.

Although this joint is not Downtown their prices are. A basic burger is $10.95. They also offer a burger that is half ground beef and half crimini mushrooms for $11.95. My Pineapple Express was $13.95. Expensive but tolerable. My Sun King beer was $6.75 and wasn’t even a pint. Across the street Scarlet Lane opened a tap room so if you feel like a couple of beers that is the place to go. I would like to follow up and try their Next Door 50/50. That is their crimini and beef mix burger. All in all I enjoyed the joint. It is attractive and has a great out door space and they cook a very good burger.

https://www.nextdooreatery.com/location/indianapolis/#food


Fat Cat Bar 3015 Lafayette Road.

When we can’t come to a quick agreement on destination we know we can always agree on the ever popular, hardly controversial “dive bar”. Pat, because the food is simple and me because the beer is cheap. This place has been a bar for as long as I can recall. For years it was Bud’s Lounge. Bud’s closed a couple of years ago and Fat Cat moved in. Fat Cat was originally down the street at 38th Street so they have some experience in the bar business.

Their menu is pretty common with a bunch of frozen apps and a few basic sandwiches and pizza. We ordered a side of mushrooms to start our meal off for $5. They were pretty good. Like most things frozen apps are not all the same. Some ARE better than others. These were better than average.

half eaten appetizer

Of course a picture should be taken before you start eating. Makes for a more professional effect.

I was leaning toward their fried catfish dinner but our great bartender told me it goes from $8 to $6.75 on Fridays. Unfortunately they stopped selling them with hush puppies. Their customers weren’t eating them. There is just no accounting for some folks tastes. So I went for the pig in the form of a grilled tenderloin.

This was an exceptional piece of meat. This was no light weight “fritter” this was an 8 oz. slice of pork loin that was pounded out and cooked really well on a flat top. Tender and moist with good flavor and just the right amount of chew.

So we really enjoyed this little place. It had good food, exceptional service and Domestic bottles were a buck and a half. So for 2 sandwiches, one order of mushrooms and three beers our tab was $25; with tax. That is a value. I will be back on a Friday and try their catfish special; even without puppies.


Jail Bird 4022 Shelby Street

This is a mural on the inside wall of the bar
This on the outside wall of the bar

When you see the inside mural the first thing you notice is the little jail bird in the center. He seems to glow or have a light surrounding him. Don’t worry you have not been over served nor is it an epiphany. It is just painted with a window behind it. That is the bottom picture. The one on the outside wall. I thought it was pretty clever. Clever is a good word if you just wanted one word to describe this joint.

As I understand it this place was opened by the same fellow that opened Thunderbird, which is just a few miles North, also on Shelby. Thunderbird is a more sophisticated joint. More sophisticated in that both food and cocktail menus are more complex. One thing they have in common is. I believe what ever you order it will be expertly prepared and tasty.

You can see the kitchen from our position at the bar so I was able to see the cook take ball of ground meat, place it on the flat top and smash it down. Sort of like the Culver’s commercial. So, yeah they are “old school” burgers.

They don’t prepare their sides in house. The fries, etc come in frozen. Which is fine with me. Half the time frozen fries and rings are as good or better than “house made”. That holds true for mozzarella sticks as well. Their sandwiches are served ala carte. I ordered a meat loaf sandwich with a side of mozzarella sticks.

This was one great sandwich. Their meat loaf is simple and good. Nothing fancy. A nice thick slice heated on the flat top, topped with an onion ring and a chipotle ketchup. All put together on a lovely toasted Brioche bun. The mozz sticks were as good as they ever were and they serve them with a very nice house made marinara sauce,

So Pat and I both really like this spot. If you go for lunch hopefully Morgan will be there to be your server. I can not say enough nice things about her. Pleasant and efficient and she does make a very good Whiskey Sour. Thanks again Morgan.

Here is a link to their menu

https://www.jailbirdindy.com/


Lena’s Sugar Shack 5560 S. Brookville Road

This place is a rare item. A neighborhood bar. Not a Gastropub. A Bar. This whole stretch of road had more when I was young. That was when the International Harvester plant and later Navistar was open across the street. Now the building is gone.

