This place opened less than 2 years ago by Kimbal Musk the brother of Elon Musk of Tesla fame. It was the curiosity that prompted me to eat here. Musk owns a restaurant group that started in Colorado in 2004. Another brand is Hedge Row. He opened one of those on Mass Ave. prior to the opening of Next Door.
The building used to be a Double Eight grocery. A local chain that closed a few years back. It was started in the 50’s as Seven Eleven. Long before that convenience store chain started. A few years back our local chain changed its name. As a homage to a by gone era Musk incorporated a sign into their interior design.
Several Indianapolis restaurants are currently running a Devour promotion. That is when participating restaurants serve a special meal or discounted normal menu items. Next Door was offering 3 courses for $16.95. That was my original plan but I changed my mind at the last minute. I thought a 3 course lunch was too much and I was drawn to their Pineapple Express burger. That would be a Black Angus burger from local Fisher Farms on a toasted bum with fresh grilled pineapple, bacon, swiss cheese and Siracha honey.
All of their burgers and sandwiches come with chips and a “simple salad”.
I really enjoyed my burger. The bun was nicely toasted and they cooked it medium rare as I requested. That combo of sweet pineapple and smoky bacon was really excellent. The burgers are one third pound. With this particular sandwich any thing bigger would be too much.
Although this joint is not Downtown their prices are. A basic burger is $10.95. They also offer a burger that is half ground beef and half crimini mushrooms for $11.95. My Pineapple Express was $13.95. Expensive but tolerable. My Sun King beer was $6.75 and wasn’t even a pint. Across the street Scarlet Lane opened a tap room so if you feel like a couple of beers that is the place to go. I would like to follow up and try their Next Door 50/50. That is their crimini and beef mix burger. All in all I enjoyed the joint. It is attractive and has a great out door space and they cook a very good burger.
I know. Another bar. We have been going to several of these lately because we can’t find any Independent lunch joint that we haven’t already been to. I love bars, taverns, saloons; what ever you want to call them but sometimes we want something different. Actually we came here by a happy accident. The joint we were going to visit had abruptly changed their hours and stopped serving lunch during the week. The Thirsty Turtle was a place I have been by a few times and never took the time to stop.
This day they were having a very busy lunch. They were selling 50 cent wings, or maybe it was wings for a quarter. They do a wing special on Wednesday and Thursday, 50 cents one day 25 on the other. Either way it was crazy. Especially since the kitchen staff consisted of one young woman. I sat at the end of the bar and was able to see all the action in the kitchen. The work is strong in this one. She did an outstanding job and I had a grand time watching.
I wasn’t in a burger mood so I opted for catfish. I decided on “blackened” for two reasons. First I didn’t want to compound the kitchen’s fryer load. Also I was curious to see how they did it.
They had a nifty little stove and griddle combo featuring a 4 eyed stove and oven as well as the flat top. So the fish could have been prepared in a skillet or on the griddle. As you can see from the color of the fish it wasn’t really blackened. It was cooked on the flat top and seasoned with a “cajun” spice. It was still nicely done and I liked it.
I really enjoyed our lunch. It was nice to see some real kitchen work. It has been a while. It isn’t close to me but I would like to go just because the people are just so darn nice. Oh and the prices are fantastic. The food totaled $15 and my Lite bottles were 2 bucks and Pat’s Rolling Rock was $3. You won’t find that Downtown.
This joint is a diner. It started out as a donut shop and gradually it grew into a full-fledged diner. I have had their donuts before,and they are some of the best in the city. So I decided to see what else they had to offer. Their prices are more than reasonable, such as fried mushrooms are $2.99. For that money I figured they had to be the pull from a bag and drop in the fryer kind. But they weren’t.
They took larger mushrooms and cut them in quarters, covered them with a simple seasoned flour dredge and fried them up. That is why they served them for 3 bucks. They were really very good. You could taste the true mushroom and they were not at all greasy. Definitely worth ordering again.
They serve breakfast all day and from the plates I saw going out on my earlier trip they serve a big boy size breakfast. For their lunch offerings you get a choice of side. Fries,onion ring, pasta salad or a tossed green salad. Pat ordered an Italian beef sandwich with a side salad for less than $6.
I actually had a tough time deciding what to eat. I finally settled on their “unsinkable”. It is their take on a Monte Cristo. But with theirs instead of using bread they merely took the ham,turkey and Swiss cheese rolled it up with honey mustard and then battered it and dropped the whole thing in a deep fryer.
It was really pretty darn good. It looked like a Chimachanga but when you cut into it you saw the meat and cheese exploded inside. When you bit into it you could taste the ham,turkey and Swiss. Much like a crispy club sandwich.
I decided on a side of pasta salad. It was so-so. Penne pasta with a bit of broccoli and carrot and smothered with a Ranch dressing. The salad I probably wouldn’t do again,but the sandwich I believe I would. I am usually not a huge fan of fried sandwiches but this was really good.,and it too was less than 6 bucks.
