Fountain Square is one of our favorite neighborhoods in Indy. Over the last few years, it’s has undergone an amazing transformation, and is now a bustling area with restaurants, pubs, duckpin bowling, swing dancing, live music, and much more.
It’s always a good place to take friends who are visiting from out of town, which was the case for us Friday night. We choose the Smokehouse on Shelby partly because we’d been there before and enjoyed the food, and party because it’s in the same building as Duckpin Bowling, one of the unique things in Indy that we wanted to introduce to our friends.
Smokehouse on Shelby is a BBQ restaurant, but they have a few other things on the menu. They advertised a hand breaded tenderloin, but, frankly, I was skeptical. I’ve been to a few restaurants where they advertise a hand breaded tenderloin, and end up with a fritter. I asked our waitress about it, and she told me they do all the breading and pounding in house, so I decided to give it a try.
This is a pretty darn good sandwich! It’s decent sized without being overwhelming, and the breading is tasty and crisp. The meat is tasty, but it wasn’t as tender as some tenderloins I’ve had. And, the price is right…you get a sandwich and TWO sides (I chose fries and cole slaw) for 7.99. That’s a bargain! I’m going to give it 3.5 out of 5 bites. It’s above average but falls short of stellar.
For her dinner, Holly chose the pulled pork sandwich, also served with two sides plus fried biscuits and apple butter. For her sides, she chose the steamed vegetable du jour and seasoned & roasted Fuji apples, which are customer favorite. I kid you not; there was enough food for three meals on the plate they brought out to her! We had plenty of leftovers to take back home! And for the price of $10.99, you can’t go wrong with this smokehouse classic. Holly highly recommends the raspberry chipotle barbecue sauce. This one may be a bit too spicy for some, so a close second would be the horseradish barbecue sauce – all of the flavor with not as much heat.
I want to give a shout out to the staff at Smokehouse on Shelby. Holly made reservations because we had a larger group, and from the reservation process to the service before, during, and after the meal, everything was stellar. We’ll certainly return soon!
Smokehouse on Shelby is located right on the fountain in Fountain Square. You can also find them online at http://www.fountainsquareindy.com/smokehouse/.
Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant
When it comes to my dining experiences, there are few things I enjoy more than the playing of 50’s music in the background and, I’ll admit it, a good ole’ fashioned waitress who calls me “honey” and sounds like she means it.
I received both in abundance during a recent visit to Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant, a 50’s themed casual diner in Danville, Indiana located at 745 E. Main Street right next to Pence Automotive. Located within a few blocks of both downtown Danville and the nearby Hendricks Regional Health, Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant opened up about a year ago in one of those non-descript buildings where you struggle to remember what it used to be but think to yourself “This is perfect for an old diner.”
I’d also been looking for the perfect opportunity to write a guest column for my good buddy Rick Garrett’s “Tenderloin Connoisseur” blog, and as I was driving up to visit a relative in the nearby Hendricks Regional Health it occurred to me that this would be the perfect opportunity to relax a bit before a hospital visit, check out Corkey’s, and finally snag that long desired guest column.
When you enter Corkey’s, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a 50’s themed restaurant with checkboard linoleum flooring, the obligatory jukebox, a life-sized Marilyn Monroe figurine and constantly playing 50’s music at an easy to the ears volume that allows you to appreciate the music while still having conversations.
The waitresses, at least on this occasion, weren’t quite decked out in your traditional 50’s garb but definitely had a retro vibe with blue jeans and plaid tops and a 50’s style “come on in” attitude that instantly made me feel welcome even as a city boy in this small town just to the west of Indianapolis.
Of course, I was really here to sample the tenderloin sandwich and, much to my delight, it just so happened to be on special during my visit. The “juicy, pork tenderloin” comes standard with tomatoes, lettuce, and onion on a fresh bun with a pickle spear on the side. The special includes either french fries, a side salad or the soup of the day for $6.99. While I certainly don’t fancy myself a tenderloin expert like Rick Garrett, I had no problem choosing breaded over grilled and had no problem determining that this abundant specimen of a sandwich was “really” hand-breaded.
