Checkered Flag Tavern, Indianapolis

I had the good fortune of meeting my friend  Neil Snyder for lunch recently, after not seeing each other for far too long.

He’d never dined at the Checkered Flag Tavern, and I wanted to go back and try their tenderloin, so we decided to meet there.

The Checkered Flag is a Westside Indianapolis institution.  It seems like it’s been around forever.  They HAVE been around since 1947, so I don’t think calling them an institution is hyperbole at all.

They bill themselves as a “five star dive bar” and I think that’s certainly appropriate.  Outside, they have one of the best classic neon signs anywhere, and inside is spacious and roomy.  As is to be expected with a bar just a stone’s throw from the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the decor is all racing.  Posters, car parts, signed photos, it really is like a museum in there.  I enjoy the indoor dining area, but this day we chose to eat on their patio.

I had already had the fried bologna sandwich here  (and it’s one of the best) so I wanted to try their tenderloin this day.

It’s a hearty sandwich!  Not pounded out paper thin, but still pounded out enough to tenderize it, I like the feel of the sandwich.  It’s got a nice heft to it.  Visually, it’s not the most attractive tenderloin I’ve reviewed, but the taste was quite good indeed. The meat is nice and tender, and the breading has a nice crunch to it.  The breading stayed on the meat for the life of the sandwich, no flaking off.  I do think it could’ve used a little seasoning, so I’m going to give this one a 4 out of 5 bites.

I chose fries for my side and they were pretty standard.

Checkered flag tavern is located at the corner of Washington and Morris on the West side of Indy.  You can find them at and also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Muldoon’s, Carmel, Indiana

Muldoon’s is an Irish themed bar/restaurant located in the Arts and Design district in Carmel, Indiana, a northern suburb of Indianapolis.

This is a re-review.  I’d reviewed this one quite a few years ago, and realized we’d not been back for a while, so decided to head back up there for a Saturday lunch.

In these Covid-19 times, we’re very aware of the surroundings where we eat.  I’ll say that Muldoon’s seemed to be doing a great job of keeping things cleaned, employees masked, and we felt perfectly safe there.

The breaded tenderloin is a very good tenderloin indeed!  It’s pounded out thinner than I prefer, but the flavor was outstanding. I loved the seasoning level—there was enough to know it’d been seasoned, but it didn’t overwhelm the flavor of either the meat or the breading.  The breading was nice and crunchy and stayed adhered to the sandwich, didn’t get soggy, and the meat was tender and moist.  Even though it was pounded out thinner than my personal preference, I”m going to give it a 5 out of 5 bites.  I really like this one.

This sandwich is a bit pricer than others I’ve tried—it’s 12.99 with chips.  You can upgrade to fries or a few other things for a 1.00 upcharge, or for 2.00 upgrade to a premium side. I upgraded to onion rings for 2.00, and was quite disappointed to see the order was 2(!) onion rings.  Yes, they were above average, but for an already expensive sandwich, I felt like it was an unreasonable upcharge for a sandwich that was already more expensive than others in the area.

For her lunch, Holly had their soup and salad combo, featuring their soup of the day, which was shrimp and corn chowder. If you order a salad at Muldoon’s you will be treated to a varied selection of house made dressings! Only one of their dressing offerings is not made in house.  The shrimp and corn chowder was good, but seemed to be a little light on the shrimp. Holly’s rule on names of dishes is this: if you name a dish with ingredients, you darn well better be able to taste that ingredient in the dish.

We rarely splurge for appetizers, but today we spied crackers and cheese.  The crackers were typical packaged restaurant crackers, but the cheese was aged New York white cheddar with horseradish and it was absolutely amazing.  Wouldn’t hesitate to order that again.
Muldoon’s is located at 111 W Main in Carmel, Indiana.  You can find them online at, and you can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Milky Way, Lebanon, Indiana

The Milky Way is an old school ice cream/diner type restaurant located in Lebanon, Indiana, up in Boone County just NW of Indianapolis.

It’s a small place.  They have a small inside dining area, and also a drive through with a couple of picnic tables out back where one can dine in the shade of a huge tree.  During the time we were there, it seemed the bulk of their business was drive through.