They offer basic bar food at a very reasonable price. They also have specials featuring Domestic bottles for $2 and $2.50. Their half pound burger is only $5.99 with chips. That was what I decided on.

One other thing that is unique with this joint is they have a griddle, fryer and cold table right behind the bar. So all the cooking is done in sight. I bet it is a lot of fun when it is busy. As for my burger it was pretty tasty. Nicely toasted bun with a medium burger built the way I wanted it. Instead of chips I opted for some onion petals. I have never had these before and I really liked them.

The Sugar Shack isn’t too close to me but I intend to go back. Breakfast in a bar is great and their porch is just made for a little day drinking.


Whiskey Business 5220 Southport Road.

Well another tavern. From what I was told by the bartender we had last week this is a joint that scratch makes 90 % of their food. They have 2 locations. This one and one up north on Pendleton Pike.

http://www.whiskeybiz.com/

This spot is clean and nicely done up and offers 25 lunch specials every day for $7.95. They are the same every day so the kitchen doesn’t have to do something new every day. Also for the most part they are regular menu items at a reduced price.

Pat gave me a piece of his tenderloin and it was well seasoned and the meat had a great texture; but it had that unmistakable after taste of old oil in the deep fryer. That is a shame.

When I order I try to get something that I wouldn’t do at home. Because of the time it takes or the mess it would make. In this case it would have been the battered and fried cod sandwich. However I mis-heard Pat and I thought that was what he ordered so I went for the Sloppy Joe with fries.

I have a fondness for Sloppy Joe sandwiches. I know they are hardly a challenging dish but I do enjoy them. What I got yesterday was very good. I can’t say that it did or did not come from a can because I have never knowingly had that canned sauce. I make it from scratch, that is just how I am wired. The only bad thing I can say about my lunch was the fries. They had that same after taste as Pat’s tenderloin.

I am with Pat. I would like to try their $9 steak special but it is too far for me to drive. Overall it was a good lunch but it could have been better.


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


Kruger’s Tavern 323 N. Delaware St.

Well this is another import from Cincinnati, courtesy of the Thunder Dome Restaurant Group. This is the group that controls Eagle and Bakersfield which expanded to Indy recently. Bakersfield in 2013 and The Eagle in 2015. I know this joint barely qualifies as an independent but it is owned by 3 people 2 of which are brothers. They are just hugely successful and are expanding their brand.

https://www.kruegerstavern.com/locations/

This place grinds their own meat for the hamburgers and the basic burger is $9.99. They use 2 patties per burger and cook them on a flat top so I was a bit surprise the meat didn’t have crisper edges.

They also make their own sausages. That is what I opted for.

It was their Italian. Sicilian style sausage, polenta cake, braised fennel and olives, Parmigiano Reggiano

This was an outstanding dish. The sausage had a bit of heat from the Calabrian chiles as did the broth the fennel and olives were braised in. This was almost a perfect meal for me. It featured 2 of my favorite non meat items. Fennel and olives. Add in the pig and “corn bread” and I was as happy as a camel on hump day. They offer 2 other styles of sausage all are $12.

I want to come back and try the other two but it will have to be when it is warmer. When I go downtown I use the bus. I don’t even like driving through our downtown. Parking is always an issue when you go downtown to eat. Same with Krueger’s. All I can say is it is worth the trip.


Mayfair Taproom 2032 E 10th Street.

For many years this section of 10th street was home to several bars. Small one room bars of varying sophistication and reputation. One of the oldest was the Mayfair Tavern. It was characterized by the upside down sign. It had a very interesting history. This article from NUVO does a good job articulating that history and explaining the origins of the New Mayfair Taproom.

https://www.nuvo.net/beerbuzz/beer-buzz-mayfair-taproom-coming-soon/article_21e19fb0-9e88-11e8-b5aa-3b40a1930233.html

I would add charming to that description. I know the word charming and tavern don’t always go together but those lace curtains in the window just seem so damn charming. The building is old and the restoration/remodel was extensive and very well done.

