eating indie in indy

Posts tagged “Pizza

Fireman’s Raceway Pub 9104 Crawfordsville Road.

This joint is a first for us.  The food is cooked to order, but with pre- made product. They use a frozen crust and a ready-made sauce for the pizza. The pizza product comes from a well know purveyor that sells a good product. They also use an independent restaurant supply for the rest of their inventory.

We learned of this joint recently after visiting Jimbo’s BBQ. Actually this was where we heard of Soul Bear’s. The hook to us was the fact they were just blocks from the BBQ and they offered $1 domestic bottles on Wednesday. As for the reason we decided to eat here was solely because of Danielle. She waits tables, tends bar and cooks the food all with an amazing amount of energy and humor. She told us she wanted to go to a Culinary School but was having second thoughts. Her attitude about cooking and tending to the customers is very refreshing. She does everything to the best of her ability which is very exciting to see. That is why we opted to have lunch here. There are several joints that have one person doing it all. Serving drinks and cooking food and they are all independently owned and they deserve some attention as well as a Gastropub.

Staying with the “sausage” motif I opted for a corn dog as my app.

It was pretty dark in the bar so my pictures are less that stellar. For my “main dish” I chose a Stromboli. As Danielle explained it to me she prepares the sandwich the same as a deluxe pizza. Ground meat, sauce, peppers,onions, mushrooms, pepperoni and cheese all on a toasted Hoagie bun. All of the pizza product comes from Delco Foods, a well know supplier of Italian food products. This sandwich was a big hit. The bun was exceptional and the toast was just right. It hit all the right notes and went down quickly. For $6 it was a bargain.

You don’t always need scratch made food to have a good meal. Good product and good preparation go a long way in making a joint shine.
Firemen's Raceway Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


J.E.Light Cafe 1901 E. 86th Street

This is a first for us. The J.E.Light Cafe is a student run cafe associated with North Central High School. We have reviewed Courses; the equivalent outlet for Ivy Tech; but I wasn’t aware Indianapolis High Schools had such programs. North Central isn’t the only one but it was the one with the most up to date media ensuring us they were indeed serving Thursday.

The menu was small yet quite eclectic, with an International flair. From Korean soup to Vietnamese sandwiches and All American cheeseburgers. The prices; as you can imagine are more than reasonable. The entrees were $6.95; soup was $1.50 per cup and desserts were $3 and $1.50.

We both started off with a cup of soup.

The soup was very well done. Chunks of smoked brisket in a rich chile infused broth. An excellent remedy for a rainy day. Prior to the service of the soup we were given a basket of house made chips.

Quite a few “professional” joints make their own chips. I don’t think any place does them better, and most don’t do them as well.

As I mentioned earlier their menu had a distinct International spin. As tempting as the choices were I decided on a lighter offering. Sushi. I was more than a little surprised by that option. Sushi requires a few years to become proficient. However I think that if young cooks are taught the basics of rolling and forming and the ever important knife work then those skills will be beneficial in all cooking. So a tip of the hat to the JEL Cafe staff.

Their Sushi plate was composed of spicy tuna roll, inside out roll, salmon and tuna Nigiri and seasoned edaname. Plus the ever popular wasabi and soy as well as pickled ginger.

Once again I was impressed with the dish. Actually sushi is difficult to critique for me. Most rolls are consistent in the ingredients used. The only difference is the portion of the ingredients. I found this offering most enjoyable. Last but not least I opted for a dish of their Chocolate Gelato.

Another hit. Well made and richly chocolate. A steal at $1.50. It is a shame that their “season” is nearly over. Next week is their last service. Cinco de Mayo. I just might have to go back.

I think North Central has a program they can be proud of. Now is an exciting time to be part of the culinary scene in Indy.

 
Light Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


New Bethel Ordinary 8838 Southeastern Ave. Wanamaker Ind.