Their menu is pretty basic – sandwiches, ice cream, fries, onion rings, etc.  The menu proudly proclaims a hand breaded tenderloin, so that’s what we both ordered.

The sandwich is thinner than I prefer, but that’s a matter of personal preference.  The meat was tender and the breadinng was crispy.  It was served dressed as I requested.  

If I could think of one word to describe this sandwich, I would choose “unremarkable”.  There’s really nothing wrong with this sandwich that a little seasoning couldn’t fix, but although I liked the texture, I found the flavor rather bland.  I’ll give it a 3 out of 5 bites, an average tenderloin.

For our side, we chose the onion rings, and these were just amazing.  I’d put these onion rings up against any I’ve ever had.  Large and puffy, done to perfection, these were the star of the meal.

Lebanon Milky Way is located at 836 Indianapolis avenue in Lebanon, Indiana.  I was unable to find a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

Daredevil Hall, Indianapolis

Daredevil Hall has become one of our favorite spots in Indy.  Now that restaurants are starting to reopen in Marion county with restrictions, we are doing our best to patronize local restaurants in person. Our highest priority is safety and the safety of those around us, so we are being very aware of our surroundings.  I’m happy to say that Daredevil is taking all safety precautions seriously.  The staff was all masked and gloved, the patio tables are nicely spaced apart, and we observed constant cleaning of all surfaces.

Daredevil Hall has what I would call upscale pub food, including burgers, salads, brats, and more.  A couple of months ago, they had a breaded tenderloin as a monthly special, and it proved so popular that they decided to include it on their new menu.

This is one stellar tenderloin.  The breading is REALLY crispy/crunchy and was a wonderfully seasoned flavor.  Holly’s palate is more sensitive than mine, and she detected a hit of oregano and thyme in the breading. I appreciated the fact that the herbs in the breading were subtle – enhancing the flavor instead of overwhelming it. The meat itself was very tender and moist, and it was fried to a wonderful golden brown.  This is one stellar sandwich, holding it’s own against any I’ve had.  I give it a 5 out of 5 bites with no question.  The garlic in the garlic aioli is also quite subtle and makes a nice addition to the sandwich.  

For my side, I chose fries—my go to there, and they’re some of my favorite fries in town.

For her dinner, Holly chose the avocado smash burger. This one also has the garlic aioli, along with some julienne peppers and a generous portion of avocado. Holly also enjoys the beer selection at Daredevil. To accompany her burger, she chose a Vacation

Daredevil Hall has one of our favorite appetizers—their house made pork rinds.  Light and crispy, these are amazing and highly recommended.
Daredevil Hall is located at 2721 E 86th in Indianapolis.  You can find them online at, and you can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Dave’s Express Cafe’, Greenfield, Indiana

Dave’s Express is one of the more memorable places I’ve tried a tenderloin!  It’s a car wish with a small Cafe’.  They do have a limited amount of indoor seating, but during the time of COVID19, they were only offering carry out when we visited.

Before I go into the review, I want to say that when I have a less than stellar experience, it’s never my intent to simply “slam” a restaurant.  I want to give a fair, impartial review, and if the experience is less than stellar, I hope restaurants and staff will see what they need to improve on.

First, the sandwich.  This is a pretty good tenderloin.  It’s certainly not a fritter, and it’s the size I prefer.  I like a hearty, but not overwhelming sandwich.  It’d been pounded, but wasn’t paper thin.  The meat was moist and tenderloin and had decent flavor.

The breading, while fairly crispy, was also greasy and got soggy pretty quickly.  It wasn’t terrible by any means, but certainly noticeable.   In addition, the breading was quite bland.  A little seasoning, maybe just some salt and pepper could have turned this sandwich from average to stellar.

All in all, I’ll give this sandwich a 3—average.  If I were in Greenfield, I’d try it again, but wouldn’t drive the 35 miles again just for it.  That said–I’ve also heard good things about their burgers and I plan on going back and trying one of those.

