Pat and I have been doing this for nearly 8 years and have reviewed more than 450 eating establishments. Some weeks are easier than others to pick a place. It is my function to find the joints to eat at. Pat has a hand in the process when there is a place he would like to try or when I come up empty. That was the case this week. He had a list from the westside and I thought Vinny’s would work. Of course I read it as Dive Bar and I figured that any joint that admits its diviness should be visited. Of course Pat and I were both wrong.
We started out with an order of Portabello fries. An interesting spin on the ever present breaded mushroom. They were pretty good. Thick and meaty and were served with a spicy ranch dressing. They were a pretty good way to start a meal and cost 6 bucks.
Their menu is typical bar. Basic sandwiches and appetizers. They offer BBQ and pizza as well but they do it with a different spin. The Q comes from BBQ Heaven and the pies come from Rolynos. That is a local joint that started putting out pies in the early 70’s. I find that interesting; especially the pizza. Their special that day was a Spanish burger with fries for $7.50. Now that would be a seasoned and hand formed burger marinated and then cooked in a spicy tomato based sauce with added green peppers, onions and jalapenos.
I thought it was a pretty good burger. Nicely spicy and good flavor but what really made it stand out was the compaction of the patty itself. If all of their pattys are done this way it may be worth a trip back to try one chargrilled. It could be a prefect candidate for a medium rare one.
When we review a place we don’t expect folks to drop everything and run and try it out. What we would like is for those times when people are out and decide they want to eat they may remember a joint nearby that we reviewed and want to give it a try. If you are in the area keep Vinny’s in mind.
Pizza King originated in Lafayette Indiana in 1954. They have expanded over the years with several “company stores” and some franchise holders. As far as I know they are only in Indiana. They were known for a thin crust, edge to edge toppings and a fine ground sausage. I have always been fond of a fine grind for pizza. This particular outlet is a company store on the far east side of Indy. Actually east of the little town of Cumberland. It is a very large place with an old school pizzeria decor.
They offer the usual fare you would find at a Pizza joint but today we were after pizza. They have an 8 inch 1 topping pie for $6.79 and charge 90 cents for additional toppings. That is what we ordered. Pat got a mushroom and sausage because that is his go to combo. I ordered the same because I could not decide, and sausage and mushroom is as good a combination as any.
Another thing I like about this place is they cut their pies in a “party style”. Instead of all triangle slices you get squares and triangles
I enjoyed my pie quite a bit. The crust isn’t as thin as I would like but it was nicely done and the price is very good. It is quite a drive but I can see myself going back. I would like to get an 8 inch Meat Feast pie. The Meat Feast – A delicious blend of sausage, pepperoni, ground beef, baked ham and bacon. That is $7.99
The Pizza Inn that Pat referenced is the Pizza Parlor that was in Southport when we were in High School. That is another old chain that started in Texas in 1960. They no longer operate in Indiana. I don’t remember much about their food though. Pizza King does operate in Indy and they put out a pretty good pie.
When we can’t come to a quick agreement on destination we know we can always agree on the ever popular, hardly controversial “dive bar”. Pat, because the food is simple and me because the beer is cheap. This place has been a bar for as long as I can recall. For years it was Bud’s Lounge. Bud’s closed a couple of years ago and Fat Cat moved in. Fat Cat was originally down the street at 38th Street so they have some experience in the bar business.
Their menu is pretty common with a bunch of frozen apps and a few basic sandwiches and pizza. We ordered a side of mushrooms to start our meal off for $5. They were pretty good. Like most things frozen apps are not all the same. Some ARE better than others. These were better than average.
Of course a picture should be taken before you start eating. Makes for a more professional effect.
I was leaning toward their fried catfish dinner but our great bartender told me it goes from $8 to $6.75 on Fridays. Unfortunately they stopped selling them with hush puppies. Their customers weren’t eating them. There is just no accounting for some folks tastes. So I went for the pig in the form of a grilled tenderloin.
This was an exceptional piece of meat. This was no light weight “fritter” this was an 8 oz. slice of pork loin that was pounded out and cooked really well on a flat top. Tender and moist with good flavor and just the right amount of chew.
So we really enjoyed this little place. It had good food, exceptional service and Domestic bottles were a buck and a half. So for 2 sandwiches, one order of mushrooms and three beers our tab was $25; with tax. That is a value. I will be back on a Friday and try their catfish special; even without puppies.
