Pat and I have been here a few times. The last time was just 6 months ago. I am not sure what the urge was to go back so soon except for the beer and some really good burgers.
I wanted one of their burgers. They are really good just a little bit pricey. Even downtown. I got their “regular” burger for $11.95. Now they serve them as two patties each with a slice of cheese and a normal cold set. I got a bacon topper which probably cost a couple of bucks and like Pat’s sandwich you get a choice of fries or tots. I opted for fries and they actually served a modest portion.
They have gone from a single 1/2 pound patty to 2 1/4 pounders. I think I like them better that way. More charred surface flavor and more cheese. The bun is nicely textured but they do get a bit aggresive in the toasting but I like it that way.
So we liked the joint 2 months ago and we like it now and it is big enough for social distancing.
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.
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.
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.
This is a charming little place on the North side in the vicinity of 59th and Georgetown road. It has been around for 15 years, the current husband and wife team that own the place bought it in 2012. They serve a basic menu of sandwiches, soups and salads for lunch and the usual eggs, pancakes and biscuits and gravy for breakfast. It’s not sexy or “cutting edge” they just offer good cooking at a reasonable price.
The menu is written on a large chalk board behind the counter where you order. They also offer specials. Their special for Wednesday was a blackened rib eye steak sandwich with grilled onions on a ciabatta style roll, the same as Pat’s cheese burger.
My steak was nicely done. It had a slight heat from the Cajun spices and a creamy chipotle mayo. The tender meat was an excellent foil to the chew of the bread. I would not hesitate ordering it again. As my side I picked a pasta salad. It had a vinaigrette dressing that didn’t overpower any of the other ingredients, but I think I would have liked a bit more of it.
Our total tab was $18.50 so it is reasonably priced and the food is more than reasonably tasty. Actually it is close enough me that I can try their breakfast. I am always on the look out for good biscuits and gravy.