Daniel's Girls Farmhouse Restaurant, Connersville, IN

Holly and I were in Connersville for a gig, and were looking for a place for dinner between dress rehearsal and the show, and stumbled upon Daniel’s Girls restaurant.

It’s a relative newcomer to the Connersville dining scene, they’ve been open slightly less than a year, it seems.  It’s quite a large restaurant, and I’d describe the decor as “comfy”. The staff is pleasant and friendly, and it appears to be very much a hometown restaurant–although it’s a gathering place for the locals, we were made to feel right at home.

The menu is what you’d expect from a small town restaurant, heavy on the comfort food, with a surprise or two thrown in.

When I spied a tenderloin on the menu, the fact that it’s offered either grilled or hand breaded sold me.

This is a good sandwich.  The breading is decent, but lacked a bit of seasoning in my opinion.  The meat was just a tad try, possibly from being overcooked just a bit. Mind you, this isn’t a bad sandwich by any stretch of the imagination.  It’s a little above average, I’d rate it a 3 out of 5 bites.  

For her dinner, Holly chose the fried haddock bites and said they were outstanding – very lightly breaded and full of flavor.
I want to give a special shout out to the staff at Daniel’s Girls.  There was a HUGE funeral dinner in the house, with very few open seats for walk in traffic.  They did a fantastic job of making sure everyone was taken care of in a timely manner, all the while maintaining a professional and friendly atmosphere.

Daniel’s Girls Farmhouse Restaurant is located at 600 N Central Ave, Connersville, Indiana. I was unable to locate a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

Charleston's, Indianapolis (Castleton location)

Charleston’s is a casual dining restaurant with a bit of an upscale bend. They have two locations in the Indianapolis area.

I thought those were the only two there are,, but they’re actually a nationwide chain, with locations in Oklahoma, Kansas CIty, and Nebraska.

It’s a huge restaurant, with lots of stone and dark wood.  The atmosphere is definitely upscale, a welcome respite from the endless miles of chain restaurants in this part of town.

The lunch menu is large, with daily and weekly specials rotating in and out.

I’d heard that they had added a breaded tenderloin to their menu,  We’d visited a few years ago and there wasn’t one on the menu. I do appreciate a chain restaurant that adds some local flavor to their menu.

This sandwich is definitely a winner.  Hand breaded and prepared in house, the meat is flavorful, moist and tender.  I really enjoyed the breading, too, and it stayed on the meat for the life of the sandwich without flaking off.  There was a nice hint of seasoning in the breading, and the sandwich was served as ordered with good attention to detail.  Definitely a 5/5 in my book.

My lunch companion was Richard Propes, and he ordered a burger.  He reports that is it a very good burger, delivered as ordered and the flavor was consistent throughout.

Our server, Jenkins, was professional and kept our drinks filled while being unobtrusive and allowing us time to visit.

Charleston’s breaded tenderloin sells for $13.00 and that includes fries, which I liked a lot.  It’s pretty pricey in my opinion for a lunch sandwich, but the atmosphere and quality of food and service made it worth it.  It woudn’t be an everyday lunch for me at that price, but more of an occasional splurge.  

Charleston’s is located at 6815 W 82nd street in Indianpolis.  You can find them at http://www.charlestons.com

Pull Up BBQ, Indianapolis

We were at an art opening at the 9 Lives Cat Cafe in Indianapolis, and were made aware of the Pull Up BBQ on Raymond Street nearby, so we decided to give it a try, and we were so happy to have our good friend Cheri Herron along with us for this visit.

Located in a small, unassuming strip mall, it’s a small place.  You walk in, look over the menu and place your order at the counter.  When the food is ready, they bring it out to your table.

It’s a small place – it MIGHT seat 25 people, and, if our visit was any indication, the bulk of their business is carry out.  I lost count of the number of people who came in and got orders to go.

It’s a pretty typical BBQ menu, with pulled pork and chicken, brisket and more.  I spied a breaded tenderloin on the menu and that’s what both Cheri and I ordered.

It’s a decent tenderloin, and it’s certainly fresh and breaded in house.  After ordering, we heard pounding in the back and can only assume it was our tenderloins!

The meat has a good flavor, the texture was good.  The breading was not quite what I’d call traditional.  I’ve been trying to think of a word to describe the breading, and the only thing that comes to mind is “Fried Chicken-ish”.  Mind you–it’s not bad. It just was a bit different that just about every tenderloin I’ve had.  

It was served dressed as requested.  I think overall, I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 bites.  There are so many good things on the menu, we’ll certainly return, but I’ll try something else.

For her dinner, Holly chose pulled pork with coleslaw and collard greens as her sides. The generous serving of pork was enough for three meals, and she claims their collard greens are exceptional – very tender and flavorful.
Pull Up BBQ is located at 2412 E Raymond in Indianapolis.  You can find them online at https://pullupgrill.com/

Keystone Diner, Indianapolis

I had the opportunity to have lunch with my dear friend Richard Propes this week, and we chose the Keystone Diner, mostly because they had a hand breaded tenderloin, and neither of us had been there before, so it gave us both a chance to snag a new review.

Located in a strip center near 52nd and Keystone, the Keystone Diner had been open as the Keystone Deli until about 18 months ago, when the current owner purchased it and turned it into a breakfast and lunch type restaurant.

Upon entering, I was struck by just how homey the atmosphere is.  There are many nostalgic signs hanging on the walls. It’s a very casual place, and it appears they have a steady, regular clientele…I observed many of the servers calling customers by name.