The menu is quite small but it suits the space. To some degree it follows the BRBP in that it has a few Vegan options. I was intrigued by the Shepherds Pie. In was unique in two ways, The mashed potatoes were on the bottom and on top was arugula and HP sauce.

I must admit that my first impression when presented with my lunch was that it was the wrong dish. I had expected a few stems as garnish but I got a whole salad. I enjoyed my pie very much I just am not sure what the arugula brought to it. The potatoes were delicious and the seasoned ground lamb was on point as well. I like arugula. It is in the same family as mustard greens and its slight peppery flavor is always welcome to me. That taste did indeed bring another layer to the dish as did the HP sauce. I also enjoyed the crispness of the raw green. I have to go back and eat it again. I just can’t decide if the greens are best suited on top or as a side minimally dressed. Of course it is not my call and I am over analyzing. That is what I do. I just can’t help it. This is a great new place and I think the old owners of Mayfair Tavern would approve. They do not have a website but you can view their menu on their Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/mayfairtaproom/menu/

 


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.


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.


Imbibe 1105 Shelby Street

More than 7 years ago when we started this Blog we ate at Shelby Street Smokehouse in Fountain Square. At that time it was on one end of a building with End of the Line Public House on the other and a self-described lobby bar in the middle. Imbibe. Now that bar has become a restaurant and the Smokehouse only exists in the form of 2 sandwiches that are on the new joint’s menu. The pulled pork and brisket sandwiches. Since I was not really impressed with my first meeting with the brisket I opted for the pulled pork.

As you can see it is a very healthy portion and the sauce is on the side. This is a very good sandwich. It has a definitely smokiness to it. However I believe a lot of that is enhanced artificially with liquid smoke. No matter it is still a good sandwich. The price is $7.99 side included.

Side Choice: Krinkle Kut Fries, Curly Fries, Beer Battered
Onion Rings, House made Waffle Chips, Creamy Cole
Slaw, House made White Cheddar Mac & Cheese As you can see the side options are many. Also for an extra $1.99 you can get a second side, side salad or cup of soup or chile. Sorry but BBQ is not complete with out cole slaw.

My 2 sides, onion rings and slaw were excellent as well. The slaw was creamy and sweet the rings were crisp. I just wonder if they were truly hand battered in-house. Regardless they were very good.

I believe the pizza is a take away from Side Kicks pizza. A short live pizza joint that occupied the End of the Line space when they vacated.

The  basic price of a 9 inch pie is $7.99 and each topping is $1.29. So all the food pricing seems reasonable. Even their beer prices are inline with most joints in the area. Five to six bucks each. I enjoyed my food very much. It is nice to see potentially empty space occupied. Also Ambrosia is working on a casual Italian restaurant in the area where the Smokehouse was. Now that would be something.


Sahm’s Tavern & Big Lug Tap 435 N. Capitol Ave.

That’s right another Sahm’s. Some might say that reviewing one is like reviewing them all. Well this isn’t Mickey D’s. There may be some commonality in the menu selections, however even these aren’t identical. Since the introduction of Rockstone Pizza; a wood fired pie; you can order pizza at several of their locations.

The base price for a 10 inch pie is $10 with a $1.39 charge for toppings. Pat ordered double mushrooms.

Another thing all the Sahm’s I have been to have in common are outstanding salads. Even the standard side salad is exceptionally well done. I think their secret is they pay attention to each salad they make. They treat them as some thing more than just a side dish. This is quite evident in their entre salads.

This is the Chop Chop Salad. A huge salad loaded with diced bacon, peppadew peppers, capacolla, black olives, blue cheese, pistachios, beets and grape tomatoes. To me the cool thing about this salad is that the greens are tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette and a creamy Italian before the goodies are added. I liked the double dressing and especially liked the greens being dressed in the beginning. That is how salads used to be served. Now this is an epic salad. For an up charge you can gild the Lily by adding steak or chicken. All of their big salads are available as full or half. I got the full for $10. The half is $6.

Another plus for ordering a salad is that you get a slice of their coffee cake. I guess that is your reward for eating your veggies.