I took half of my sandwich home so I could save room for donuts. Donuts are six for $3.75. So the donut prices are as reasonable as their other food. I wasn’t able to take any pictures of them but I did get this.
I think a lot of people know of this place as a place for donuts and coffee or even a full breakfast. But now you know it is also an option for lunch and diner.
Most joints have a Cuban sandwich. In one version or another.What you need first is a long roll. Call it a hoagie, baguette, or a pistolette and you are good to go. Now stuff it with a cooked pork, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles; slather on yellow mustard and. Voila; an El Cubano. I have had several in many different places and at many different times. While they have all been good sandwiches I never considered them legit. Because none had real Cuban bread. Well guess what? Taste of Havana has the real deal. The bread has a flat almost lacquered finish on the outside. When you bite into it the bread offers a little resistance and then you break into a flaky interior. It reminds me of a thick bottom pie crust. A delicious way to enclose a sandwich.
After the original encounter with the bread pastry you come to the stuff inside. They roast the pork in-house. They prepare and cook the ham on premise as well. So you won’t encounter the injected deli style “lunch meat” used by some joints. In addition to my sandwich I ordered a bowl of black bean soup for $4.25. They offer their sandwiches in 3 sizes. I believe it is small, medium and large. The size difference is all about the weight of the meat. The amount of bread stays the same. I got the mini for $6.50.
The soup was as straight forward and tasty as the sandwich. I also like the fact that they didn’t “dress” the soup with sherry, onions or sour cream like some joints do. I talked with the owner for quite a while. He gave me a taste of his yellow seasoned rice. He even gave me a pack of Sazon. the seasoning he uses. He used to use Bijol, also called the poor man’s saffron. He changed to the Sazon because in addition unlike the Bijol it had a tiny touch of saffron. But the greatest score was his Picadillo. That was one of the specials today. He gave me a taste. This was straight up delicious. The aroma was rich and deep. A complex flavor of wine, tomato and olives. Just to start. This is something he has on the board weekly. So I will be back.
I had a super good lunch and a wonderful time. This Father and Daughter team do a wonderful job, and are the most gracious pair I believe I have ever encountered. They are a great addition to Broad Ripple and I wish them all the best.
This week’s target was the Red Lion in Fountain Square. Pat and Fran had been there before so it wasn’t a complete mystery. The location is the old GC Murphy lunch counter; so it’s not too big of a space. Our server Katie told us up front she was fighting a hangover;something I’m sure we can all appreciate. I told her before lunch is over I would have to take her picture for my blog. She groaned, and then posed obligingly. However due to her frail condition at the time I won’t publish her picture; especially since I remembered to take pictures of our food. Patrick decided on a Hoosier tradition, a breaded tenderloin. He declared it a first-rate effort. A nice portion of tender meat with minimal breading; just enough to protect the flesh and offer a pleasant crunch. All their sandwiches come with fries, or you could substitute baked beans, or tater tots. They hand cut all their fries and the result is a great 7/16 skin on french fry properly fried and seasoned. Naturally I chose the meatloaf sandwich with tater tots. The meatloaf came on toasted white bread, with a little dab of gravy, Swiss cheese and topped with onion rings. The meatloaf was well-prepared however to me it was too peppery. I don’t believe it was the gravy I think it was the meatloaf. The two onion rings on top were crispy and tasty. However, the bread could have been a whole lot crisper. The slightly crisp bread coupled with the gravy made the bread more chewy then crisp. Overall I think lunch was quite good.It gives me a “hankering” for some of their more substantial fare. Like ; bubble and squeak, bangers and mash, and hot pie. However if I ever go back to that particular place is still debatable. I will explain later.
I discovered a new beer; a Triton Brown ale. Katie first told me it was a double barrel Brown from Triton. And then she told me it was Sweet Georgia Brown from Triton. In either event it was delicious.Today I went to their website and discovered all they had was a double brown, no Sweet Georgia Brown. Now I am confused. No matter, as that Shakespeare fella said that which we call a rose etc.
Now back to the buzz kill. I took pictures of our server Katie, a delightful Fat Tire neon sign at the end of the bar as well as our food. No problem. We were sitting at a deuce next to a wooden partition that separated the kitchen from the dining area,it was all of 5 foot high. When I stood to take a picture of the kitchen I was told by someone in a position of authority that picture-taking was not allowed. I thought it was funny. I asked Katie what would happen if “the big boss” caught me taking pictures. Would he confiscate my camera or what. She told me, in a joking fashion that he would “beat me up”.I had no problem with what had transpired up to that point. It was their prerogative to allow pictures or not. However they could have handled it differently. What appalled me was the fact that prior to this we got smiles and in general acknowledgment of our existence. Afterwards we were treated as pariahs.No one spoke to us or even looked at us. That led to an interesting situation in trying to get our check and pay our bill and leave. It doesn’t negate the fact that the food is decent, the prices are okay and the service is good, as long as you don’t piss off the Boss Lady. Any issue I might have with this joint is just that, my issue. The joint is worth trying. Just keep the cameras in your pocket.