Those of you who know me personally probably know I have an issue with servers being too “familiar”.  The servers here were certainly familiar–they seemed to call all the customers (ourselves included) either honey or sweetie.  Here’s the thing–it didn’t seem put on. These just seemed like nice people who wanted to give a warm welcome and make sure they felt at home.  I remarked to Richard that I felt like I was in a small town diner in East Tennessee, and I certainly felt at home.

The menu is heavy on the comfort food.  Breakfast is king here, although there’s a fairly complete lunch menu, also–burgers, a hot plate or two, and a few other things.

I already knew I was going to try the hand breaded tenderloin.

This is a decent tenderloin.  It’s certainly hand breaded, and the meat was tender and moist.  It had been pounded but not TOO much, there was a nice thickness to the sandwich.  The breading, however, was a bit bland.. It seems this restaurant has a largely older customer base, and I think that’s pretty typical—nothing heavily seasoned.  It was, as I said, a decent sandwich, but it didn’t knock my socks off. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5 bites. It was served as ordered, and the steak fries that came as a side were great, and it was a sizeable order of them!

Although the sandwich wasn’t what I’d call stellar, the overall experience was very good.  Service was good, prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere was cozy. If you enjoy a small town diner atmosphere, I recommend a visit.

Keystone Diner is located at 2344 E 53rd street in Indianapolis.  I was unable to locate website for them, but they do have an active Facebook page.

That Place, Greenwood, Indiana (South Indianapolis)

I had a gig on Greenwood, and decided to head down a bit early for dinner before the show.  Someone had mentioned That Place Bar and Grill had a decent tenderloin, so we decided to give it a try.

That Place is located in a strip mall near County Line road and Emerson.  It’s a large place, with lots going on. A game room, pool tables, large center bar, and TV’s everywhere.  They also feature live entertainment, trivia, and other events on the weekends.

The menu is pretty standard bar fare.  I knew going in that I wanted to give the breaded tenderloin a try.

This is a really outstanding sandwich.  It’s quite large, but not pounded out paper thin–it’s got a nice “heft” to it.  Those of you who read my reviews on a regular basis know that I prefer a thicker, less pounded out tenderloin, and I believe this one is the perfect thickness.  It’s pounded out to tenderize it, but not paper thin. The breading was nice and crunchy, and well seasoned with great flavor. It stuck to the sandwich, and the meat itself was moist, tasty, and fork tender.  This one gets a 5/5 bites, no questions asked. The sandwich was dressed as requested, and I appreciate the attention to detail from the server. I chose onion rings as my side, and I’ll call them above average but not quite stellar.

For her dinner, Holly chose a chicken quesadilla, which she really enjoyed.
That Place Bar and Grill is located at 8810 S Emerson in Greenwood.  You can find them online at www.thatplacebarandgrill.com  and they also have a Facebook page.

Sugar Creek Brickhouse, Greenfield, Indiana

We were heading to the recording studio to do some work on a new project, and had seen this restaurant on the way previously.  Our good friend and fellow geocacher Jay Biron lives in the area, so we made plans to have dinner with him.

Sugar Creek Brickhouse is located on Highway 40, just West of Mt Comfort Road.  It’s in a brick building, and is much larger than I anticipated. It’s decorated in a vaguely industrial vibe, and it’s obvious they have a pretty loyal following in the area.

Their menu is pretty typical bar food…sandwiches, pizza, a few salads and the like.

I, of course, wanted to try their breaded tenderloin.  It’s offered grilled or breaded, and I, of course, chose the breaded.

To me, this sandwich was decidedly average.  The meat was fine, the breading had a great texture to it, but there didn’t seem to be much, if any, seasoning.  Although it wasn’t a bad sandwich, nothing made it memorable, either. I’ll give it 3 out of 5 bites, average.

For her dinner, Holly had a BBQ chicken flatbread, and it was okay, but she really enjoyed an appetizer of spicy cauliflower she shared with the gang. It was fantastic and she wouldn’t hesitate to order it again!

I do want to say a word about the service.  It was exceptional. Our server was quite pleasant and friendly, and that alone made me want to return.

Sugar Creek Brickhouse is located at 5821 W Highway 40 in Greenfield, Indiana.  I was unable to located a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

Fire by the Monon, Indianapolis

Last night, we met a group of friends for dinner at Fire by the Monon in Indianapolis.

Fire by the Monon is a locally owned, casual American food restaurant in Broad Ripple  (part of Indianapolis for those out of the area)

It’s got a very nice outside dining area, but dining outside in November in Indiana typically isn’t an option, so we dined inside.

The atmosphere I’d call comfortable and a bit rustic.  Our server, Ted, was friendly and personable, and knew the menu well, making suggestions when asked.

I’d heard about their breaded tenderloin, and knew ahead of time that I wanted to give it a try.

As you can see, this is a very large sandwich.  It’s pounded out, but not terribly thin so there’s a nice texture to the breading and the meat itself.

Although the breading and the meat had nice texture and basic flavor, there didn’t seem to be much seasoning to either, and, personally, I found it a bit bland.

The real problem with this sandwich was that the breading came off of the meat, so I basically ended up with a plate of breading and the meat on the bun.  Although it wasn’t a bad sandwich taste wise, the separation of breading and meat made it a below average sandwich for me. Add to that a $12.00 plus price tag, I’ll rate it 2 out of 5.

For her dinner, Holly chose a cup of chicken tortilla soup and the blue blazes flatbread – which is steak with blue cheese.

Although our food wasn’t quite what we expected, our overall experience was good and we’ll certainly return and try other items on the menu.
Fire by the Monon is located at 6523 Ferguson Street in Indianapolis.  You can find them online at www.firebythemonontrail.com