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.
Thursday was the first day of spring. Of course the silly Indiana weather wasn’t co-operating, there was still a little arctic in the wind. However the sun was out and the sky was blue so we decided on a road trip. Franklin is a small town south of Indianapolis. I have been through there a few times but never really looked around too much. So I was in for surprise. It is really a lovely town, full of old houses and friendly people. A down right charming place of Victorian architecture and mom & pop businesses. It’s also home to Franklin College. Maybe I’ve seen too many Andy Griffin episodes,but I think I could really enjoy living here.
Well back to Willard’s. This joint has quite the history. It was a hotel at one time. I am including a link to their website so you can peruse the history as well as the menu. Pat and Fran went there a few weeks ago and Pat was impressed with their fish sandwich. He was also seduced by the pizza that he observed going by his table. That’s why we went. Pat for the pizza and me for the fish.
As an appetizer we ordered a basket of breaded and fried pepper jack cheese cubes with Ranch dressing. They were really pretty tasty. Melted spicy cheese with a light breaded coating. What’s not to like. Of course we ate about 2/3 of the basket before we remembered to take a picture. It was indeed a healthy portion for $3.95.
Like a lot of taverns they offer quite a bit of fried food. I had my mouth set on an oyster platter. But our server told me they didn’t bread the oysters in house . So I opted for the fish and fries. Two 4 oz. cod loins, fries and hush puppies for $6.95. The fish was very good. Since they used cod loin, by nature a dense and rather thick hunk of flesh the batter was necessarily thicker than that which you would find on a fillet. So the result was a tasty and tender fish and a coating that stayed crunchy, even though my fish cooled because we were busy conversing with a local couple next to us. She used to work in Indy and he is a Franklin Firefighter. Small town friendly. Back to the food. The hush puppies were great. Standard IQF fare but it has been a while for me. They served 2 (two) pups. Why not three (3)? I’ve only found 2 places that offer hush puppies and they both give up two. They probably cost six or seven cents so I don’t get the rationing.
Pat got his pizza, but sometimes anticipation is the best part of a meal.
If you read Urbanspoon you will see that the only negative feedback for this joint is slow service. The afternoon we went their business was rather robust and I can see trying to get in and out quickly could be problematic. I think any flaw in service is a result of the layout of the place. The dining area is a bunch of small rooms around a central bar. The bar itself is somewhat of a bottle neck. The primary access way is only wide enough for one person to walk down when patrons are sitting at the bar. That in itself can be an issue while you’re trying to wait tables. Personally I don’t see that as a deal breaker. I think Willard is definitely worth the trip. You can even reserve one of the rooms for a kids pizza party. One was going on when we got there. So that’s something to keep in mind.