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.
We had a very pleasant breakfast today. The restaurant is open from 7 AM to 3 PM and serves breakfast all day as well as lunch. We took advantage of that by ordering some of both.
Among their specials for the day were two different Quiche. One had no onion so that is what Pat ordered. I know it had artichoke in it and cheese as well as other stuff; but I don’t recall the other stuff. I also have no idea what it cost. It was Pat’s turn to buy and I neglected to ask.
This is the half order of B&G Pat got for $6.
This is the Quiche Pat ordered, price not known. They give an option of salad or fruit. As you can see he opted for the greenery. A very nice looking salad with lots of Spring mix.
I was intrigued by their hash. It is made with smoked brisket. You can order it as a side for $4.75 or as a Not so Old School breakfast for $8.50; which is what I ordered. They have several bread choices for toasting as well as muffin and all come with house made berry jelly. What berries? Haven’t a clue but it was pretty good.
This was a very respectable hash. Big chunks of beef and potatoes cooked just right. Tender yet with enough texture to give your teeth something to do. The only minor flaw was my eggs were not quite over easy; more over medium. They worked out though. All I wanted was some yolk to mix in.
Since they make their own scratch biscuits I got one for an extra $1.75. It was very light and fluffy. One of the better biscuits I have had around town. In addition to the jelly they also make their own sausage. We thought it was quite good. Lightly spiced and tasty which made for an excellent taste. However there is just something about Ollie’s that makes their B&G; in my opinion; the best in town.
They also have an interesting lunch menu; which you can reach here:
When I get time I am going back to try lunch; hopefully soon. On a “side note” Zomato classifies this joint as a diner. Of course like with a lot of things Zomato does that is debatable.
About 2 years ago this place was doing business as Ma and Pa’s Diner. It was just sold and re-opened as Jimmy’s on August first. Pat goes by it regularly and told me about it last week. We decided to try it out with our buddy Jimmy, who has lunched with us a couple of times.
I didn’t make a copy of their menu and I honestly can’t remember too much of it. They serve breakfast all day and the menu starts out with JJ’s Special. Two bacon, 2 sausage, 2 eggs and potatoes. With a half order of biscuits and gravy and choice of pancakes,waffles or French toast for $9.75. That I remember. That and a double cheese burger and fries sell for $5.75 and on Fridays they have all you can eat Flounder for $14.
Pat couldn’t wait to try the B&G.
The biscuits and gravy were pretty good. A decent tasting gravy ( that could have used more sausage) over a ready-made biscuit. The pancakes were of the usual mix variety. Tasty but nothing to get overly excited about. The hardest thing for me to review are breakfast foods. Most biscuits are pre-made and the pancakes come from a mix. There are a few exceptions but this holds true for most joints. For breakfast the execution is everything. People are as finicky of their eggs as they are of their steaks. Most folks will let it slide over a med rare steak ending up more medium but don’t dare break the yolk on their over easy eggs. For my breakfast the preparation was flawless. The eggs were beautiful and the bacon had the proper crisp. As for the sausage I commented to the owner how I liked it and he told me that when he opened up he was using a fresh sausage but folks complained. They didn’t like the pinkness of the meat;so he went back to the pre-cooked patties the previous owner used.
As you can see the potatoes are crisp and brown. The other potato option was a home fry. If they are as crisp as these that would be the way to go.
Don’t expect anything fancy or pretentious here just expect some good cooking.
Well here we are at Christmas Week already. Since Pat and I both have other stuff to do we realized that Monday would be the only day we could get together to break bread before the Holiday. We further decided that breakfast would fit our schedules much better than lunch. And no joint says breakfast to us like Ollys. During the week they offer a special of 2 eggs, your choice, with bacon or sausage and toast for $2.99. Pat and I have both taken advantage of the special on many occasions. Pat with his wife,Fran, while bike riding. Me after “working” out at the gym. In addition we stop in after lunch for adult beverages when we dine in the area. It was one of those times;last week;we discovered they had changed their menu. So it was due for a re-visit anyway.
Pat won’t have his usual epic note this week since he forgot his pad. Being the Holidays I made an Administrative decision and gave him a pass. Anyone reading this blog regularly knows Pat’s eating habits. He likes his food simple. For his breakfast he ordered a special and a half order of biscuits and gravy. His standard breakfast special is scrambled eggs, crisp bacon and dry wheat toast.
Another thing about Pat and his food when he is hungry he doesn’t mess around. He started eating while I was still picking up my phone.
For me I ordered a full biscuits and gravy with 2 over easy eggs perched on top.
I believe they serve the largest biscuits and gravy in town. For the half order they use 3 biscuit halves and on the full order 5. The amount of gravy they pour over is almost excessive. It is definitely some of the best if not the best in town.
I also got a side of bacon. I went ahead and got mine crisp like Pat;normally I don’t care. One comment on the bacon. I nearly always order bacon because they always do a fantastic job with it. It is consistently well done;as in properly cooked not over cooked. I think the prices are just as nice as their food. A half order of biscuits and gravy is $4.50 and a full is $5.95. A side of 4 slices of bacon is $2.50,I think. I know ala carte eggs are $1.50 each. So I feel that for the quality and amount served this joint is a great place to try for breakfast or lunch. Keep in mind they are open 24/7 serving food. So Pat and I liked this place last year and we like it even more now.