It is such a simple confection. A sweet cake with a nut paste in the center and dusted with powdered sugar. So simple yet so good. Another addition to all the Sahm’s is Big Lug Beer. That is the Sahm’s Brewery and has been around 3 or 4 years. I believe they were one of the first beer joints to offer their beer in a glass other than a pint. They still do and it is still a great beer.

 


Books and Brews 6420 Cornell Ave.

This a local chain with about 9 locations with the Mothership up around 96th Street. According to their website franchising may be available so I have no idea how many if any are franchises. The concept is rather novel. All of their places have print book libraries where you can browse and read with your lunch. The books are also available for sale.

https://www.booksnbrews.com/broad-ripple

All of their beers and menu items have literary names and to be honest some are pretty cheesy; but that’s okay. Beer and cheese go well together. Pat ordered off the Special menu and got the Return of the King

In addition to Panini style sandwiches they offer Naan-Fiction. That is their version of pizza. The flat breads can be ordered with choice of sauce and various other toppings. The options are red sauce, BBQ sauce or buttermilk Ranch. I really don’t get the Ranch at all, but I am sure they offer it for a reason.

My piece of Naan-Fiction was called the Wilbur. Pulled pork with mozzarella, cheddar cheese and garlic salt. With that combo I went with BBQ sauce. It was really pretty good. The Naan made a nice crisp crust. The sauce seemed exceptionally sweet but not excessively so. The amounts of pork and cheese were a trifle sparse but all in all not a bad lunch for $9. I would probably do it again, but more than likely I would try one of their other options.

This is a nice little joint. It is North of the Canel. That is the quiet part of the Village. It is also the part with trees in the front. We ate on the porch so it was more like having lunch at a friend’s house. I want to get back and enjoy the quiet and their beer and food again.

 


Ralph’s Great Divide 743 E. New York St.

Another old school joint I haven’t been to in a while. They are noted for their house made pies and creamy potato soup, but you really need to try the ham. The soup comes 3 ways. Plain, Hot Pot Aug (as in Ah Gee) which is covered with cheddar cheese or the Hot Pot Pig. As you can imagine the Pot Pig has bacon and hot pepper cheese.

Going in I knew I needed to save room for pie so I ordered one of their combos. A half a ham sandwich and a cup of Hot Pot Aug soup.

Their pit ham is bourbon glazed so that should get your attention. The result is delicious. It makes for a nice and simple sandwich. As good as the ham was the soup stole the show. It had an excellent consistency and the sharpness of the cheese paired nicely with the subtle richness of the soup. It was a tandem I would definitely enjoy again.

For dessert I opted for a slice of Butterscotch cream pie.

It was every bit as good as it looks. Flaky crust and a rich Mousse like filling. It was definitely worth the calories.

As good as the food was I think the service we received may have been even better. I would like to thank Samantha and Libby for their courtesy and hospitality. Next time I am trying the Hot Pot Pig. I am also sure to have some pie.


Tavern at the Point 401 Mass. Ave.

As you can see the building seems to come to a point. Hence the name.

It is hard to see in this pic but that’s Pat pointing at the sign over the door. It’s a Tavern at the Point sign. Yeah that’s funny.

The place has been gentrified since it was the Old Point. They added a second bar. This one seats 5 bodies and, like a sushi bar, gives a nice view of the kitchen operation, and it was a pretty busy kitchen that day. I had a great time watching.

I decided on a Smoked brisket melt. Horseradish Havarti cheese, candied onion, horseradish sauce and of course brisket. All on Sourdough bread. It was a very formidable sandwich. I always like to order any meal the way the chef or cook has planned it. Most times it is done a certain way for a reason. I was a bit wary of the candied onion but I thought the boldness of the horseradish and the fat from the brisket would keep the sweetness in check. Not quite. I first encountered an “onion marmalade” at a joint I worked in California about 30 years ago and have seen it a few times since then. It is still a practical and popular element to a sandwich but it can overwhelm the other ingredients. This was a very good sandwich that wasn’t bullied too much by the candied onion. I personally would have enjoyed it more with a more pungent horseradish.

