If you are an aficionado of neighborhood bars, you should definitely put this on your list.Pat and I have stopped in there a few times for beers but this is the first time we ate. We always enjoyed ourselves. Nice place,friendly crowd. Especially as it gets closer to race time. After all the 500 Track is just up the street. However their beer selection is limited to draft Silver Bullet and domestic bottles. But the prices are right.
They serve breakfast all day and that is a plus. The lunch/dinner menu is pretty typical bar although they do have a few atypical items. For example they offer both home-made chili and beef stew year round. They also have fried chicken livers. I love chicken livers but I’m not supposed to eat them. You know fat, cholesterol and all that stuff. So I tried their signature Spanish Burger. That is an 8 ounce patty of seasoned beef and onion that is baked, meatloaf style. It is then placed on a toasted bun and smothered with their Spanish Sauce. Which is a tomato based sauce with green pepper and redolent with cayenne pepper. The burger itself was pretty good. Nicely made and nicely textured. It was difficult to taste the seasoning of the meat due to the spiciness of the sauce. If you like a high level of heat then you will probably like this. Personally my taste buds have gotten pretty Gringo-fied;since my return to Indiana. Also I think it could use some different types of chile pepper in addition to cayenne. All in all it was a pretty good sandwich for 6 bucks. That’s with choice of fries or a bag of chips.
Pat ordered a grilled tenderloin. Like a lot of joints they beat out their own with a mallet. He found it to be tender and tasty. Like a lot of tenderloin in a lot of places. He did particularly enjoy the made in-house made cole slaw. It had no onion. Patrick’s kryptonite. It too was $6,with choice.
Since 1911 whenever you wanted a bowl of home-made stew you went to John’s.To say it is an Indy Icon is an understatement.I haven’t had John’s since they had a place in Irvington;and that was quite a while ago.The stew they serve today is just as tasty;just as delicious as it was 30 years ago.And don’t let anyone tell you that stew is only a cold weather food.A bowl of good stew is appropriate food year round.And from the size of the crowd we’re not the only ones that feel that way.John offers his 3 ways;mild,medium or hot.Pat got a medium I wussed out and opted for the mild.Regardless of which style you order you will receive a big bowl of savory gravy,filled with big chunks of carrot and potato.And sitting right in the middle of this gravy sea was Big Cow Island.A huge chunk of beef about 1/2 the size of a man’s fist.And everything was so tender you could use a spoon;no knife or fork required.Pat offered that the last time he had stew this good was at Nick’s in Bloomington.It was a one time special;and he still remembers it after nearly 40 years.So that should tell you something about John’s stew;or something about Pat;I’m not sure which.They don’t just offer bowls the also can give you burgers smothered with stew.Or mashed potatoes;or stuffed peppers;or cabbage rolls.You might say they are rather stew-centric.But they also offer regular burgers,tenderloin and salads if that is more to your liking.So needless to say if you ever develop a “hankering”for a memorable beef stew, now you know where to go.A bowl of meaty history for only 8 bucks;how can you go wrong?
After lunch we decided to head to West Morris Street and have a beer at Slammin’ Sammies.If you haven’t heard of it don’t feel alone neither have I.This my friends is a true neighborhood dive bar.One thing for sure people are friendly here.As we were walking in from the lot there were 2 gentlemen standing out side sharing a cigarette.One was about age 60 the other 50.The smoke had no filter so my guess was it was a Lucky Strike.The bar serves domestics only;12oz.for $2.50 and quarts for $4.25.So we spent maybe an hour drinking our big and little beers chatting with the home boys.All of them seemed as though they had started fighting sobriety early that day.The joint has a band stand and they offer live music on weekends.That should be a trip.The music played on the juke box was certainly eclectic.From Eminem to Waylon Jennings.From Ludicrous to David Alan Coe;with a few lesser known(to me)Rap and Country artists thrown in as well.As I said;a trip.
Under the category of old beers that are new again,Pat discovered one:Hudepohl;or Hudie for short.I think it was originally brewed in Cincinnati,Ohio.It had some popularity in Hoosier land 30 or so years ago;I don’t recall the last time I saw it in a liquor store or bar.But then I don’t think I ever went out searching for it.If this is a new “crafty”generation I think they done good.It starts out with a hoppy caramel taste,the finish is very hoppy;almost bitter,in a good way.At Dinner Bell on South Shelby you can pick it up for $3.49 for 6 or $12.00 for 24.So a pretty good beer for a good price.Such a deal.