Some time back Pat and I made a small tour of Wanamaker eating at Extraordinary Pizza and Wheatley’s. We had heard of The Ordinary but never got around to going there. Last week our server at Rebar  made a pitch for us to give it a try. He is a night-time cook there and told us they offered more than pizza.

I am not sure how old the building is but the floor looks ancient. The dining area is a comfortable size and the menu is of a reasonable length featuring all the foods you would expect of a Hoosier tavern.

Pat decided on an individual pizza for $6.50 with 2 bread sticks.

The bread sticks are fashioned from their pizza dough and are first-rate. They come with a generic canned nacho cheese sauce for dipping.

The first thing I noticed on the menu is the prices. They are very reasonable. All of their sandwiches come with waffle fries and one other side. I wanted a burger. Their basic burger is a half pound Angus for $7.95. I decided on the Texas BBQ Burger for $8.95. It comes with bacon, cheddar cheese, an onion ring and of course BBQ sauce.

It was a pretty good burger cooked on a griddle. I did order it mid-rare but it came out more medium. I think I may start ordering my burgers rare. Never the less it was a good bite. The bacon was freshly fried and the bun was nicely toasted. I would order one of their burgers again.

My other side dish was homemade potato salad.

It was a very good potato salad. Small pieces of potato that were almost of a mashed consistency. Not what I am accustomed to but still nice.

I like Wanamaker. In some ways that stretch of Southeastern Ave reminds me of a short stretch of Route 66 that is the main drag for Moriarty New Mexico. A whole bunch of restaurants and bars in a short piece of road. The Ordinary has some pretty good food with excellent prices and it is close to Indianapolis so I think it is worth a visit.

New Bethel Ordinary Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


ClusterTruck 729 N. Penn. Indianapolis.

clustertruck-011

I am sure anyone familiar with the “food scene” in Indy has heard the term ClusterTruck. I think originally it referred to a gathering of food trucks. Two to four trucks would converge on a site and sell their food. It was perfect for a crowd with diverse appetites. It also allowed the individual truck to gain exposure to a different base of eaters.

Now before I go any further I have a few comments about the food scene in Indy. We have a great collection of restaurants in town and the quality and quantity is ever-growing. However the one aspect Indy sucks in is the delivery. Before now all the food delivery was done by a middleman who would pick up the food and then deliver it. That led to slow delivery and cold food. Now this ClusterTruck comes in. I am including a link to a Nuvo article that explains the origin of ClusterTruck better than I.

http://www.nuvo.net/indianapolis/clustertruck-indys-food-delivery-revolution/Content?oid=3995626

So for that reason this review is unique. It is also unique in that we had our lunch delivered to our friend, Jimmy’s office. Being a Realtor he has a tough time meeting us for lunch. Luckily his office is a stone throws away.

clustertruck-009

They have an expansive menu. One you can get access to at this link. You can also check out their delivery area.

https://www.clustertruck.com/

This place seems to do a first class job of the delivery. In addition to having “fancy” go boxes they have their boxes and bags personalized.

clustertruck-004

clustertruck-003

Jimmy opted for a burger. Now the menu says it is a Bru Burger. What connection; if any it has to Bru Burger I do not know.

clustertruck-008

I believe he had a Bourbon Burger. That is a cheese burger with bacon and a Bourbon sauce. The sauce seems a bit thin for a burger, to me, but Jimmie though it was the best burger he has eaten.

clustertruck

clustertruck-001

As for me I wanted something different. They had a whole category of smothered tater tots. I decided on a short rib and kimchi topped order.

clustertruck-005

It was actually pretty tasty. It had an abundance of meat ,a slight amount of kimchi, but with kimchi the aroma precedes it and sates the appetite. The only complaint I had with the dish is that the kimchi sauce was thin and the dish was a bit on the dry side. Still it had a good flavor and the short ribs were nicely done. However I wouldn’t get it again unless the sauce was given a leg and maybe the amount was increased beyond a 2 ounce solo.

So Indy I think diners should be happy about this new place. You can actually get food from a place that knows how to prepare it and knows how to deliver it. No more reliance on a second-hand delivery agent. Also the prices include a tip. An actual tip not a hidden delivery charge.

