Once upon a time there was a South of Chicago Pizza in Fletcher Place, on Virginia Avenue. It had one of the best, if not the best, Italian Beef sandwich in the city. they also had a lunchtime buffet. They were so successful they were able to open another joint near Greenwood. Back in July they were told that the new building owners didn’t want to renew their lease. So they are gone and this joint is here.
I enjoy buffets. It is just difficult for me to get any decent pictures of the buffet line.
This is most of the salad bar, in 2 shots. For an inexpensive buffet ($11- drink included) it was well-appointed.
They also offered a plain cheese pie and a meatball dish.
On my first trip I got a slice of both the sausage and bacon pies. Deep dish and a thinner crust. I also tried their meatball dish. I enjoy deep dish sometimes, it depends on the crust. However I consider it more an open-faced Calzone than a pie. I agree with Pat about the sauce it tasted of tomato only. Some people swear that a pizza sauce should be unassuming so that the toppings will stand out. Others contend every element of a dish should stand on its own. In this case I am more a stand by itself sorta guy. This especially is relevant with the meatball dish. The meatballs were huge. One cross-section was about 3 inches. They had a great texture, just no great taste. The overall dish was something I would eat at a buffet but as a primary dish, no.
As I said this was a nice salad bar. This was a very good buffet and from the lunch crowd the folks in the neighborhood agree.
This a local chain with about 9 locations with the Mothership up around 96th Street. According to their website franchising may be available so I have no idea how many if any are franchises. The concept is rather novel. All of their places have print book libraries where you can browse and read with your lunch. The books are also available for sale.
All of their beers and menu items have literary names and to be honest some are pretty cheesy; but that’s okay. Beer and cheese go well together. Pat ordered off the Special menu and got the Return of the King
In addition to Panini style sandwiches they offer Naan-Fiction. That is their version of pizza. The flat breads can be ordered with choice of sauce and various other toppings. The options are red sauce, BBQ sauce or buttermilk Ranch. I really don’t get the Ranch at all, but I am sure they offer it for a reason.
My piece of Naan-Fiction was called the Wilbur. Pulled pork with mozzarella, cheddar cheese and garlic salt. With that combo I went with BBQ sauce. It was really pretty good. The Naan made a nice crisp crust. The sauce seemed exceptionally sweet but not excessively so. The amounts of pork and cheese were a trifle sparse but all in all not a bad lunch for $9. I would probably do it again, but more than likely I would try one of their other options.
This is a nice little joint. It is North of the Canel. That is the quiet part of the Village. It is also the part with trees in the front. We ate on the porch so it was more like having lunch at a friend’s house. I want to get back and enjoy the quiet and their beer and food again.
If you’ve gone to either a football game or a baseball game you have probably seen this place. It is close to both Lucas Oil Stadium and Victory Field. So for anyone wanting to grab a bite before a game this would be a logical starting place.
Well as the man said now is time for Savor Downtown. This is another marketing ploy to get folks out to eat more. It is just focused on Downtown restaurants; unlike Devour which covers all of the city.
Basey’s menu has few surprises. It appears that they may make their own Mozzarella sticks but neither of us were hungry enough to find out. One item they offer is grouper. They do it grilled, blackened or deep-fried. I prefer it blackened but so many places just dust the fish in “Cajun” spices and grill it. I got mine just plain grilled and they did a very good job with it.
Some folks have a tendency to over cook fish but this one was cooked just right. I couldn’t eat all the roll because it was very chewy and tough to bite through. Not sure why that would be. Sometimes a microwave will do that to bread, but I couldn’t see any reason to nuke the bread. If I return I can get it on a salad.
You get a choice of side with a sandwich so I ordered coleslaw. Of course. And it was pretty good. It brought a nice crunch to my lunch.
It was a good lunch and the service was solid. There was just one server/bartender working and she was very busy. She had a big party working when we walked in and customers just kept coming. She did a nice job with it all.
I might be back to try the Mozz sticks. I have a thing for Mozz sticks.
Once upon a time there was The Stadium Tavern. It was called that because it is an Andrew Luck football throw from Lucas Oil Stadium; where the Colts play their games. In November 2016 a new set of owners took over and re-did the joint. The history of the building is quite interesting. It was built-in 1875 and for 113 years it housed various bars, taverns and saloons. I am including a link to their website which elaborates on its past.