This pizza shop is also known as Puccini’s Smiling Teeth Pizza. I haven’t the slightest idea where that name came from. I do know they open their first location in this area in 1991 and now have 10 locations in Indiana and Kentucky. That was why we had to have a “conference” about our criteria. It is hardly a small little place with an owner operator but it is family owned so it fits.
I was leaning toward a Calzone my self until I saw their Ultimate Warrior pie listed. A unique combo of
sausage, pepperoni, onions, black olives, mushrooms & green peppers.
This was a really good pie. A crisp crust and an excellent sauce with a generous amount of toppings. Enough to make me overlook the jumbled placement of the toppings. Normally a peeve of mine. I had eaten some of their pies a few years back with my son but had forgotten how good they were.
I think this joint should be ranked up there with some of the best in the city. The prices are more than reasonable. Both our lunches were less than $9 each.
King Dough is a hip new pizzeria that originated in Bloomington In. Their main hook is a wood fired oven for their pies. Unfortunately that didn’t make the trip. They use a beautiful gas-fired one instead.
This little fella’ can get as high as 900 degrees when busy and cruises at 700 when not.
They offer several set pies with unusual combos that allow no substitutions. They also have a build your own which starts at $13 for a 13 inch pie.
The base for the build your own is sauce, no sauce. Fresh or aged mozzarella. Then you add toppings which run 75 cents to $4 more.
Pat ordered his with Italian sausage and double mushroom. I opted for something a bit different. kalamata olives and Anchovy with sauce and fresh mozz.
I must agree with Pat. They have a good pie but Mama Nita’s is as good. Matter of fact I think Nita’s crust and sauce are better. Their crust is chewy and the bottom is not as crisp as I would like. Also the sauce had no carmelization. I liked the way they chopped the fresh mozz into pieces to give more coverage and the way they pull the dough. I just think they need some more work on the baking thing. Of course I will be back because I found a deal for 2 $25 gift certificates for $25 that I could not pass up. I may try their appetizer list this time.
I found this place by accident a few weeks ago on my way to my son’s new house. They are an Italian food restaurant which offers the trio of Italian fare. Pasta, Pizza and subs.
However their main bag is the buffet; $5.99 for lunch. Honestly Pat and I were dubious about this joint because we really didn’t expect much for 6 bucks. Boy were we ever wrong.
It isn’t a large buffet but the quality of the pies is excellent. Both the sauce and crust were top-notch. They offer a basic salad service and they are constantly replenishing the pizza, keeping about 8 of them on deck at all times. The man even takes requests. He made Pat a mushroom no onion and a cheese burger pie; with dill pickle; for a couple of other guys. I think that is what I liked best about Mama Nita’s the guy put out pies with different toppings; not just the traditional. Buffalo and BBQ chicken and bacon plus he wasn’t afraid to load up different veggies.
They even have bread sticks and some are stuffed with pepperoni.
I know the pictures aren’t much but you know I have issues with taking pictures of buffets. For your sweet tooth there is a small freezer at the end which holds ice cream sandwiches. Only one per customer regardless how cute you are. He also has a cinnamon pie. It is simply a pizza loaded with cinnamon sugar and topped with a white icing. Like a breakfast bun.
I thought that was great, especially hot out of the oven. Try a slice with an ice ream sandwich.
So like that adage about books and covers you should never judge a pizza joint by its pricing. Here you will get an exceptional meal as well as an exceptional value. With the senior discount lunch for 2 was $11.17 with tax. Worth the trip.
Well one more bar.Or tavern. In other words a joint that sells alcoholic beverage with food; as opposed to a joint that sells food with alcoholic beverages. I have no problem with bars or taverns. However a few weeks back someone asked me if ; as a chef ; I found some places or some food beneath me. I had never thought of that before. I just go to different places that sell food, with Pat, we eat then tell folks what we think. I don’t consider any particular food type boring or “bad” I can consider the preparation of it sub par or as Pat would say “street level”. That being said lets talk about The Free Spirit.
This joint has been at this location nearly 4 years. I believe the former owner had it on Shadeland Ave. They have excellent food and beverage specials and the prices are more than fair. The majority of their sandwiches are under $8. They also sell pizza and breakfast all day.
Pat wanted to show the char grill on his burger because when we went to the Burger Study they aggressively char grilled his burger and he thought it barely edible. And that is a fancy upscale joint that charges $11 and up for their burgers and this burger was $5.49.
I decided on a Cocky burger. That would be a burger with cheddar, bacon. BBQ sauce and an onion ring for $7.49.
This was a delicious burger. I ordered it mid rare and that was exactly how it was served. Every element of the sandwich was on point. From the toasted Brioche style bun to the crisp bacon and the battered french fries. I have paid more for a lesser sandwich.
