Several years ago; back in the day; so to speak; there was a joint called Big Fella’s. It was a great place for a bite. For whatever reason it changed hands. None of the later tenants fared too well. But no matter the success, or lack there of, of the subsequent tenants the building was always well maintained. Well now Big Fella’s is back. This time under the guidance of The Big Fella’s nephew. It always was an attractive and expansive place and now it has become downright pretty. From the color coordinated walls to the white tablecloths and linen napkins it has added a touch of elegance.
They have retained their Sunday buffet and added a raised dias in their big dining room with a baby grand piano. They now offer live gospel music on Sunday as well as jazz performances selected nights of the week.
Their menu is small, featuring the essential dinners for $11.49, with bread and 2 sides. They also offer sandwiches in the $6 to $7 range with a side of fries. They make everything from scratch. The sides, the desserts, and the cornbread all done on premise. This particular day they were offering specials of baby back ribs for $9.99 and rib tips for $8.99. All with 2 sides and cornbread. Pat opted for the ribs.
They smoke all their own pig. Which is always a good sign. And since they use the same source for the tips as Taste Budds, and since it was one buck cheaper that is what I ordered. And they were as tasty and tender as Taste Budds. The greens had an excellent flavor and a wonderful pot liquor. They were just a tad bit on the salty side. As for the mac and cheese I can think of only one joint that might of had some just a tad bit better. Just because they added real cream. And as Julia Child said: “If you’re afraid of butter just use cream.” So folks, without reservation this is a place to check out. I don’t think you will be disappointed. Personally I am real happy Big Fella’s is back. It’s close to home.
Oh one last thing. When you go, save room for dessert. And if you only have room for one dessert make it Buttermilk pie. I mean what could be a better ending to a meal than a piece of custard goodness.
http://www.bigfellas.biz/ 3469 N. College Ave.
This is a joint we have been wanting to go to for quite a while. It has a reputation for very good food and a nice selection of craft beers. It’s not a very big place with the seating consisting of a few tables along the wall, a large bar and 3 very big tables in the center. Long and slender, like you would find in a banquet hall. It is an attractive place; all industrial chic with exposed duct work, dark walls, slate and black iron pipe fittings in the men’s room.
We had the bar to ourselves and had the most delightful server. Efficient, professional and attentive, and very knowledgeable of the menu. After much reassurance from the aforementioned server, that he would not get any onion Pat selected baked rigatoni. A pasta dish with butternut squash,kale and both house made mozzarella and focaccia, all for $10.
At time of service our waitress told Pat that they made a special sauce, just for him, sans onion. I went off menu and ordered their special for $11. That was fried perch with waffle. Served with baked beans, young curly kale and Sirachi butter. Odd ain’t it. This particular dish did not hit on all cylinders for me. I do admire their cojones for doing it though. I think restaurants should push the envelope; as far as they can. In this case I think it could have used a few adjustments. They used, what appeared to be black beans for the baked beans. Not the most attractive choice. That might be why it was buried under the kale. They also could have cooked the beans a mite longer and reduced the cayenne, especially with the Sirachi butter ; which was excellent,as was the perch. As for the waffle it was a wee bit dry. Actually I thought the whole dish was on the arid side. I am surprised they didn’t add some sort of syrup. Possibly a gastrique . I think a little sweet and sour would have fit in well. But; that is just my opinion. This was just one dish and a special at that. I will definitely be back first chance I get. I want to try their chicken pozole and the blue gill and grits. They both sound like a bunch of lip smackin’ fun.
Charming. That is my word for the day. That is the best one word description of this restaurant that I can think of. We have been here before with our friend Jimmie. That is the reason we decided to go back. We had planned on meeting him there but he had some schedule conflict. So it was just me and the other old guy.
It was a blustery sort of fall day. The kind of day that really suggests comfort food. Which is exactly what Pat ordered. I believe the dish was Dad’s Chicken. That is a breaded breast, pan-fried and finished in the oven. It came with 2 sides for $8. He opted for roasted garlic mashed potatoes and steamed snap peas.
As you can see I didn’t post Pat’s usual review. The reason for that is I reworked my browser, and upgraded my version of Windows. And with the changes; when I downloaded my scans of his post it went to a different area than I am not accustomed to. And frankly I can’t locate it. Luckily I managed a taste of his food so I can write about it. Pat’s original post was succinct as usual. All I can do is flesh it out; so to speak
The chicken was very tasty and moist. The portion was 5 oz.,and the sides were nicely portioned as well. The ‘taters were garlicky good and fluffy; and buttery enough that gravy would have been a distraction. As for the peas they were incredibly tender, considering their size.
Regardless of the weather, I had a craving for their salmon wrap. It had both smoked salmon and asparagus. Two of my (many) favorite foods. It also featured cukes, lettuce and wasabi mayo. And it was as good as it sounded. However I think more salmon would have helped. I understand the price of the salmon necessitates the $ 9 price tag, but I think they could get a better product if they smoked their own.
