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.
Usually when I see Suite in an address for a restaurant I figure it is one slot in a big building in a strip mall. Well this place is in a slot, a tiny one at that. However the big building only has 2 businesses. Turf’s on the far end and a big old muffler place. I would guess it is in a quasi industrial use area. Unusual for a restaurant but not so for a caterer. The place is 90 percent kitchen with minimal space for sitting and ordering and the walk in cooler on the outside. Another thing they have is exceptional food.
I learned of this place from a food blog. The writer was really excited about the grilled cheese and the Crogue as well as the pimento cheese. Everything was very tempting but I opted for the short rib sandwich and a side of pimento cheese. The picture of the menu board isn’t that legible so at the end I am including a scan of the menu. They have a very impressive set of side dishes at a more than respectable price.
Their pimento cheese was wonderful. Creamy and cheesy. Some of the best I have had,and with their homemade bread it could be a meal all by itself.
The short rib and cheese sandwich was excellent as well. Super rich and with a sweetness from the red onion jam that would make it an excellent dining companion with an IPA. Alas they only offer soft drinks. I especially liked the char they put on the bread. That always adds a new dimension of flavor.
Pat was really excited about this place once he was told that he could substitute on their menu.
As the sign noted they have only been open since 2013. Their main bag is catering so I am glad they decided to serve lunch during the week. Since they are caterers I am sure they have a propensity for fresh product more so than the average restaurant. I am in full agreement with Pat. Anyone planning on a catered affair with these guys, let us know.
This is the oldest craft brewery in the state,opening in 1990. It was modeled after an English Pub. It is a series of several connected rooms,wood-paneled and rather dark. Just the right atmosphere for sipping ESB and single malts,not so much for picture-taking.
Pat and I have both been here before. I just never felt compelled to write about it because;frankly I thought the joint was a bit boring. Not bad just not too interesting. Well they have changed their menu and have added a couple of new and exciting brews so I thought today would be a good day to review the Papa of Hoosier brewing. They have always had a good selection of vegetarian dishes and with the new menu they offer even more. The also added a cheese curd appetizer for $8.75.
These were just plain good. A nice size with just the slightest outside crunch to offset the mozzarella cheesiness inside. I think these are possibly the best in town.
Pat ordered a Pub BLT for $7.95. You could get it with Applewood smoked bacon or veggie coconut “bacon”. For 2 bucks you can add Braunschweiger as well.
I was intrigued by the Thai spiced Pork sandwich,for $10.
Marinated in our ESB and slow braised with cumin, Chinese Five Spice and fresh ginger, flat grilled on toasted baguette with shredded carrots, spicy cucumbers, fresh cilantro and mayo. 10.00
Sound really great doesn’t? Unfortunately it reads better than it eats. The bread was hard,the meat was dry and offered little flavor. If they were trying to offer a version of a Bahn mi I can think of a few ways they could have pulled it off better. I also decided on a side of onion rings which were okay. Thin slices of onion simply coated and fried. Nice but nothing to shout about.
The beers were great. The stars of the line were two cask ales. A red and an ESB. Both were very drinkable. Pat tried a mix of the two. Pretty tasty. If you are a beer drinking vegetarian this may be the place for you. They have a nice new menu on their website so one bad sandwich won’t deter me from going back.
Well Ember has a new menu, and it looks pretty good, so I had to give it a try. Of course I had to go solo. Pat is the only lay about I know, and he had stuff to do. The rest of my friends are all busy with jobs. Lunch out on a beautiful day is special, even when you’re by yourself. And this time I remembered my camera.
I started out with a cup of their Wandering Chili. Yesterday it was sweet BBQ chili with smoked brisket. A chili purist ( Texan ) would undoubtedly throw up their arms in disgust because, not only did it have BBQ sauce in it the meat was in cubes and it had beans. The horror. Classic or not I thought it was pretty tasty. Sweet at the start, earthy chili flavor in the middle and a taste of smokiness from the meat. A great way to start a lunch. Especially paired with a pint of Fountain Square’s Working Man’s Pilsner.
For the main part of my lunch I decided on a Cuban Press. As you can see they added in-house smoked pork to the menu. No Hoosier could pass on smoked pig. For my side I opted on a side salad with a Dijon vinaigrette. The veggies were fresh and the dressing was first-rate. They did make a slight change on the salads. Before they had a Simple Spring Salad as a side option, featuring spring mix and romaine lettuce. Some of the folks wanted more romaine so they added a side salad with all romaine. Go figure.
Their version of the Cuban is really quite good and at $8.75 with a side more than reasonable. The pork was very tender and the smokiness fit very well with the other ingredients. Unlike some joints that use a yellow ball park mustard they use Dijon. Which set the tone for the sandwich from the beginning. Their choice of bread was spot on as well. A slight tooth and a nice density. A sammich is only as good as the bread.
Well ladies and gentlemen the third review of Ember Urban Eatery comes to a close. It’s just going to keep getting better.
Well guys there’s a new joint on Virginia Ave. It’s similar to a lot of new joints, in that it sports a lot of wood, granite and shiny new equipment. I think the Ember , with its use of warm colors, projects a more cozy atmosphere than most.
Their menu is a single sheet of paper which keeps it simple to start and allows them to change it without a huge cost. It also is one heck of a lot easier to peruse than the encyclopedia some joints offer. They have a smoker which they use for wings and brisket. So that separates them from a lot of places around.
Since Thursday was such a miserable, cold and snowy day I decided I needed a cup of hot soup to start. Their SOD didn’t trip my trigger but they did offer chili. Or in this case Wandering Chili. Now that means they change it on whim. One day “traditional” with ground beef, another day chopped brisket or maybe chicken chili. That day it featured ground beef and beans. Maybe more traditional but not quite typical. It was a tasty mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and chile powder. Very good and definitely on point for the weather.
Their burgers are 1/2 pound, hand formed patties of a mixture of brisket, round steak and short rib. They cook them to order and serve them on a toasted brioche bun with choice of side for $8.50. I ordered mine medium rare. Well the kitchen guy goofed and it came out well done. One of the owners, who was also our bartender , was very apologetic and adamant about giving me a recook. Well hard-headed me was just as adamant to keep it. I kept it and the funny thing, as it grew cooler more of the flavor of the beef came out and as the Swiss cheese warmed the tastier it became. Now I am determined to go back and try the burger at a more civilized temperature. Besides, their draft beer system wasn’t up and the owner graciously took the burger off the bill.
So it appears the New Year is off to a good start. A new joint is up and running and appears to definitely be a keeper. And more are on the way. Eating places, breweries and even a distillery. And you can expect Pat and I to keep you all informed. Happy New Year.http://www.emberurbaneatery.com/