I’m a bit of a purist and opted to order my sandwich plain and with fries on the side along with my customary unsweetened iced tea. My iced tea arrived quickly and I settled in to enjoy the ambience and my newspaper until my food arrived.
When the sandwich arrived, I looked at it and went “WOW!” It was a far more substantial sandwich than expected with the tenderloin clearly overwhelming what is best described as a fairly basic poppy seed styled sandwich bun.
Unfortunately, this is where the “WOW!” factor really ended. While the sandwich is a better than average sandwich, the taste doesn’t quite match up to the presentation. The meat was thick but not, in fact, particularly juicy and the breading, which had a kind of southern style cornmeal taste to it, lacked the zesty flavor that I value from a truly fantastic tenderloin sandwich. The best word that I can think of to describe the sandwich is “bland.” The meat was surprisingly bland and the run-of-the-mill bun only added to the blandness.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the sandwich, but not nearly as much as I was hoping as it arrived at my table and I looked at its beautiful presentation. I’d easily give it 3 out of 5 bites. The french fries on the side were lightly seasoned and tasty. As a meal combo, the tenderloin sandwich and fries was more than enough for this hearty appetite and I found myself completely unable to even contemplate dessert options that include everything from hand dipped ice cream (at only $.99 a scoop!) to shakes, floats and your expected 50’s diner fare.
The service was for the most part stellar, attentive without being invasive. It was a joy to look around and see that the waitresses clearly took time to talk “to” their customers and not “at” them. It was clear that more than a few diners were Corkey’s regulars, and the rapport between the servers and the customers appeared to be quite genuine, light-hearted and caring. The only slight “glitch” came in needing to ask for an iced tea refill, something that should never have to happen when a restaurant advertises free refills and the server has visited my table multiple times.
Fortunately, the server was readily available and offered me a “to go” cup so I could have an icedtea with me as I readied myself for another hospital visit.
As a consumer in a wheelchair, I do always consider the “accessibility” issue when choosing my dining establishments. While Corkey’s has marked off a couple of parking spots that are clearly designed to be “accessible,” it is worth noting that they are not appropriately marked as disabledvparking and I could easily see them being taken by customers without disabilities. Entering thevrestaurant is a breeze, however, with two easy to maneuver front entry doors and a wide openvconcept restaurant that easily allows for adapting a dining experience when needed. Because thevservers were so incredibly friendly, I can easily see them offering assistance should a diner with avdisability require it.
The big questions I always ask myself as I leave a restaurant is “Will I go back?” and “Will Ivhave this meal again?”
Yes and no.
I will definitely go back to Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant. For less than $10, I enjoyedvgood food, terrific service and a fun and casual atmosphere. Corkey’s is easily worth a trip out of Indianapolis to enjoy the day in the delightful community of Danville, Indiana. If you’re there all day, you can enjoy Corkey’s for lunch then head into downtown Danville to enjoy the beloved Mayberry Cafe for dinner. That’s what I would call the absolutely perfect day.
Corkey’s offers a rather delightful menu ranging from your usual 50’s diner fare to such southern comfort favorites as country fried steak, beef manhattan, meatloaf and more. The next time around, I’ll probably try myself a burger or I may even go all out and check out the meatloaf.
Holly and I had heard of the Route 67 Bar and Grill from several friends, and we were looking for the opportunity to try it. We seldom get out to Mooresville, but we had a meeting with some folks so this was the perfect chance.
The Route 67 Bar and Grill is located in a little strip mall, very close to Grey’s cafeteria. It’s not terribly convenient to get to…you have to cut across a gas station parking lot to get to it, but it’s worth the effort.
Upon entering, the first thing I saw was a very large aquarium, a nice touch! The bartender greeting us warmly, and we were shown to a table for dinner and to conduct our business.
I have to say…I’m seldom felt as welcomed in a restaurant as I did here. The folks really seemed to appreciate the fact that we chose their place for dinner. That, alone, makes me want to return and patronize them again.
On the menu, they advertise their “big, sexy tenderloin”. You can get it either breaded or grilled, and, of course, I chose the breaded version.
