For some reason we don’t venture to the west side very often. I discovered this place by “surfing the web.” It started out as a Waffle House and opened in 1970. It changed identities recently and appears to be doing very well.
The menu is huge and they have different specials every day, breakfast and lunch and dinner. It would seem as though some of their lunch specials are menu items at a reduced price. However they did offer a Swiss Steak Manhattan which really intrigued me. They also offered an 8 ounce rib eye with toast and 2 sides for $9.99. That I couldn’t resist.
They aren’t much on presentation; as you can see. It didn’t matter. The steak was a perfect medium rare and delicious. They had an extensive list of sides but I decided on butter beans and potato pancakes.
Butter beans are not seen on too many menus. I enjoy them; and here they even serve them with a fresh buttery taste spread.
The pancakes were probably not made in-house but were pretty tasty. They were made with mashed potatoes and had a nice crisp to them.
So if you are hungry but not sure what you want than this joint may be just the place for you. Lots to choose from with big portions and good prices.
Up until recently this was the Sawmill Saloon. The kind of joint you went to for an uninspired but decent meal or more than a few cheap beers. Now it is a diner, one that serves lunch, dinner and breakfast all day.
Pat and I just thought we were hungry. Pat had their basic breakfast. Two eggs with sausage or bacon, toast and potatoes. He got a pound of potatoes, 4 slices of bacon and what looked like more than 2 scrambled eggs for $7.50. He also decided he needed a half order of biscuits and gravy for $2.99
This is all the food Pat ordered for breakfast.
After all this it is no wonder Pat forgot that we ate here when it was the Sawmill Saloon.
I had their works platter. Two sausage, 2 biscuits, 2 eggs and potatoes and gravy for $7.99. The amount of food was nearly embarrassing. Not only did we each get a mound of potatoes but they were nicely prepared. A bit under seasoned but still nicely done. The sausage patties were super sized and delicious with a bit of spice. The gravy was pretty good but the biscuits were average.
I don’t think this place is still a destination but if you are hungry for a well prepared breakfast and you are even close by I don’t think you can go wrong with stopping in. I wouldn’t mind trying their lunch just to see how they handle that. They also proudly proclaim steak and eggs for $9.99 all day, every day. Normally I would avoid steaks in a diner but I saw a sign inside announcing that they refuse to cook any steak well done. Now that intrigues me. I just may have to go back for steak and eggs.
I enjoy buffets. It may because they remind me of my time in Vegas or maybe they just appeal to the Glutton in me. In either event here we are at the Garrison. Home to what may be the Mac Daddy of Sunday Brunch Buffets in Indianapolis. They have a smaller buffet at lunch during the week. We reviewed that about 18 months ago. It was because of that trip that we are here today.
I have said before that taking pictures of a buffet can be awkward and this was no exception. I did manage a few shots but for the most part I just took shots of our over stocked plates.
They offered everything you might need for a first or salad course.
And of course a dessert table that would make any casino proud.
The main buffet line is immense, featuring all the protein and veggie options you would ever want. Baked white fish, BBQ ribs, fried chicken and of course sausages and bacon. They also have a separate carving station featuring glazed salmon, ham and roast beef. In the opposite corner is a waffle station and an omelet station.
My first plate of protein was actually a bowl with ribs, bacon and sausage. Underneath was a fried chicken breast. The food was all very good. I discovered their fried chicken on my first visit. It is salty and crisp and the white meat is surprisingly moist; considering that it is warming in a chaffing pan. Some of the ribs were a bit chewy but were still good.
These may be ready-made salads but they were still tasty. The 3 bean and Tortellini salads are not often options on a buffet.
I know the height of gluttony. One piece at a time just would not do for me. I had to shove 3 into my bowl. All of their pies and cakes are done in-house by their pastry chef who spent several years at the “Dutch Oven”.
The buffet is staged in the Blue Heron Ballroom with 2 adjacent dining area for over flow. It is a spacious and beautiful room. One whole wall is nearly all glass with large double doors leading to a grand terrace.
I would also like to comment on the service. I don’t think I have ever seen such an attentive team of servers at a buffet before. Prompt refills and removal of dishes. I also would like to compliment Marsha, our server. Thanks from me as well.
Forgot to mention the price. It is $19.99 per person drink included.
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.
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.
White gravy on a white platter doesn’t give much contrast does it.
I wanted something more lunch like so I decided on liver and onions. The server convinced me that the senior meal was the way to go and she was absolutely correct. A very nice portion of meat with potato and vegetable. Plus a salad or soup all for $7.
The salad was quite respectable not to the Sahm’s standard but sufficient for its purpose.
The potatoes and gravy were probably not made from scratch but they fulfilled their purpose more than adequately. These were merely the opening acts before the main event. The liver and onions. I order liver any time I see it on the menu. I like it and it is good for you. My ideal plate is fully carmelized onion and a nice slab of liver more medium rare than medium.
This plate got one out of two. The onions were nicely done but the liver was a bit more than medium. However it still retained a moistness that some joints fail to meet. It also was a beautiful piece. Not one bit of vein. It was all soft edible meat. So I realized maybe my quest for a “perfect” plate of liver might fail not because of the restaurant but me. That is except for the joints that turn it into shoe leather. That’s entirely on them. You meed a thick slice to get a mid rare finish and that seems hard to find.
