Yes we went to the Kitley Inn. Laugh if you want but it is a piece Of Indianapolis History. It opened across the street from The Kitley Speedrome in 1946 and has been a viable joint ever since. Now the Speedrome is the oldest operating Figure 8 track in the US and is considered to be the first. I remember taking my boys there for races back in the 70’s. Great times.
Last week,after lunch at Tie Dyed Grill we decided to travel 2.1 miles South to check out the Kitley Inn.since neither of us had ever been there before. What we discovered was an old school bar with old school pricing and friendly customers. Our bar tender/ server; Nancy was a delight. Gracious and efficient she made us feel welcome. There was a handful of regulars sitting at a table playing a bowling game and drinking beer who welcomed us as we entered. Furthermore they told us goodbye and even remarked that it was a pleasure to have met us. I go out a bit and I never experience that in some other parts of the city. I think that,plus Nancy, was what prompted us to go back today for lunch
Now this is a bar with bar food. They offer scratch made specials, but the most of the food they offer is from Sysco. The appetizers are an IQF product, with the possible exception of one. The jalapeno stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon. I neglected to ask about that one. We ordered some fried mushrooms for $5.99. They are what you might expect from Sysco. Decent and nicely prepared.
Per Nancy’s recommendation Pat opted for a mushroom pizza. A 7 inch cheese is $6.99 with toppings an extra buck.
Well Pat was partly correct. This joint is older than us by 4 years. I think all 3 of us are holding up pretty well.
I decided on a shroom burger for $6.99,and for a $1 up charge I got (drum roll) tater tots. A whole bunch of tater tots. When we got are app. we were given both Ranch dressing and marinara sauce. I kept the Ranch for the tots. Not too bad.
That is a whole lot of tater tots for a buck. The only reason I was able to finish them was Pat “helped” me. It was really a pretty good lunch. The burger was a standard pre-made patty, slacked in advance and then cooked to order. Very common practice in most bars. The unique aspect of this joint is the large bun with a very nice char. As a matter of fact it could have used some more. Also it offered an abundance of shrooms and a nice cheese cover.
So if you want “scratch cooking” if it’s not the specials you ain’t gonna’ get it. If you want to have a few beers or a few cocktails and maybe meet some new friends then this is the place. If you want to grab a bite after a race, well this is the place. I mean,after all it has been the place for over 65 years.
Today was a day of serendipity. I went to the Fountain Square area to visit a new brewery that had just opened a few days ago. However I failed in my due diligence and neglected to notice their hours. They are closed on Mondays. Fortunately they are right next door to Rook. That is a joint that I have been quite ambivalent to visit. It has been listed as a Urbanspoon hot spot for quite a while. Hot as in the top 10 of joints people talk about. However the public hasn’t shown much love in their reviews. But in fairness it seems as if the majority of the bad reviews came in their first days and the more positive ones are slower to develop.
The Rook is basically a sandwich shop. The hook; if you will is Bahn Mi style sandwiches. Vietnamese type fillings in a French Indo Chinese bread. Since their opening they have added dumplings and steamed buns on the dinner service; but their main bag is sandwiches.
The place is long and narrow,like a hall way. As far as decor goes it is austere industrial chic. A look that it seems every one is striving for.
That’s right the last picture is a replica of a telephone pole that appears to have fallen through the roof. Get it? Rook. Telephone pole. Bird’s nests. Raven etc. It may sound corny but the real visual is rather cool.
You order at a counter and the young lady brings your food when ready. Before I go any farther I wish to compliment the order taker/ server. She was extremely knowledgeable of the product and was not timid to offer which was her favorite dumpling when I asked her. So on her referral I ordered Mushroom dumplings.
They were very tasty. A nice blend of earthy mushrooms and sweet soy with the slightly chewy dough. I would like another order with some crunchy cracklings on the side and a shot of the ever available Sirachi hot sauce.
For my sandwich I knew before I walked in what I was going to get. The one with the chicken liver terrine. The Rook.
This is a large 9 inch sandwich with a very soft and well made bread. I neglected to ask the source of the bread but in all likely hood it’s Amelia’s; since they are right down the street. The Rook is a combination of their house made terrine and a pork roll of their design and Smoking Goose manufacture. Of course with some wonderful pickled veggies.
The terrine is a blend of pork shoulder and chicken liver cooked and then pressed with enough natural gelatin and fat to hold it together. Think of it as a coarse liverwurst. This is layered with their version of Vietnamese sausage or pork roll and pickled radish, carrot and jalapeno and of course fresh cilantro and mayo.
I really enjoyed this sandwich. The pate was tasty with that earthy quality that only liver can give. It could have easily over powered the meal but it didn’t. It was almost a tease. On the tip of your tongue you tasted the possibilities. Then it proceeded to the middle and you saw more possibilities and before it hit the end the veggies and the pork roll took over. To me the pork roll was the weak link. I tried a taste, by itself and it was adequate. A space filler. A spear carrier for the opera. But in all fairness I should try some all by itself. After all the folks that put together the terrine recipe also created the pork roll.
So if you want a lunch that is out of the ordinary then I suggest The Rook. It is a cozy place with uncommon sandwiches and nice people.