This is one HUGE tenderloin. And it’s perhaps the biggest bun I’ve ever seen in my life. Seriously. I’m not sure the scale of this sandwich comes through in the photograph, but you’d better be hungry if you intend on eating it. Better yet, plan on sharing.
This sandwich is certainly hand breaded. Not only is it huge, it’s thick, also, which is my preference. It LOOKS good….however, there’s a problem. When the sandwich came out, it was already starting to get soggy. Maybe not terribly so, but enough to detract from the taste and texture. That’s the problem with a huge sandwich….keeping it fresh and crisp in almost unmanageable.
The meat was tasty, but the sogginess of the breading certainly took away from that. Don’t get me wrong….it wasn’t terrible. It just wasn’t great. On a scale of 0-5 bites, I’ll give it 2.5, just average.
For her meal, Holly chose the Black and Blue Salad. She ordered the steak medium and it came out just as she had asked. The dressing (blue cheese) was good and as an added bonus, they put blue cheese crumbles on as well, which took an above average black and blue salad to the next level! It was the perfect size – an excellent dinner salad she said she wouldn’t hesitate to order again.
All in all, it was a very good experience. The service was outstanding, the price was right, and the atmosphere was warm and friendly. We’ll certainly go back. Be aware, they are 21 and over, and they are a smoking restaurant. However….I DO believe this was the least smoky of any smoking restaurant I’ve ever been to.
Route 66 Bar and Grill is located at 600 S State Road 67 in Mooresville, Indiana. They have a website at: http://route67barandgrill.biz/
Copper Still is a combination pub/sports bar/family dining restaurant on the Northeast corner of the Noblesville town square.
I’m a fan of this business model. It’s a good place to go if you’ve got family or friends who are under 21 to gather and watch a ball game or just socialize in a warm, inviting atmosphere. As an added bonus, they have live music on weekend nights.
Although many of the items on the menu are pretty typical bar food, nearly all of them have a twist of some kind, bringing them up a notch. That’s a nice touch.
Of course, I was there to sample their hand breaded tenderloin, and that’s what I ordered.
This was a pretty good sandwich….but it wasn’t outstanding. It certainly was hand-breaded, as advertised, but the breading seemed to lack any seasoning at all. If I could sum up the breading in one word, it would be “bland”. The meat was good, but, again, not outstanding. The sandwich was served dressed exactly as requested. Overall, I’ll give it 3 out of 5 bites…average.
I had a side order of onion rings, and these were VERY good. I’d not hesitate to order these again.
For her meal, my wife chose the veggie burger. It was well seasoned and tasty, but pretty average as far as veggie burgers go.
Our friend Barrie and her husband Wes who were dining with us that evening chose the wings, and Holly and I both agree that they were simply outstanding. The wings are not breaded, but instead coated with a crust of spices. Not just dry rub…there is a little bit of oil in the mix to keep the spices intact. But the flavor and texture was amazing. I’ve never had wings quite like that before.
All in all, it was a positive experience, and we’ll certainly be back. Conner Station is located at 917 Conner Street in Noblesville, Indiana. I was unable to locate a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.
Gallagher’s II is a restaurant/pub/music venue on Southport road, on the south side of Indy.
From the parking lot, it looks rather unassuming, but once you get inside, it’s HUGE! There is a nice bar area, two separate dining rooms on the ground level, and a very large upstairs dining area, and a patio that appears to get a lot of use in warm weather. It appears they could comfortably seat a couple hundred…or more….people here. There’s a nice stage, and the dining areas are well lit and comfortable, and it’s an all-ages venue. This is a huge plus in my music….a place where an entire family can come out and enjoy music, comedy, or some other art form.
The menu is pretty complete, with sandwiches, burgers, pizza, steaks, and more.
The list a hand breaded tenderloin on the menu, and that’s exactly what I was there for.
It’s a nice sized sandwich. Lately, I’ve become fond of smaller tenderloins, where I leave pleasantly full. This sandwich fits that category. It’s obviously hand made, and that’s another big plus in my book.