Pat and I both had the slaw. It was a slightly sweet vinegar affair that had a big old Southwest spin to it. It was garnish with a bit of cilantro. That was a big old kick in the taste buds. I enjoyed it tremendously and I am going to rip the idea off the next time I make slaw. The sandwiches are in the $12 – $ 13 range and beers are $7. It is Downtown after all. The only negative I have is about the bar stools they are bolted to and floor and do not swivel so they are hard to get it. Other than that this joint is a hit and I will be back.

https://www.tavernatthepoint.com/

Here is our post for the The Old Point Tavern; FIVE years ago. That is a long time.

https://kosherhamandcheese.com/2013/04/24/the-old-point-tavern/


Mikie’s Pub 5135 S. Emerson Ave. (revisit)

We visited this place 4 years ago, I really enjoyed the place but I live too far to enjoy it regulary. The place has changed owners but they have kept the style that I found so compelling the other time. A large menu with an emphasis on all things meat. I understand that they are changing the menu again, removing some items and adding new.

http://www.mikiespub.com/

Their big food special that day was a 6 ounce filet with shrimp scampi, 2 sides and Texas toast for $10.50.

It was as good as the first time I went. A wonderful piece of steak; tender and juicy coupled with a half-dozen 21-25 count shrimp in a garlic and butter sauce. The sides I opted for were a side salad and mushrooms.

The salad was large and the addition of cheese was a nice surprise. The mushrooms were a standard pre breaded type that you can get in most bars.

Pat and I both ordered mushrooms but he ordered coleslaw. They use Grandmas brand which is his favorite. Mine too.

So Mikie’s Pub is definitely a great place to go for food and a few drinks. I really want a joint like this on my side of town.


Basey’s Downtown Bar & Grill 419 S. West Street.

If you’ve gone to either a football game or a baseball game you have probably seen this place. It is close to both Lucas Oil Stadium and Victory Field. So for anyone wanting to grab a bite before a game this would be a logical starting place.

Well as the man said now is time for Savor Downtown. This is another marketing ploy to get folks out to eat more. It is just focused on Downtown restaurants; unlike Devour which covers all of the city.

Basey’s menu has few surprises. It appears that they may make their own Mozzarella sticks but neither of us were hungry enough to find out. One item they offer is grouper. They do it grilled, blackened or deep-fried. I prefer it blackened but so many places just dust the fish in “Cajun” spices and grill it. I got mine just plain grilled and they did a very good job with it.

Some folks have a tendency to over cook fish but this one was cooked just right. I couldn’t eat all the roll because it was very chewy and tough to bite through. Not sure why that would be. Sometimes a microwave will do that to bread, but I couldn’t see any reason to nuke the bread. If I return I can get it on a salad.

You get a choice of side with a sandwich so I ordered coleslaw. Of course. And it was pretty good. It brought a nice crunch to my lunch.

It was a good lunch and the service was solid. There was just one server/bartender working and she was very busy. She had a big party working when we walked in and customers just kept coming. She did a nice job with it all.

I might be back to try the Mozz sticks. I have a thing for Mozz sticks.

Basey's Downtown Grill & Spirits Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


George’s Neighborhood Grill 6935 Lake Plaza Drive.

Without a doubt this is the best looking place we have been to in a long while. Dark wood tables and a massive oblong bar made it a very inviting space. It was also the largest. A barroom dining area as well as 2 other dining rooms. It was pretty obvious that this joint considers Hospitality a serious business.

The menu was pretty serious as well.

http://www.georgesneighborhoodgrill.com/home.aspx

Since Pat had a grilled tenderloin last week he got a breaded one this week for $9.49. A Hoosier can’t get too much pig.

Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup

Since it was a cold and rainy day I was pretty sure I needed some beef, and they have several options. I decided on the 8 ounce open face steak sandwich for $11.49.

It was a very healthy cut and expertly grilled to Medium Rare. I just love a good piece of char-grilled beef; especially on a cold day in February. It is definitely something I would re-order. I also got a cup of soup, for a $1.50 up charge. It was very warming and a good start for a steak lunch.

