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.
When Pat called Wednesday he told me he had a taste for beef; pot roast, cow. After little research I thought Big Daddy’s fit the criteria. We have been here some time ago in the pre blog days. They have an extensive menu offering pot roast nachos, a pot roast sandwich and even a pot roast quesadilla as well as the usual bar fare.
I was tempted with their pot roast Manhattan special for $8.95. For you non Hoosiers a Manhattan is an open-faced sandwich served with mashed potatoes and smothered in gravy. Very tasty but too much food for me in the Summer.At least for lunch. I followed Pat’s lead and ordered a burger. A plain burger for $7.99. I added cheddar for $.79 and bacon for $.99
I had the same problem as Pat with my burger. It was a bit overcooked as well. However that wasn’t as big a deal as was the blandness of the meat. I think they may want to add a house seasoning to their list of kitchen essentials. On the plus side was the house chips. Pat declined his because of the carbs which just forced him to eat mine. Here they get the potatoes waffle cut from a local vendor and fry them in-house. They were great. The best chip I have had. Hands down.
As I commented in the beginning they have an extensive menu so a bland burger won’t keep me away. As for pricing Pat’s burger was about 12 bucks and mine was less than $10. That may seem high for the South side but as Pat noted their closest competitors are no more. That may have been an incentive to goose the prices a bit. I don’t know. Another way to look at it is that you may get Downtown pricing but you also get free parking. As for the service it was stellar. They were having a busy service yet our service took it in stride and kept everything flowing nicely. Another plus are the beer specials. Wednesday they had 24 ounce draft light beers for $3.75. Now that is not at all Downtown pricing. So I can see my self back again. I just won’t order a burger.
Today we headed North to Fishers; the high rent district. It seems as though the new breweries,with few exceptions,have bypassed the far north of the Metropolitan area. That is why I was surprised when I realized that I had missed this one. It is a new construction in a strip mall in a heavily traveled area of the North side.
It is an attractive joint and the brewing equipment is highly visible as you enter.
As soon as you walk in you are greeted by the large semi-circular bar in front of you and the aroma of smoked meat and brewing beer all around you. If that doesn’t get your appetite up and running you are a lost cause.
The menu offers some unique items not usually found on a beer joint’s menu. Battered and deep-fried artichoke hearts or a basket of hush puppies on the appetizer menu. The artichokes at $7.49 are reasonably priced,I supposed, as I have never seen them on a menu around here. I do question the pups being priced at $8.49 though. I think across the board the food prices are a bit higher than what you would find at joints closer to the city.
We thought the beer they brew is excellent,having a beginning,middle and finish. Something desirable in food as well as drink. The pricing is from $5 to $6.50,with imperial pints selling for the higher price. That is the going rate for a lot of microbrews. They do offer a flight of 6 5 oz. glasses for $10,but I was told they would be raising the price to $12. So that may be incentive to go sooner than later.
Pat’s sandwich was $10.49. Frankly I thought that a bit high for a below average portion. If I may digress a bit on the sliced vs pulled “controversy” pulling as opposed to slicing would save some money.
The sandwich I ordered was unique to me. It included items that I would not necessarily put together but I was intrigued. Here is the description from the menu.
Oh Goodie! Just what Indy needs one more hip coffee-house with pressed sandwiches. Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against coffee houses it’s just that they all try so hard to be hip. In much the same way coffee joints in the 60’s tried to be psychedelic and in the 50’s more bongo and beatnik. And Panini can be a delightful lunch. You just have to be a tad circumspect about the fillings otherwise you might have a “mushy” sandwich. This particular joint is in an excellent location at the corner of 16th St. and Alabama St. An area that seems to have changed over night from semi hood to more metropolitan. For want of a better word. As far as decor I would call it industrial chic or proletarian casual. They left the concrete floor untouched. Chipping paint and all. They also enjoyed the use of gray corrugated metal siding and wood. Whoever owns this place put some bucks into it. It was just not my cup of chai. But they obviously are targeting a young crowd, not old farts like me and Pat.
As far as food options go they offer some breakfast options, including pastries from Circle City Sweets, a local bakery that has a pretty good reputation. They also offer soup from Circle City Soups. As I understand it Sweets and Soups are owned by a husband and wife. And no I have no excuse as to why we have not tried these places before. For lunch they offer 5 pressed sandwiches each with a historic Hoosier name. As far as meat options they have smoked turkey, Mortadella and City Ham. They proudly announce that the ham is from Smoking Goose . A well know local meatery. So from that I guess we can assume the turkey and Mortadella are from the same source. Pat tried a Tarkington. A turkey and provolone sandwich 86 mustard.