As soon as you walk into this place you are struck with the history of this joint. It was opened one month after Prohibition ended in 1934; and it has been run by the McGinley family ever since. From the dark wood back bar to the all mechanical cash register the scene probably has not changed much in the intervening 70 odd years.
The menu is small and is displayed on a sign above the window to the kitchen. The pictures I took did not turn out, so I’m including a link to their website which also shows a bit of their history. They only have two draft heads, both offering Michelob. A brew I haven’t had in probably 30 years. They also have a pretty good inventory of Crafts and imports in a cooler by the door. So I don’t think selection would be an issue.
In addition to the few sandwiches they have they also offer Hoosier chili, clam chowder and bean soup, all made in-house. Since Indianapolis Monthly and the Indianapolis Star both declared the cheeseburger as one of the best in town that made our lunch decision easier. Chili and cheeseburger for me, and since they made the chowder sans onion Clam Chowder and cheeseburger for Pat.
The chili was wonderfully representative of the type prepared by Hoosiers for generations. Meat and beans in a rather tame tomato sauce with a slight hint of cocoa powder and filled with tiny pieces of pasta. Served with saltine crackers, of course.
In today’s world of half pound Black Angus, Wagyu, Bison Beef, Sourdough, Pretzel Bun burgers, the burgers at Golden Ace Inn are a refreshing change of pace. They serve one-third pound patties, hand formed and cooked in a skillet and then put on a common grocery store bun. They still use white onion and even cut them in half. This is a joint dedicated to simplicity and value.
Pat and I really enjoyed this place. I find it hard to believe that neither one of us had been here before. This joint is an anchor of the neighborhood. The fact that it has continually operated this long is a testimony to the business, the neighborhood and the family. I look forward to going back. Price? You ask. Two bowls of soup and two cheeseburgers– $12.25. Three Draft beers and one shot of Bushmills – $11.25. I think this is definitely a place to check out.
There is a new place in town and it just happens to be in my neighborhood. To say there was a need in this area, Mapleton Fall Creek , would be a pretty accurate statement. Saturday was their Grand Opening and from all accounts it was very successful. The owner really did it right. A nice wide open space with a lot of room to stretch your legs. And the man built the wooden bar and the tables with his own hands. Now that is special.
The menu is refreshingly different. They also have a nice supply of local beers. As you know Pat and I have been known to tip a malted beverage every now and again. I didn’t scan the menu but I am including a link for their website which shows their food and beer.
This joint does something different for the sides that come with sandwiches. They offer a small chef side that changes daily. In this case it was a potato “croquettes” with a Sriracha mayo. The little ‘tater cake was pretty tasty and spicy sauce fit well. I was drawn to the “cold pressed Spanish chicken sandwich. As it was explained to me after the chicken is cooked it is mixed with capers, anchovy, roasted red pepper and olives. Then a focaccia roll is split coated with olive oil and the “fixings” are stuffed inside. Then the whole thing is wrapped and pressed with a brick for two days. I am not familiar with the technique but the result is definitely worthwhile. The texture was soft and almost creamy. Imagine a bread rillette. The only thing else I can add is the flavor was very much a single note. An excellent single note but singular none the less. I added a taste of the spicy sauce that came with the potato cake and it added a nice spot of heat. It could have used some crunch. In my humble opinion.
I really recommend checking out the menu on the website. It might be a trifle hard to read but I think you can navigate it all right.http://www.shoeflypublichouse.com/
Well, that name sure is a mouthful. But it leaves no doubt as to what this place is all about. It is on the south side, 5401 Madison Avenue, to be precise. I believe it has been open for about three years. It relocated recently to a larger building across the street from its original location. So business has been pretty good. They have a website but I don’t think it is updated too often. So most of their business appears to be by word-of-mouth.
They recently added soups and sandwiches to the menu. The usual fare, you would expect from a joint that made its own bread. With a couple of atypical twists.
From the beginning, I was intrigued by the pretzel bun. EVERYBODY has a pretzel bun now. Even Wendy’s. But the only similarity between this bun and everyone else’s is the spelling. This creation has the texture and density of a good bread and the flavor and saltiness of a soft German pretzel. I ordered a pretzel club. Which is Cotto salami, ham, bacon, lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing. Ranch dressing would not be my first choice for such a bread but I try to try a dish the way the Cook planned it. The salami was assertive enough to stand up to the bread. The other stuff did not fare as well. When I go back. I hope to try the smoked sausage and pretzel bun sandwich. Or if that’s not available, the straight up salami with mustard. I tried a cup of the loaded potato soup. It was pretty good. Tasty even on a 90° day. The Eclair Pat mentioned was one we got to share. I cannot say that this is the best Eclair I have had. Sometimes when I taste something that I really enjoy I tend to gush like a 14 year old boy meeting a 14 year old girl. But it surely was an excellent pastry. One anyone would be proud to serve. The entire preparation was spot on. From the Choux Pastry to the vanilla cream filling to the chocolate “Shell” on top.