If I had to give this sandwich a one word review, it would be “good”. It was a good sandwich. However, I was expecting a GREAT sandwich, and that just wasn’t to be. Everything about this sandwich was average, or, at best, a little above average.
It WAS served dressed exactly as I requested, so they earned high marks for paying attention to detail.
I chose fries as my side, and these were quite good. I’d not hesitate to order them again.
My wife, Holly, chose the blackened cajun grouper. She says it was really good – nice flavor and seasoned well. She chose a side salad and steamed vegetables as her sides. Unfortunately, they do not currently offer any reduced fat or low calorie salad dressings. The great part about the grouper is that you can have it seasoned with lemon pepper or cajun and you can have it as an entrée (which is what Holly chose) or on a hoagie style sandwich. This was a good, solid meal for a bar/restaurant.
All in all, this was a good enough experience that we’ll certainly stop back in when we’re back on the south side of town, but not good enough that we’d make the drive back down from the far north side just to go to this establishment.
Gallagher’s II is located at 2310 W Southport Road in Indianapolis. You can find them on Facebook.
We’d heard for years about The Friendly Tavern in Zionsville, and how legendary their tenderloins were, but our schedule hadn’t permitted us to stop in, until this past weekend.
We were playing at the Zionsville Farmers Market (a very fine market, worth the drive up there), and decided to take advantage of being in the area and have lunch at the Friendly.
The Friendly is on the main shopping street of downtown Zionsville, and, from the outside, looks rather small, like a neighborhood tavern.
Upon entering, however, this place is huge! Two separate dining areas, lots of nice, dark wood, and very homey feeling.
We got there just as they opened, and there was only one or two other parties dining. However, by the time we finished with our lunch, the place was hopping.
Of course, I ordered their hand breaded tenderloin, and, as everyone else has said….it was just fantastic! The breading was nice, light, and crunchy. The meat itself tasted fresh, was moist, and seasoned just right. The bun was nicely toasted, and the sandwich was served dressed as I requested. This one is certainly a 5 out of 5 bites.
I chose fries as my side, and they were good. Not the best I’ve ever had, but I’d say better than average.
For her meal, Holly chose a side salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing, and an order of their Apple BBQ chicken wings. Now, don’t let the price scare you off. An order will set you back $10.99. BUT…she got enough wings in her order to have a satisfying lunch and take leftovers home for BOTH of us to have dinner that night, along with some fresh grilled sweet corn we scored from the farmers market! Holly says she typically doesn’t care for breaded wings because it tends to distract from the meat. But these were very fine indeed!
The Friendly Tavern is located at 290 S Main Street in Zionsville, Indiana. I was unable to locate a website for them; however, they do have a Facebook page.
The Georgetowner Draft House is pretty much like stepping back into Old England – which seems rather out of place in Fortville, Indiana. But it works.
We’ve been to the Georgetowner a few times before, and it was pretty good….good enough that we always went back when we’re in the area. I had heard through the grapevine that they had a new chef, so we decided to drop in when we were in Fortville attending a wedding.
The menu advertises a hand breaded tenderloin, and I asked our friendly and helpful waitress if it truly was hand breaded, and she said that it is hand cut, hand pounded, and hand breaded, in house. Well, that was good enough for me.
It appears that is certainly the case with this tenderloin. The meat was tender, moist, and tasty. The breading was nice and crisp, and blended perfectly with the tenderness of the meat. The bun was toasted perfectly, and the fries that came with the sandwich were darn near perfect. I’m going to give this one a 5/5 bites. It’s worth the trip.
One thing I REALLY liked about this tenderloin was that it wasn’t the size of a hubcap. You left knowing you’d had a hearty meal, without feeling bloated. And, yes, I DO realize I can take half a tenderloin home, but they’re never as good on the second day.