They have an outdoor smoker which they use to smoke pork and chicken for pulled meat sandwiches. They also offer smoked wings and on Monday and Saturday they sell smoked burgers. After lunch we had a nice talk with one of the owners; a charming and enthusiastic woman with some good ideas. She told us the back story on the smoked burgers. A few weeks ago there was an Indy Burger week. Several eating places offered burgers at a special price to celebrate the ground meat sandwich in Indianapolis. The Tavern went from selling 15 burgers per day to 157 per day and they just couldn’t keep up. So they fired up the smoker and started grilling burgers on it. Evidently they were so well received that they reserved two days for the special burgers.
The menu is small but succinct. One of the first things I noticed on the app menu was Mozzarella sticks. House made Mozzarella sticks for $8.50
These were fantastic. Worth a return trip just for them. Wonderfully crisp on the outside and cheesy gooey on the inside. Everything you would want in fried cheese. Also the portion of Marinara ( house made as well) was spot on. So many joints insist on doling out the dipping sauce as a 2 ounce portion which is just enough for one stick. Here they give you enough for the entire order.
I opted for a lettuce wrap platter with pulled pork.
As you can see you get a pile of pig and several Romaine leaves to roll it in with a bit of pickle slices and chopped onion to add. The pork had a nice flavor but didn’t have a lot of smoke . The lettuce was a nice change of pace from bread and it also provided a nice crunch. I think I would have cut more of the core from the Romaine leaves; the bottom two were smaller than the rest. It was still a tasty and filling lunch.
Since Wednesday’s special was $1.50 smoked wings I had to try a couple. They use the full wing not those “Party Wings” that most joints use.
These were the real deal. A meaty wing with a health dose of smoke I couldn’t finish them all, had to take one home for later.
We had a very nice lunch without breaking the bank. Our main plates were $9 each and the craft beers were on special for 4 bucks. I got a PBR Tall boy for $2.25. Sometimes I just can’t resist old school beer. Even if it isn’t too good. When I go back for some more wings I am asking for some hot sauce. My left over was delicious with a few splashes of Crystal Hot sauce. So all in all I think this new joint is a welcome addition to the long list of taverns and bars in the area. I wish them luck.
On the road again. Of course we picked one of the hottest days to do it but we had a reward of cold beer awaiting us. ZwanzigZ is not just a pizza parlor it is a small brewery as well. It has won awards for their effort so they take their beer seriously. Their menu is small; revolving around fresh dough, sauce and cheese.
I decided on one of their specials a 3 meat slice with 2 bread sticks, dipping sauce and drink for $ 5.49. I am not sure what Pat’s sandwich cost because of his modifications but the total was less than $11; with tax. That is the deal of the year. No wonder the place was full with a line.
My slice was huge. The crust was more bread like than I like but the sauce and cheese more than made up for it. It was a really nice slice and with the bread sticks a carb coma inducing bargain.
You order at a cashier station, take a number and they bring the food to you. We sat in the bar area so we could have some beer.
The beers we sampled were quite tasty. The ales were not overly hoppy and the wheat beer had a nice finish. The most unique was the Chocolate beer. It was a sweet amber beer loaded with vanilla. The stout was probably our favorite. The beers are as reasonably priced as the food. A flight of five is $7.50 and a growler refill is $7. This place may be new to us out of towners but it is definitely a success with the locals. It is only a 40 minute drive from Indy and I think it is worth it. There is also the added attraction of Zaharakos Ice Cream. We’ll save that for another time.
Byrne’s is not a new name to pizza lovers. They have had a food truck for a few years and this is their first sit down with a roof . It is at the place that housed the Oh Yum Bistro. It isn’t very big but it does have several tables inside and a few out doors, for when the weather changes.
They have a nice menu offering salads, sandwiches and the typical Italian appetizers as well as their name sake pizza. To start the ball rolling I ordered a pair bread sticks for $3.25. You can also opt for 4 for $5.
As you can see they are your standard bread stick,nothing spectacular just a solid bread stick with a side of a very good red sauce. The sauce was full of chopped garlic which Pat and I both really liked.
Their individual pizzas are priced at $7 with toppings at $.75 each. A more than reasonable price for what you get.