I am with Pat about this joint. I would love to have it in my neighborhood. However it isn’t so far away  a return trip is out of the question. A lovely environment with great food and service what more could you want?

 

 

George's Neighborhood Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Sahm’s Ale House 1435 E. 86th St.

About three years ago the Sahm’s family opened their first craft brewery, right on the Monon Trail, Big Lug. Shortly after they opened their second Rockstone Pizza next door. I thought a pizza joint was a perfect match to a craft brewery. However after one year they decided to close the pizza joint and turn it into an Alehouse.

I have always been a fan of the way Sahm’s conducts their business. From their side dish offerings to the extensive salad menu and that they still serve a slice of sour cream coffee cake with every salad. These guys know how to run a joint.

I had my eye on their seafood bisque so I was pleased that I could get it as a side; for $1 up charge.

It was a much larger portion than I expected. It was very creamy and had a very good flavor.  Except for the clams you really couldn’t taste any other sea food though.

SEAFOOD BISQUE SOUP

ROASTED SHRIMP, ATLANTIC COD, CLAMS, SEAFOOD STOCK, CREAM, OLD BAY SEASONING, ROASTED GARLIC, TOMATOES

However I would probably order it again and just consider it a fortified clam chowder.

To go with my “bisque” I got a meatball sandwich.

I found this to be the perfect sandwich size and the soft roll the perfect mate to the tender meatballs. It is nice when the bread and filling both separate at the same time. As for the pricing it is as you would expect. My sandwich was $10.99 plus a buck for the soup. Pat’s tenderloin was $11.99, which I thought was pretty steep. However Pat certainly seemed to enjoy it regardless of the cost. Of course they had beer. Big Lug beer as well as the guest kegs. Once again Sahm’s has hit it out of the park. Good food, good beer and good service. Definitely worth a return trip. With or without a bike.

 


The Yard Line 6466 E 82nd Street

We had planned on having lunch at the only Russian restaurant in Indianapolis. It has been around for a while but only open for dinner service. I discovered this week that they had started serving lunch . I was really excited but I have been disappointed before. I looked up back up joints in the area just in case. Well, they changed their hours and reverted back to dinner only. So I told Pat that he had a choice of Indian or American pub. He decided on American Pub.

The cheese curds were very good. They weren’t built-in house but they were tasty. I don’t think much on the menu is house made. Surprisingly enough it is a one person kitchen. Our bartender/cook was the manager ,who was left by herself because the bartender called in sick. That young lady rocked it.

I had wanted to order the Stromboli but since Pat beat me to it I ordered the Roast Beef Panini.

Roast Beef: Panini pressed
roast beef, Horse radish, cream
cheese, banana peppers and
Yard sauce….

It was an interesting sandwich. The meat was deli roast beef, which is a bit dry by itself. The cream cheese and sauce brought a much-needed moistness and the peppers gave the sandwich a nice little hint of spice and acid. Our cook asked how I wanted it toasted; which was a nice touch. Like Pat’s sammie I got a heaping helping of Tater Tots. I took half the tots and half the sandwich home. Both were bargains at $9.

I am with Pat about the joint. Were it closer I would be a regular. For me it wasn’t .the food menu or the expansive draft heads it would be the bartender/server/cook. She was a very capable and charming young lady. As a retired member of the restaurant biz I am glad to see someone young wanting to take up this industry as a profession. She even expressed an interest in going to Culinary School. I thought her excitement for food was great. If you are in the area you really should stop in for a bite and a beverage. I am sorry I didn’t do a proper introduction; so I do not know her name. But drop in and introduce your self.
The Yard Line Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


B&C’s Hideout 7242 W U.S. 52 New Palestine In.

It is tenderloin week in Indianapolis. That means several restaurants, bars and taverns sell tenderloin at a special price. Pat got his pork but it wasn’t in Indy and it didn’t have a special price.