For her entrée, Holly chose the Fish and Chips that were on special. For $6.99 you get two pieces of deep fried cod, a generous serving of seasoned fries and cole slaw. The fish was excellent – fried to perfection, as were the fries. The dressing for the poppy seed cole slaw is the chef’s own recipe. And let me tell you something…it is TO DIE FOR! I’m not a big fan of heavy dressing on cole slaw anyway, so this was a pleasant surprise. And the flavor was BEYOND my expectations! I would return there any time JUST for the slaw! But that’s not the end of my culinary adventure! I had eaten most of my fries, devoured my cole slaw, except for a bit of the outstanding dressing, and the waitress came over to clear the plates. Then she said, “Are you going to dip your fries in the cole slaw dressing?” I looked up at her as if that were a foreign concept to me. Honestly, I hadn’t given it a first thought. But I said what the heck…and boy, I am GLAD I DID! What a great combination! She said, “Yeah, I do that all the time!” I suggested that they sell an order of fries topped with the amazing cole slaw. Yes…it was THAT GOOD.
So if you stop by the Georgetowner and see that on the menu, remember where you heard it first!
And, I have to say, the price was right! I had a sandwich, fries, and a diet coke, Holly had a full meal and a beer, and our bill was 20 bucks. Service was outstanding and we felt right at home here. We’ll beback to the Georgetowner, and soon.
The Georgetowner Draft House is located at 215 S Main Street in Fortville, Indiana. You can find them online at http://www.georgetownerdrafthouse.com
Rokafellow’s Hall is a music/entertainment venue in downtown Pendleton, Indiana. It’s a very cool place. There’s a HUGE stage, a couple of pool tables, a few TV’s, tables, and booths. It’s long and narrow….I’m not sure how many people it holds, but it’s a lot. And it’s a non-smoking music and entertainment venue, something as an entertainer AND a customer that I appreciate!
I had some new comedy material I wanted to try, and they have a Sunday night open stage, so I decided to get something to eat. My personal philosophy….if a place is going to provide a stage for me to work out my new material, whether it be comedy or music, then I should patronize them. So, we decided to get something to eat while we were there.
Being a small town bar, they have a fairly limited menu: wings, nachos, a couple of salads, some sandwiches, and the like. I noticed that they had a breaded tenderloin on the menu, and honestly, I thought it would be a fritter. I asked our server, a very nice young man named Sean, if it was a fritter, and he said “No, everything here is hand-made”.
OK, let’s give it a trThis tenderloin comes dressed with a whole bunch of stuff…tomato, lettuce, pickle, and more….items I don’t normally get on a tenderloin sandwich. It ALSO comes dressed with “maple bacon jam”. Maple Bacon jam? On a tenderloin? That sounds….interesting. And something I wasn’t quite sure about. Sean told us that the chef makes his own maple bacon jam, so I figured, what the heck…I’m going to break from my tradition and get the sandwich dressed like they offer it.
The meat is obviously fresh, it’s moist and flavorful, just like it should be. The breading was a little different than many I’ve had, but it was VERY good. And that maple bacon jam? All I can say is WOW. That’s some good stuff. Mixed with the fresh meat, nice breading, lettuce, tomato, pickle….this is one VERY good sandwich.
I’m going to give Rokafellow’s Hall a 4.5 out of 5 bites. Most of that ½ star off comes from it being non-traditional, that’s all.
Holly chose the nachos with no meat, and they came as ordered – vegetables on top with additional toppings on the side. The cheese was a sauce, which was okay, but Holly prefers shredded cheese. There wasn’t anything spectacular about these…just your basic order of nachos.
Rokafellow’s Hall is located at 104 W State Street in Pendleton, Indiana. Although they’re non-smoking, they are 21 and over only. They DO have a nice selection of local and regional beers, also.
I was unable to find a web page for Rokafellow’s, but they do have a Facebook page where you can view their entertainment schedule.
Wolfies Grill is a locally owned bar/grill/restaurant with 3 locations: Noblesville, Fishers, and Carmel. The Carmel location opened a couple of years ago, and it’s pretty close to where we live, and we’ve been wanting to try it ever since, We finally had the chance last week.
Located in one of the several strip mall type buildings near 116th and Keystone, it’s very attractive from the outside…and it’s MUCH larger on the inside than it looks from the outside. It’s another restaurant that’s done in an outdoorsy motif. Very tastefully done, it’s warm and welcoming from the moment you step through the door.