I couldn’t finish my lunch so I took one half of the sandwich home along with my “better than Hostess” cupcake. As well as a few other items. I mean, these cases are hard to resist.
My better half, Clara, ( who has a background in Food and Beverage as well ) really liked the pretzel bread, and the cupcake. She just took exception to my chose in take out. Two of them were pretty close in taste. That is why I MUST go back. To score some more pretzel bread and some Cake Truffles. They also offer a gluten free eclair. As far as other gluten free products I honestly am not sure.
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 stopped here last week for beers. We were both taken by the friendliness of the crowd at the bar and Mary our bartender. We also enjoyed that draft beers were only $3.50, microbrews included. The menu was inviting and the prices are more than reasonable. Also, Mary seemed genuinely excited about the food. No one should ever underestimate the power of “a happy server face”.
Since Thursday, our normal lunch date was also July 4, we decided to go on Wednesday. Mary. Wasn’t working but Jen, our bartender was equally friendly and gracious. On their appetizer menu they have several half orders as well as full orders. Which I think is a great idea. Quite often appetizer portions are so large, people have an appetizer as an entrée. Which, from a business standpoint lowers your ticket averages. With that in mind we decided to split a half order of battered and fried mushrooms. They were excellent. A crisp fried batter full of flavor was a great foil to the softness of the fried mushroom. We had homemade bleu cheese dressing as a dipping sauce. That was probably the wrong move. Not that the dressing wasn’t very good. It was just too thick to dip the mushrooms in. I think ranch dressing or the cocktail sauce that was offered would’ve been a better choice.
One of their specials for that day was homemade lasagna. It came with soup or salad and garlic toast for $7.25. Since only onion powder was used in making the sauce for the lasagna, Pat felt it was safe to order.
I ordered strictly off the menu. Something I’ve never had before. A grilled chicken club. that is like a conventional club, 86 turkey, and substitute grilled chicken. I hesitated ordering it because a lot of kitchen guys don’t like making them. If you are busy it doesn’t take too many club orders to put you in the weeds. mine came on some beautiful marbled rye bread. It was an excellent sandwich, and fun to eat. Since it was a triple-decker , you could break it down into smaller flavor profiles. There is just something about the sweetness of fresh tomato and mayonnaise paired up with salty bacon and ham that is delicious. and replacing deli turkey with the tender grilled chicken breast is a no-brainer. And their homemade blue cheese dressing is a great dip for the copious quantity of ruffles that come with the sandwich. I couldn’t eat all of my sandwich so I took it home for my better half. She promptly declared it was the best sandwich I ever brought home.
So ladies and gentlemen, that was our experience at the Keystone Sports Review. not only is the food good;the prices right and the service great, but to me it was a pleasure to watch such a well-run business. I think it is more than worth a trip. Oh one last thing. The Dr Mc Gillicuddy Pat referred to was Mentholated Schnapps. That was also one of their specials,$ 2 /shot. We each had one as an aperitif. It settled his stomach and gave him fresh breath. I ‘m sure his better half appreciated that.https://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=1771&preview=true
Eureka. I have finally found a place in town that can produce a proper smoked rib. It’s His Place Eatery at 30th Street and Shadeland Avenue. They call themselves a soul food restaurant, which is a catch phrase for country cooking. If that is supposed to mean that they offer good food; then they nailed it. They don’t just offer smoked pig they also grill or fry chops, chicken and fish. They even have big salads. And of course they make their own deserts.
As you can tell they don’t spend a lot on plate garnishment. They want their food to be the center of the plate with no distractions. That little splotch on Pat’s review is a drop of rib juice. Clumsy. The owner does the cooking and he is a man after my own heart in that he prefers a dry rub. Saving sauce as optional not mandatory. The rib is the king. Hands down. The meat really just slides off the bone. The dry rub accentuates the flavor of the pig and keeps it moist. Every bite fills your mouth with smokiness. Not that intense overwhelming liquid smokiness that some people pass off as ” smoked”. But the real hard wood and fire kind. I didn’t even use any of the sauce they provided.
The sides they provide match the quality of the protein they serve. The greens were as good as any that I have had; and the mac and cheese is on a par with Taste Budds. The bourbon cream corn was interesting. It was pretty good. I am just not a big fan of cream corn. But I had to try it. I also had to try the sweet potato cheesecake. Even though I had to take half my lunch home. The cheesecake was rich and potato sweet. A definite home run. The only negative was the corn bread. It was more a corn muffin of the average kind. But that should not be a deal breaker. To me if you like a lot of sweet red sauce with your Que then by all means go with the Wonder. Which brings to mind. Chef, should you read this, have you ever considered a Carolina vinegar and pepper sauce to go with your ribs? Just a thought.