I tried the Harrison. I am a sucker for avocado. One thing Pat and I both noticed, at the first bite was that they stuck romaine in the sandwich and then toasted it. Now I really like wilted lettuce but toasted romaine? Not a big fan. To me it had an odd taste that detracted from the flavor of the ham. They have spinach on the menu I think spinach would be a better choice than romaine. To me the biggest deal was the lack of texture. The only crunch was the bread, which had a nice toast to it. Between the melted Swiss and avocado the overall effect was rather bland and mushy. It needed some prominent texture and some distinctive flavor. But I am not going to go through the entire menu and suggest alternatives. This is not my joint and they did what they did for a reason. Best of luck to them.
I almost forgot my soup. Gazpacho. It was the best part of lunch. Ironic that they don’t make it here.
Pat and I have been very fortunate the last few weeks. Every place we have been to has given us a very enjoyable lunch. Good food pleasant surroundings and nice service. This week we decided to try the old point Tavern. It is located on Massachusetts Avenue. At the point where Mass. Ave. Intersects with Alabama and Vermont streets. This place has been open for several years. I have been there on numerous occasions just not to eat. First thing you notice about the menu is the lack of fried or grilled items. The only equipment they have in their kitchen is a microwave oven, conventional oven with stove top and cold tables. Their menu is pretty extensive, considering the lack of equipment.
We decided to try a different style for the blog. Instead of me writing for Pat he is going to write for himself. The idea being, he could write about his lunch later over a beer. He did get as far as the title. After lunch we change locations for beer and we both forgot for him to finish. As it turned out he wrote it at home and e-mailed me the copy. I think that is the way to go in the future.
No, Pat there wasn’t any cheese but you did add avocado.
I tried their pita, “sandwich”. It was indeed a curious collection of ingredients. The obligatory lettuce and tomato and avocado, cucumber and Havarti cheese, with dill. And the whole deal was spiced with Dijon mustard. The avocado and cheese were equally mild in flavor and the lettuce and tomato; while not adding to the flavor profile did bring a much-needed textural difference to the sandwich as did the cucumber. What really set the whole thing up for a trip to “flavor town” (apologies to Diners Drive-ins and Dives) was the Dijon mustard. For me, I still needed some crunch. So I added some of Pat’s kettle chips. My pita came with a fruit cup. Again another nice touch to fit the healthy meme they’re going for. I’d eat the same thing again. Next time I would substitute pepper Jack cheese and added some bacon. So once again we had another nice lunch . If you work in the area I highly recommend this joint for lunch. All the food items are quick pickups. The staff knows what it is doing and the outdoor seating offers some of the best people watching you could find.
I checked out the website and menu on this place several weeks ago. It seemed a little pretentious and a lot expensive. As a matter of fact, Pat told me he and Fran stopped in there after a bike run and was turned off by the prices. Now it appears they have streamlined the menu and lowered prices. It is still a swanky joint with a lot of attention paid to fruit reductions and such. It also has a huge draft beer selection and one of the coolest wine systems I have seen. When you walk in, you are greeted by a host at a station made of beer cans.
To the left of the host station is a large dining room and to the right is the bar and more dining room. The bar has two beautiful draft systems and the aforementioned wine pour station.
As I said earlier, the menu appears to been trimmed somewhat, but still leans a little to the trendy and chic. Pat ordered Caesar salad with fried chicken and dressing on the side. It was a normal amount of chopped romaine lettuce with five oddly shaped pieces of chicken. Odd because it looked like index finger sized Lincoln logs. Pat thought the chicken was a little dry. He was not a big fan. It was served with a cute little bowl of flat bread points and Parmesan cheese crisp. The only remark he had to make about the crisp, was that it was more a Parmesan cheese non-crisp. As for the dressing it was house made. Thick, creamy and rich with anchovy and Parmesan cheese. Now Patrick is not a big fan of anchovy so he was not too thrilled. If you dig anchovy, as I do, you would probably enjoy it a lot. The first two tastes were delicious. Even with the heavy anchovy, you can definitely taste the Parmesan cheese. However, after a couple of bites you can see why it is a dressing not a dip. It needs to be tossed with lettuce. It is still a great Caesar dressing. Pat thought it was satisfactory just not worth $13.
I was torn between their rather funky selections of flat breads and one of their unique sandwiches. Their house burgers are a mixture of shredded potato and ground beef. Interesting. They also have this one.
Bacon, mixed greens, cucumber, green tomato, red peppers with an apple butter spread on flat bread.
Now that would probably be either fantastic or dreadful. I can’t imagine it would leave an eater with no opinion. I decided on a slow roasted pulled pork with the bourbon glaze on a pretzel bun. The pork is tender and slightly sweet from the bourbon glaze.The glaze worked with the pork, allowing you to better taste it. Not mask it like some sauces do.Their selection of sides is rather unique. I chose couscous salad.
Couscous, avocado, black olives, red and yellow peppers, tossed in olive oil. The veggies were small diced and not really plentiful but it was still a very tasty salad.
It is a swanky joint with swanky food, swanky dishes and a big selection of beer. One last picture of the last thing you’ll probably see,just before you leave.