We visited at 5:30 PM on a Thursday night, so we were prepared to wait…..but Wolfies was virtually empty. No other parties seated in the dining room, and 2 or 3 folks at the bar, that was it.
The hostess greeted us warmly and showed us to our seat, and the waitress took our drink order and left our menus with us. Upon perusing the menu, I saw they offer a hand breaded tenderloin, so I decided to give it a chance.
However, I wish it had tasted as good as it looked. Don’t get me wrong…this wasn’t a BAD sandwich…it just wasn’t a terribly GOOD sandwich. The breading was crispy, yes, but it had no seasoning or flavor to speak of. The same can be said about the meat. It appeared to be fresh, but very bland.
The sandwich was served as I requested, and I appreciated the server’s attention to detail on that.
I’ll give Wolfies breaded tenderloin sandwich a 2.5 out of 5 bites….just average.
For my side, I chose the hand-made chips, and I’ll say those were simply outstanding! Seasoned will with a nice kick to them, I wouldn’t hesitate to order them again.
For her meal, Holly ordered the Fiesta Fish Wrap – cooked tilapia filets wrapped in a wheat tortilla with tortilla strips, chipotle mayo, corn salsa, tomatoes, and shredded lettuce. The wrap comes with a side of tortilla chips and salsa, which she opted to keep as her side. There are different sides available for an upcharge, but since “Fiesta” was the theme, the chips and salsa seemed fitting. Holly is sorry to report that her meal was simply average as well. The most disappointing part was that there didn’t seem to be much fish on the wrap. It tasted okay, but it wasn’t outstanding. And the chips and salsa were simply average. In fact, the salsa obviously came from a jar or can, which, in Holly’s opinion is simply a notch below average.
We opted for dessert when the waitress mentioned they had blackberry cobbler. It was….like both of our meals, just average. At 6 bucks for what we perceived to be a VERY small portion, we won’t be ordering that again.
Generally, the service was good, but, after our meal, when the server dropped off our check, she just disappeared. It took her what seemed like forever to return. Not a very good end to a just average experience.
All that said, since Wolfies is a locally owned restaurant, we are willing to give them one more chance and see if things improve.
Wolfies is located at 116th and Keystone, in the Merchant’s Square area. You can find them online at http://www.wolfiesgrill.com
Dear John’s is a neighborhood pub located on the East side of Indianapolis. It’s nestled in an older, small, strip mall and appears pretty generic from the outside.
Inside, it’s a long, narrow building that looks just like, well, a neighborhood bar. It’s got Colts and Pacers posters on the wall, some Purdue and IU items, a jukebox and a few video games.
As you enter, the first thing you’ll see is the carry out area, which looks kind of like a liquor store. Then you enter the bar area, and then a somewhat separate dining area.
The menu is pretty much standard bar fare; sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and on Saturday nights, a steak special. When I saw that they offered their tenderloin either breaded or grilled, I assumed it would be hand breaded and chose that.
And, indeed, it appears to be hand breaded. The breading is nice and crispy and doesn’t get soggy. The breading not only has a good texture, it was quite tasty also! The sandwich isn’t greasy at all, and was cooked perfectly.
The meat was pounded out a little thinner than I prefer, but not TOO much…just a little. I can live with that. However, the meat was pretty dry and bland. This COULD have been a VERY good tenderloin if a better piece of meat was used. The way it stands right now, I’d give it 3 out of 5 bites….a little above average. The sandwich was served dressed exactly as I requested, and the service was very good indeed.
I MUST say a word about the onion rings. I’m even going to include a photo! They’re different than any other onion rings I’ve ever had, and they were quite tasty. I’d certainly order them again. If you order them, you’d better be very hungry or prepared to share them. There is a LOT of food here.
For her meal, Holly chose a basic grilled chicken sandwich with tomato and onion. She chose a garden salad with fat free Italian dressing for her side. The sandwich came dressed as requested. The chicken was well seasoned and flavorful. There was nothing outstanding here, just good, basic bar food.
Dean John’s Pub is located at 7941 E 30 but they do have a Facebook page.
street in Indianapolis. I was unable to find a website for them,