I think this place will do well. They have great food, excellent service and enough room for a crowd. I can’t think of anything missing. It is a fun place to hang out at.
More than 7 years ago when we started this Blog we ate at Shelby Street Smokehouse in Fountain Square. At that time it was on one end of a building with End of the Line Public House on the other and a self-described lobby bar in the middle. Imbibe. Now that bar has become a restaurant and the Smokehouse only exists in the form of 2 sandwiches that are on the new joint’s menu. The pulled pork and brisket sandwiches. Since I was not really impressed with my first meeting with the brisket I opted for the pulled pork.
As you can see it is a very healthy portion and the sauce is on the side. This is a very good sandwich. It has a definitely smokiness to it. However I believe a lot of that is enhanced artificially with liquid smoke. No matter it is still a good sandwich. The price is $7.99 side included.
Side Choice: Krinkle Kut Fries, Curly Fries, Beer Battered
Onion Rings, House made Waffle Chips, Creamy Cole
Slaw, House made White Cheddar Mac & Cheese As you can see the side options are many. Also for an extra $1.99 you can get a second side, side salad or cup of soup or chile. Sorry but BBQ is not complete with out cole slaw.
My 2 sides, onion rings and slaw were excellent as well. The slaw was creamy and sweet the rings were crisp. I just wonder if they were truly hand battered in-house. Regardless they were very good.
I believe the pizza is a take away from Side Kicks pizza. A short live pizza joint that occupied the End of the Line space when they vacated.
The basic price of a 9 inch pie is $7.99 and each topping is $1.29. So all the food pricing seems reasonable. Even their beer prices are inline with most joints in the area. Five to six bucks each. I enjoyed my food very much. It is nice to see potentially empty space occupied. Also Ambrosia is working on a casual Italian restaurant in the area where the Smokehouse was. Now that would be something.
Bazbeaux is probably the first “gourmet” pizza joint in the city. That is to say the first joint to offer toppings other than pepperoni, sausage and mozzarella cheese. They opened about 30 years ago and are still pretty popular. They started in Broad Ripple and then expanded to Carmel and downtown Indy.
Patrick has long insisted that we have already reviewed Bazbeaux. My contention was no, we haven’t. We were on our way to some Mexican restaurant on the South side when Pat commented on an article from Nuvo. The article was about local pizza joints and of course Bazbeaux came up. So we decided to go there instead. We didn’t realize that this location was serving a lunch express only. That is when you stand in line to order a slice, some cheese bread or a side salad.
I believe they had 4 pizzas that day. Cheese or Pepperoni for $2.75 or a slice of Greek pizza or a BOT for $3.25. I opted for a slice of BOT; which stands for bacon, onion and tomato.
For some reason they added a chiffonade of basil on the top. Having a fresh herb on the top of a hot pie can be tasty at times but when the pie sits under a heat lamp some of the flavor is lost. The pepperoni was fine. Both slices were fine. Nothing special. A pizza may stay warm on a heated buffet and under a heat lamp but it certainly does not improve the flavor. From the size of lunch crowd this format has probably increased its business but I think the food may have suffered. Of course one could make the point that if people keep coming in what does it matter.
Should I try this joint again it will be at a location where I can get a pie made especially for me.
I am sure the name is familiar to several people. However if you can’t quite place it how about if you put the name on a truck.
Now it probably comes together. The popular food truck is now a brick and mortar on the South side. Folks that follow the food trucks know about the pizza but for the ones who don’t rest assure that this is the “real deal”. Also they have more than just pie at the shop.
Since it is so close to Pat’s house he brought the joint to my attention. Pat likes their product for the same reason most folks like it. It is good pizza and you can buy just a slice. If you want just a taste you can get a big slice for about 4 bucks. If you want more you can go the whole pie route in the form of a 16 or 20 incher. If pie doesn’t suit you try a Stromboli for $5.99. Now to me a Stromboli is a sandwich but here it is like a Calzone filled with sausage, pepperoni and cheese.
And it is huge and delicious
At first sight you might think that, as big as it is, it can’t have much filling in it. However you would be wrong. It had “stuff” in every bite. So it was big, full of cheese sausage and pepperoni and it was tasty as well. I could go on about the crust being an excellent partner to the creamy cheese and slightly unctuous pepperoni and sausage. Or the red “gravy” on the side added a wonderfully acidic note to the creation. But I will merely say it was good and oh so economical and you should try one.
So there you have it. The New York Slice. For when you are in a New York “frame of mind” and are hungry.