 

ClusterTruck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The Kitley Inn 825 S. Kitley Ave.

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

Kitley Inn 003

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.

 

Kitley Inn 005

Per Nancy’s recommendation Pat opted for a mushroom pizza. A 7 inch cheese is $6.99 with toppings an extra buck.

Kitley Inn 009

Kitley Inn 001

Kitley Inn 010

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.

Kitley Inn 008

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.

Kitley Inn 011

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.
Kitley Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Byrnes Grilled Pizza 5615 N. Illinois Street

Byrne's 003

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.

Byrne's 007

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.

Byrne's 011

Byrne's 001

Byrne's 010

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.

Byrne's 009

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.

Byrne's 008

I am attaching a link to their website so you can see their whole menu.

http://byrnespizza.com/

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.
Byrne's Grilled Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Beech Grove Bowl 95 N. 2nd Ave. Beech Grove Indiana

Going to a bowling alley just to have lunch probably isn’t commonplace. However, as usual, there is a story behind it. Last week a blogger friend and I were chatting,online,about the virtues of old-time drug store cheese burgers. She asked if they were similar to those found in a bowling alley. Well I don’t recall ever eating in a bowling alley so I had no point of reference. I did tell her, half-joking my mission would be to find an alley that sold cheeseburgers. Later in the week a friend called me and suggested that we give Beech Grove Bowl a try. Of course he had never been there,but he had friends who said that they offered a pretty good pizza and calzone. Well I usually trust his opinion on most things culinary so I thought it was worth a try.

Beech Grove Bowl 014

Beech Grove Bowl 021

Beech Grove Bowl 015

We had a nice talk with Scott,the owner. He has worked there over 20 years before buying the joint 5 years ago. He spent a great deal of time and effort sampling different crusts, and sauces before he settled on just the right combo. And in our opinion the effort was worth it.

Beech Grove Bowl 017

As for my calzone it was definitely the highlight of the lunch. They make them from a 10 inch dough round that they proof and then bake in an impinging oven with a conveyor. It is offered for $7.99 with up to 3 toppings. The result is delicious. They brush the whole thing with garlic butter and the result is at least as good as Three Wise Men; and cheaper.

Beech Grove Bowl 018

As for the rest of the menu it is pretty much what you expect at most pub and grubs. I am including a link to their site.

http://www.bgbowl.com/

I also got a cheeseburger. After all that was the reason for my search.

Beech Grove Bowl 016

There isn’t a whole lot to say about it. A one-third pound patty cooked to well done,topped with a single slice of American and placed on a rather generic bun. Not bad but overpriced at $5.50. I think a better deal would be a BBQ or a Sloppy Joe sandwich,they are both under $4.

So I think this place might be a place to go for a pizza or definitely a calzone. Even if you don’t bowl they have pin ball and Golden Tee Golf. They also deliver,and as Pat already said,they have beer. It is about a 13 mile trip for me and I really think it would be a place to go back to.

Beech Grove Bowl 019
Beech Grove Bowl Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The Tap 306 Mass. Ave.

The Tap 004

Well one more brewery has come to town. Actually this one isn’t brand new. It originated in Bloomington where it still does a brisk business they just thought they would follow some of the grads to Indianapolis. Be careful with the address. The place is right on the corner of New York and Delaware in the new Pulliam Square project. Where the Indianapolis Star and News building used to be. How they managed to get Mass. Ave out of this I have no idea. This Pulliam Square is a rather swank affair and The Tap blends in well.

The Tap 005

It is a large venue with 2 rooms and 2 bars. Above the main bar is a stage for a DJ and a pull down screen with a rear projector for sports. After all the Big Ten football tourney will be coming to town in December. In the above picture the forlorn Santa looking fellow is Pat,and behind him is the row of beer taps. Seventy of them. It doesn’t seem too long ago that a joint having 6 drafts on-line was a big deal. Progress.