B&C is short for Bonnie and Clyde so the menu is loaded with outlaw references which didn’t appeal to me but I was game. With the image of an outlaw hideout the real building surprised me. I was expecting a rather run down joint with squeaky floors. What I saw was a fancy house, which is close to what it used to be, a realtor. It was far from being a dive it was an attractive and comfortable joint. For the most part it was your typical bar menu but it had a few spins to make it unique.

Our host Jimmie ordered a BLT with a side of Italian slaw. The slaw is a vinegar based slaw similar to what my Mom called a freezer slaw. Jim’s Mom made something similar.

As for me I opted for the Gangster Fish Pieces. That is white fish served deep-fried, blackened or grilled with side choice. Since I didn’t feel like pushing my luck with the blackened I chose battered and deep-fried.

They were delightful. Crisp and fluffy fish nuggets that really hit the spot on this Fall feeling day. I would guess it was pollock since they didn’t call it by name. Cod has a name recognition. Even tilapia has some name recognition so that is why I guess it was pollock. It is an excellent cold water fish suited to frying; it just doesn’t get the respect other fish does.

The pasta salad I asked for was interesting. It was over dressed and the dressing tasted like a Caesar dressing that comes in a jar. It wasn’t to bad but I couldn’t finish it all because of the abundance of dressing. I also tried their “jerk” sauce. It was pretty tasty just too spicy for my old taste buds.

So I know it is out-of-the-way but I think if you get that way it is worth a stop. Our meals were in the $9 range which puts them more in the Downtown Indy range than the New Palestine range, but regardless of geography they were worth it.

B&C's Hideout Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The Tavern 802 S. West Street

Once upon a time there was The Stadium Tavern. It was called that because it is an Andrew Luck football throw from Lucas Oil Stadium; where the Colts play their games. In November 2016 a new set of owners took over and re-did the joint. The history of the building is quite interesting. It was built-in 1875 and for 113 years it housed various bars, taverns and saloons. I am including a link to their website which elaborates on its past.

http://www.thetavernindy.com/

They have an outdoor smoker which they use to smoke pork and chicken for pulled meat sandwiches. They also offer smoked wings and on Monday and Saturday they sell smoked burgers. After lunch we had a nice talk with one of the owners; a charming and enthusiastic woman with some good ideas. She told us the back story on the smoked burgers. A few weeks ago there was an Indy Burger week. Several eating places offered burgers at a special price to celebrate the ground meat sandwich in Indianapolis. The Tavern went from selling 15 burgers per day to 157 per day and they just couldn’t keep up. So they fired up the smoker and started grilling burgers on it. Evidently they were so well received that they reserved two days for the special burgers.

The menu is small but succinct. One of the first things I noticed on the app menu was Mozzarella sticks. House made Mozzarella sticks for $8.50

These were fantastic. Worth a return trip just for them. Wonderfully crisp on the outside and cheesy gooey on the inside. Everything you would want in fried cheese. Also the portion of Marinara ( house made as well) was spot on. So many joints insist on doling out the dipping sauce as a 2 ounce portion which is just enough for one stick. Here they give you enough for the entire order.

I opted for a lettuce wrap platter with pulled pork.

As you can see you get a pile of pig and several Romaine leaves to roll it in with a bit of pickle slices and chopped onion to add. The pork had a nice flavor but didn’t have a lot of smoke . The lettuce was a nice change of pace from bread and it also provided a nice crunch. I think I would have cut more of the core from the Romaine leaves; the bottom two were smaller than the rest. It was still a tasty and filling lunch.

Since Wednesday’s special was $1.50 smoked wings I had to try a couple. They use the full wing not those “Party Wings” that most joints use.

These were the real deal. A meaty wing with a health dose of smoke I couldn’t finish them all, had to take one home for later.

We had a very nice lunch without breaking the bank. Our main plates were $9 each and the craft beers were on special for 4 bucks. I got a PBR Tall boy for $2.25. Sometimes I just can’t resist old school beer. Even if it isn’t too good. When I go back for some more wings I am asking for some hot sauce. My left over was delicious with a few splashes of Crystal Hot sauce. So all in all I think this new joint is a welcome addition to the long list of taverns and bars in the area. I wish them luck.