They make their crust ,sheet it in advance and wrap them for later use. They also use fresh mushrooms, which I really like. After inquiry I learned that they buy a spicy Italian sausage made by Kincaid’s,right next door. That sold me so I got a sausage mushroom pie.
The pies they serve are thin crust and the result is excellent. A nicely crisp bite with a hint of char from the grill worked really well for me. The sausage was wonderful as well. A touch of spiciness and more than a hint of fennel made for a delicious pizza.
I am attaching a link to their website so you can see their whole menu.
Byrne’s has a nice wine list as well as 4 different craft brews on tap and several bottle choices. This isn’t a bar with pizza its a pizza parlor with beer and wine. I think their choices are spot on. The regular price is 5 bucks but Wednesday is their $3.50 pint day. So I was quite impressed with their pie. Nice thin crust with a great sauce, good toppings and covered with a blend of Mozz. and Asiago cheese. They also offer a white sauce for the less traditional pizza lovers, as well as Buffalo and BBQ. So I think anyone with a taste for good pizza should consider Byrne’s on Illinois. This place won’t move on you like their truck.
This place is as American as you can get. The diner was built in New Jersey in 1954 and then shipped to Indiana where it opened along US 40; The National Highway. It served food until 2009 when structural issues forced its closure in 2009.The Historical Society intervened to prevent its destruction. New owners were found and it was moved down the road and re-opened last year. A link to their website is below. There you can find a short video of the move as well as its menu.
According to the reviews on Urbanspoon folks haven’t given a lot of love to this little diner. Of the 3 reviews from this year 2 didn’t like the joint. So I was really interested in eating there.
They do a lot of scratch cooking from biscuits to pies and pastries to gravies. They also make their own sodas. So in that they certainly are following in the diner tradition. And like any self-respecting diner they serve breakfast all day.
We started lunch with an appetizer of fried mozzarella with house made marinara for $6.50.
As you can see they do it themselves. The cheese is cut into triangles and then lightly battered and deep-fried. They were really pretty good. The sauce they serve with it is has a bit of cream added to it, a nice little surprise.
Pat went with biscuits and gravy for $3.50 and I decided on a turkey Manhattan for $10. We also had a side of coleslaw each.
I had a bite of Pat’s food and it was right on and they didn’t skip on the sausage, which is nice.
As for my Manhattan; It was huge.
They also offer a beef Manhattan but the turkey was cooked in-house which is why I decided on turkey. They shred and not slice their meat, which I find interesting. Regardless the meat was both tender and abundant. They toast the bread which imparts a taste like dressing or stuffing to the dish after it sits under the gravy for a while. An effect I like. As for the gravy they sure do use a lot. So much I really couldn’t tell too much about the potatoes. Also they used a bit of chicken or turkey base which made it very salty. That is something I think they can work on.
So Pat and I were both pretty happy with our food. I think they have some room to improve but don’t most joints? The fact that they make their own fried mozz. app. makes me think this joint is capable of following the tradition of the American diner.
Although a newer construction it tries to offer an air of an old-time public house. For the most part it worked well,giving a cozy feel to the place. Pat discovered it while playing with the inter net. It is located,with shops, in a new building in Carmel surrounded by several other new buildings.and it appears as if there are apartments on the upper floors as well. The building also offers a Yat’s and a Stacked Pickle,so you can have some variety.
The lunch menu is a nice size, offering a good choice of appetizers, sandwiches and plates. They make their own fried mozzarella appetizer. They slice a fresh loaf into wheels, bread them and then deep fry them. The owner also has a brewery called Danny Boy. Now that is one that neither of has ever heard of. They offer 4 Danny Boy beers and you can get a flight of 3 for $6.75.
They serve the flight in half pint glasses. Twenty four ounces of beer. That is a proper sampling. The beers were your typical suspects. A Witte, light with a bit of citrus and with Danny Boy a touch of ginger. A heavier Dark IPA, and a hoppier and lighter version. The beers were first-rate. I think the Witte was my favorite. As for the cheese, ho-hum. I give them props for doing it themselves but the result was bland and overcooked. I wonder if they prepared them in advance and froze them. Frying a frozen hunk of cheese that size could be a problem. The sauce provided was a type of marinara, I guess, served chilled. Again I think the idea was good but the execution was a bit off.