Their menu is the new typical for a brewery/bar. The Zomato link has a path to their website showing both food and beer menus. They offer pizza which uses a pre-made dough that comes in frozen and they stretch it to shape. Pizza is always a great choice with beer.

The Tap 006

The Tap 001

The Tap 008

I was drawn to the Ahi salad. A seared to rare sashimi grade Tuna on a salad bed. The bed is a coleslaw, sans dressing, topped with chopped romaine and cheese. In place of croutons they used crisp noodles. The kind that come in a bag that you serve over some Chinese dishes. Frankly I like them,they give a nice crunch without adding a big flavor. The tuna was expertly prepared. Rare and melt in your mouth tender with a great little punch from the Teriyaki glaze used. The salad part was so-so. I have had better salad mixes before. The shaved Parmesan would have been a nice touch had there been enough to have noticed. It was almost as if it was added as an after thought. One very nice part of the assembly was the half-dozen grape tomatoes on it. You don’t usually see that many. The dressing they served is a cucumber wasabi creation. I don’t know if they make it in-house or buy it ready-made but it was very good. I think you could take some fallen leaves from your back yard and add this stuff and it would be delicious.

The Tap 010

So, overall I really enjoyed my salad, and like Pat. I would order it again. After the pizza;and burger. Another thing I like about this joint is that the windows let in a bunch of natural light so taking pictures is great. Also you can access their WiFi almost without trying. Parking;while hardly good;is better than a lot of places downtown. Of course the Pulliam Project is on going. There is a huge hole at the corner of New York and Penn. Still;I think it is worth a trip.
The Tap Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Pearl Street Pizza Pub 65 E. Pearl Street

pearl street 014

I don’t usually go out at night. Especially on Saturday night. However I decided to make an exception this Saturday night. I had plans to meet some friends at a new joint on Mass. Ave. I really wanted to check this particular joint out.

When I go downtown I always take a bus;or a cab. Parking is insane, and expensive. Bus fare is cheap and even cab fare is reasonable compared to driving. However I had no idea that there were two events going on at the Stadium and the Arena. So long story short I decided to head to Pearl Street. Pat and I have been there before, before the blog and we had talked about going back. Well I just jumped the gun.

I know from earlier experience they can make a good pie. I ordered an 8 inch deep dish pizza. The basic price is $8.75. For meat it is an extra $ 1.50 and $1.00 for veggies. That makes a sausage and mushroom deep dish pizza pie $11.25. I think that is pretty expensive. Another reason I prefer lunch. They do offer a cup of soup or a salad for an extra $1.99 with a pizza.

The soup they had for the day was a spicy chicken with gorgonzola.

pearl street 013

A smooth soup with a bit of a bite and a touch of bleu cheese funk from the Gorgonzola. I found it to be a very good soup. What I enjoyed most about it was the bleu cheese component was added as a garnish so the taste wasn’t changed by heat.

pearl street 016

Now the pie. I thought it was delicious. The dough was fluffy and bread like around the edges. With a nice buttery top

crunch and the bottom with the all the good stuff in it was nice and crisp. I think every part was great. From the sauce to the sausage and mushrooms I thought it was a fine piece of work.

pearl street 015

I think this place is a wonderful choice for a pizza and beer. Right smack dab in the middle of the down town loop. It sits on Pearl Street. That is the alley that runs from Meridian Street to Penn. on the North side of the Century Building. In that area called the Wholesale District. So if your are in the area and have a hankering for a pie and beer this is as good as you will find.

 

Pearl Street Pizza & Pub on Urbanspoon


The Willard Restaurant – 99 N. Main St. Franklin Indiana

 

willard 434

willard 435

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.

willard 441

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.

willard 442

willard 443

Pat got his pizza, but sometimes anticipation is the best part of a meal.

willard pie

willard 445

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.

willard 446

willard 450

willard 448

willard 447Willard Restaurant on Urbanspoon
http://thewillard.com/

willard 438

willard 437