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?