On their menu they mention their award-winning Fish and Chips. A 3 piece plate for $13 and a 2 piece one for $10.50. Well we all know Pat’s feelings about fried fish.
The batter was tasty,just too thick. The batter shell was an easy quarter-inch thick. The danger with that is fish can overcook. I thought the fries were done well.
This is the batter Pat removed from one of the pieces of fish. Too much?
I was more moved by the Shepherd’s Pie. A lamb ragout topped with mashed potatoes and mozzarella cheese. Now how can you resist a ragout? The mere sound of it promises pure food porn. Well another swing and while not a miss not a hit. Let’s call it a foul ball.
The meat part was okay, a bit small but okay. The potatoes were good as well and spread pretty thick and the cheese was lavish as well. I just think the ragout should be the standout,with the potatoes and cheese acting as accompaniments. So decent and priced pretty well at $8.75 just not a WOW dish.
I bought a pint of Danny Boy Keg Killer for $4. They use Nitrogen as a driver and golly it was good. Nitrogen gives a micro foam that imparts a delicious creaminess to the brew. This Keg Killer is an exciting beer. It has notes similar to a Fat Tire and yet it isn’t merely a copy cat. It brought its own personality to the taste. So to me this beer took the lunch up a notch. I would most definitely go back. From what we sampled the food is good and just a wee bit away from being exceptional.
Well South of Chicago, take notice there is a Hoosier right here in Naptown that cooks a pretty mean hunk of beef. The Fresco Italian Sandwich Shoppe actually has 2 locations. One in the Marsh Grocery at 320 N. New Jersey and the other at 310 W. Michigan. On the canal. Since it was raining we opted for the New Jersey location. The joint has only been opened about three years. It is run by 2 brothers using their Dad’s recipes. And these recipes are golden. Their signature Italian beef is easily as tasty as South of Chicago’s. Fresco might have a slight edge in that they offer their sandwiches as a 4 inch half or an 8 inch whole.
We started off splitting a small Caprese Salad. He uses Roma tomatoes from a local Farmers Market, uses a local Mozzarella cheese and grows his own Basil. So needless to say the salad was fresh and delicious.
I was torn between the beef and the meatball. The owner suggested I get the beef and he would give us a sample of meatball to try. So how could I not accept such a generous offer. Again all I can say is the beef is easily as tasty as South of Chicago. On that Pat and I were in agreement. He “discovered” this place when he was shopping and had already tried a half of a beef sandwich. I might suggest you get yours dipped. The Gonnella bun soaks up all the tasty jus and still keeps its shape. A lesser roll would dissolve. As for the meat ball and accompanying red sauce it too was excellent, and on the same level as the beef.
So I can’t think of anymore to add. Except this. If you like Good Italian Beef now you have a second place to score. In addition if Caprese or meatballs are your thing then this has to be at the top of your list.
Pat and his wife, Fran went to Pure Food over the weekend. There he had a Caprese Panini sandwich;and it so impressed him he “craved” more. Their Caprese is fresh mozzarella; roasted red pepper, arugula and balsamic vinaigrette all on cibatta. Now seriously. What is there not to like ? He did add andouille sausage. Which sounded like a great addition. I didn’t taste the sandwich but I did try a piece of sausage. And I was not real thrilled;neither was Pat. It had little flavor and I thought the texture was a little too coarse. His side choice was green beans and potatoes. He thought it was good, not great ,but good. I went against my first thought and ordered a Roast Beef cibatta. Sliced beef,arugula,red onion and the ever popular lemon basil aioli. Well I hate to say it,but it was a wee bit disappointing. It was well made and it held a copious amount of beef. The trouble was it was Deli style roast beef. Overall it was flat. Average meat, no texture, no crunch, no zest. Maybe thicker onion. Maybe pickle the onions and maybe change the mayo to some sort of mustard. That’s my opinion; something everyone has. I really like this joint. One average taste experience doesn’t make for a bad “review ” Oh I nearly forgot my side. I tried their SOD; creamy potato and leek. And it was top notch.I enjoyed it very much. As for the pictures; again I screwed up. We started eating and then I remembered to take the pictures. Pretty much par;don’t you think?