Those of you who know me personally know that I’m a HUGE fan of the Andy Griffith Show. My office has Andy Griffith art on the walls, I watch the show nearly every day, and can talk right along with the dialogue.
We’re fortunate to have The Mayberry Café about 45 minutes away from home, in the town of Danville, Indiana. Holly had a music gig in Danville, and it gave us the perfect chance to visit The Mayberry Café for dinner.
Of course, the place is Mayberry themed, complete with a Mayberry squad car parked outside. The walls are lined with photos and posters of The Andy Griffith Show, and multiple TVs show episodes of the show while they’re open.
The service is very friendly and down home, and, to us, it seemed very genuine. It appeared the servers truly enjoyed their job, and did a fine job of interacting with the customers without being intrusive.
The menu features what I call “down home” cooking…meatloaf, fried chicken, and so on. There also are several burgers on the menu, as well as a few Italian dishes…perhaps in homage to the “Dinner at 8″ episode.
I saw the breaded tenderloin on the menu, and asked the server, “Is it a REAL breaded tenderloin, or a fritter”, and she replied “We get that question a lot, and it IS a real tenderloin”.
Well, that was enough for me. I ordered it…and I’m glad I did.
The taste and texture were fantastic. Fresh pork, and the breading is wonderful. Nice and crispy, and it stayed crisp throughout the life of the sandwich. I ordered my sandwich, as always, with ketchup, mayo, and onion, and they didn’t skimp on the onion, a big plus in my book. The bun was nicely toasted, although there was nothing special about the bun itself.
The ONLY downside to this sandwich is that it was pounded out just a bit thinner than my preference. The taste and texture were perfect, only it being just a bit too thin for my personal taste kept it from being a 5 out of 5. I’m going to give it a 4.5…VERY good, and well worth the drive.
Holly chose Aunt Bea’s fried chicken. She was surprised to learn that the chicken was *not* bone-in! Not a minus, just not expected. The breading was wonderful and although it was all white meat, it was tender and juicy. Home-style mashed potatoes and gravy with green beans were her sides – both reported to be comfort food at its finest.
The Mayberry Cafe is located at 78 W Main Street in Danville, Indiana. I was unable to locate a web page for them, but they do have a Facebook page.
One of the great challenges of reviewing food is to be completely fair, all the time. It shouldn’t matter if I like the place, or the people that work there, or the atmosphere…what should matter is the food. It should stand on its own merits.
Such is the case with this review. If I was in a crowd of thousands of people, and someone said “raise your hand if you like Waffle House”, mine would probably be the first hand up. I love, love, LOVE the Waffle House. Whether it’s late at night, after a music gig, or early in the morning on the road, or even dinner…it’s my “go to” place when I want comfort food and a slice of Americana.
However, there’s a caveat there. There are some things that Waffle House does very, very well. And, there are some things that, if you try them, you’ll be sorely disappointed. And, in my mind, the breaded tenderloin was one of those.
Our business took us to the west side of Indy recently, and I was craving Waffle House. We arrived at the restaurant, and when I checked in on Foursquare, there was a tip….”One of the best tenderloins ANYWHERE”. I took it with a grain of salt, but asked our capable waitress “Is this a REAL tenderloin, or a fritter?”, and she replied “Trust me…it’s a REAL tenderloin”. So I decided to give it a try.
All I can say is, “trust me…it’s a REAL tenderloin”. No pre processed, frozen patty, this is the real deal. It’s pounded out just a bit thinner than I prefer, but that’s a matter of personal preference. The breading is really, really good. Nice and crunchy, and the balance of the texture of the breading to the texture of the meat is very good. The meat is quite tasty, and, obviously, fresh. I was very, very surprised at the quality of this tenderloin.
The sandwich was served dressed exactly as I asked, and there was only 1 (minor) detail. Being a bit too thin for my taste, it didn’t give the right texture. Not terrible, but not quite right. Had it been a bit thicker, there would’ve been the nice crunch of the breading, and the nice moist tender meat, but, pounded so thin, it all came out at once, and that’s not my preference. And, since it’s MY blog, it’s my call. I’m going to give it 4 out of 5 bites. It’s not the best I’ve ever had, but it’s well above average and worth a stop when you’re on the West side.
Just one note: I’m not sure if ALL Waffle House breaded tenderloins are like this…so I’m basing my review ONLY on the West Washington street location.
The West Washington Street Waffle House is located at 3815 W Washington in Indianapolis. Oddly enough, this location doesn’t show up on the www.wafflehouse.com website.