Overall I enjoyed my $7 lunch. I know Pat will be back but I don’t ride so I don’t think I will make a return trip, but if I am in the area I know where I can get a good meal.
This is the half order of biscuits and gravy that we split as an appetizer. The gravy was better than most but not as good as Ollie’s. The biscuit was very nice indeed, and it only cost $3.60.
For my meal I could not resist their Beef Manhattan. For all you non Midwestern folks that is a roast beef sandwich cut on a bias with a pile of mashed potatoes in between the 2 halves. Then the entire thing is covered in brown gravy. There version was $ 6.60.
The taters were Potato Pearls and the gravy was probably from a mix but the beef was real and the portion was generous and it was hot. I thought it was delicious. It reminded me of my first Manhattan as a kid at the old Troy Restaurant in Downtown Indy. It is hard to resist hot beef and gravy. Of course had I been more observant I would have noticed that there special was meat loaf and I have a “thing” for meatloaf.
As big a lunch as it was I decided I had some room left for pie. In this case it was Banana Dream. A real pie crust filled with banana pudding and topped with whipped cream. It was pretty good. I probably could have eaten a whole pie.
This diner doesn’t have much of an electronic presence so I scanned their menu but only the lunch part turned out.
In the 21st Century there is probably more Culinary schools than ever before. I know more High Schools now have culinary programs. To the Nines is the student run restaurant for Center Grove schools. Way out in the country ( my perspective) down in Johnson County. When we decided to go we learned that they have buffets on Fridays and prix fixe meals on Tuesday. Since Tuesday wasn’t an option for us I made reservations for their “Lunch for Brunch” buffet.
As the man said we had no idea that there was a 50 % discounts for seniors. The students did a good job of setting up and refilling the buffet. Refilling chafing dishes can be tricky, especially with an endless line of eaters.
They offered the usual fare of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and biscuits with gravy. They also offered a French Toast bake and a Breakfast Casserole. I passed on both.
They make the biscuits and pastries from scratch. The biscuits were as good as any I have had at a restaurant service. Same with the Cinnamon roll. The gravy was good not great. But that is the same for most joints that offer it. Overall the students did a very nice job. I would like to go back for the fixed meal. Even though it is a long drive.
This place is a sister restaurant to one in Noblesville so it is tough to find any info about the menu. The only site that has a menu has the Indianapolis address but a website for a joint with the same name in Butte Montana! Those silly folks at Google.
I had planned on scanning the menu and posted it with the review but of course I forgot to bring my wand with me. I am adding a link to their place in Noblesville. It may not be identical but it should be similar.
They make several things in-house so we had to try a couple just to “sample”.
The first was a cinnamon roll.
It was a beauty and tasted pretty good. It was a bit tough, as though it had been microwaved to reheat.
We also got a half order of biscuits and gravy to share. The biscuit was a bit doughy but the gravy was pretty good. I second Pat’s thoughts about Ollies.
They also offer a series of Breakfast Bowls. That is simply a bowl with stuff in it and eggs on top. You can also get more stuff on top of the eggs if you so desire. I opted for a corned beef hash bowl.
They do their hash in a clever way. They offer a Reuben sandwich so they keep shaved corned beef on hand. They take that meat,chopped and add it to their shredded hash browns. Hash; with no onions. This particular bowl had onions in it, also Swiss Cheese. Actually I believe it was a processed cheese, white American cheese. In either event it was one heck of a breakfast. I really enjoyed their corned beef hash. The meat was tender and the potatoes were crisp. Make sure you have an appetite because it is a Big bowl of food.
Pat is still watching his carbs so he didn’t eat his jam so I did. It was sweet and had a strong strawberry presence. It also has a great deal of pectin in it. Which is neither good nor bad. Just an observation. It would be good smeared on some toast with a cup of coffee. Overall I think this little joint is going to do well. It is close enough to me that I will be back. When it gets warmer. As for prices both of our breakfasts were under $9. You may get it a bit cheaper at one of those breakfast chains but why would you want to go there?
Well there is another new joint in Irvington. A self-described pancake house that serves breakfast all day. I hope this place lasts longer than the 2 previous tenants. If they don’t survive it won’t be because the food isn’t good or the prices are too high. Most of the dishes are in the $6 to $7 niche with specials going for $9 with soup or salad included. As for the quality of their fare the items we had were top-notch.
I opted for breakfast as well. For me it was “Bases Loaded” (?) for $7; the same as Pat’s omelet. Mine was biscuits and gravy with 2 eggs and 2 bacon or sausage.
I was quite impressed. I believe I have tried every biscuit and gravy in town and I think that Downtown Olly’s does it best. Now I may have to reconsider that proposition. The first bite was loaded with sausage flavor and a hint of bacon fat, as though bacon fat was used in the making of the roux. It could have been from the bacon on the side but what ever it was I hope they do it every time. The gravy had a very creamy quality that most country gravies don’t have. It was an excellent dish and bargain priced at 7 bucks.
The only thing I would do differently is order a side of toast to sop up all the gravy and egg yolk. I was able to used Pat’s crust from his toast so none of it went to waste. I think I will be back again. They do list their specials on Facebook so I am keeping my eye open for liver and onions. I have it on good authority they do a respectable job with that diner classic.