There were some service issues with our visit.  We called our order in while we were on the way, and upon arriving saw the sign for pick up.  Unfortunately, we didn’t feel like the sign was clear exactly where to go.  We caught the eye of a couple of employees, but they kind of just looked the other way without giving any direction.  Another customer pulled up and asked if we were there to pick up food, and told us to pull into the bay/garage.  Once inside, a cafe’ employed came out and brought our food to us.  We picked up our food, went to a nearby place to eat, and discovered they had forgotten to put the rest of our condiments, which we had requested, as well as plasticware and napkins in our containers.  In addition, my fries were cold and soggy.  If you decide to do their pick up, take a moment and see that you have what you requested before you leave as we did.

Although this might come across as harsh, we’re in tough times.  Restaurants that survive are the ones that do their best to be at the top of their game, and those little touches—condiments, napkins, etc can make or break an experience.

Dave’s Express Care/Cafe’ is located at 1649 W Main Street in Greenfield, Indiana.  You can find them online at

The District Tap, Indianapolis

Please note:  This review was written pre COVID-19, so check their website for current hours and menu limitations.

We had visited the District Tap a couple of times previously, and I THOUGHT I’d reviewed their tenderloin, but apparently I had not .  We were meeting a couple of friends for lunch, and figured this was a good time to knock out another review close to home.

District Tap is located along a busy stretch of 82nd street.  It’s in a stand alone building, next to a strip mall  Long time Indy residents will recognize it as the site of the former Music Mill.

This place is HUGE, with at least one private room for events, a bar, and massive dining area.  It seems to be mostly an “upscale sports bar” theme.  Tons of TVs around, all tuned to sports.  They do feature live music on weekends and host various other events.

I chose for my lunch the breaded tenderloin, which is also available grilled.

It’s a large sandwich, but it’s not pounded out terribly thin.  Regular readers will know this is my preference, as I think a thicker sandwich gives nice layers of texture, between the bun, breading, and meat, which tends to get lost in thinner, more pounded out sandwiches.  The breading was well seasoned, the bun was well toasted and the sandwich was served dressed as requested.  The meat was tender and moist.

Personally, I found the sandwich just a bit greasier than most.  It wasn’t objectionable, but it was noticeable.  In my opinion, it doesn’t reach 5 star status, but it’s a solid 4 star tenderloin and I’d not hesitate to order it again.

They have a basic brunch menu on Sundays.  Holly chose a basic omelette that day.
District tap is located at 3720 E 82nd Street in Indianapolis.  Their website is and you can also find the on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Grindstone Public House, Noblesville, Indiana

Please note:  This review was written pre-COVID19 so check their website for current hours and menu offerings.

If you’ve been around Central Indiana for a few years, you probably remember the Clancy’s brand of restaurants, that included Clancy’s, Grindstone Charlie’s, and a few others over the years.  I’ve always been a fan of the Clancy’s brand, and was excited to learn they’ve opened a restaurant in Noblesville, called the Grindstone Public House.

Located in a restored older building, the first words that come to mind when I enter is “comfortable” and “upscale”.  It seems many restaurants are one or the other, but Grindstone Public House manages to pull both of them off at once.

As you enter, there’s a bar area and tables to your left, a dining area to your right, and there is also an upstairs dining area.  

They have a varied menu, with a few seafood dishes, steaks, appetizers and desserts.  I’ve always been a fan of Grindstone Charlie’s breaded tenderloin, so I knew right off the bat that that was what I was going to have.

This is one stellar tenderloin.  The breading is nice and crisp, and stays crispy throughout the life of the sandwich.  I appreciate the fact that the sandwich is not pounded out paper thin, allowing some “heft” to the meat.  The meat is moist and tender, with great flavor.  The breading is nicely seasoned, and the sandwich has that perfect texture combination for me—a soft bun, crisp breading, and firm meat.  There’s no doubt in my mind that this is a 5 out of 5 bite tenderloin, and I’d put it up against any tenderloin I’ve ever had.

For my side, I chose sweet potato fries.  They were good, but I think I’ll try another side next time just for variety.

We don’t do appetizers very often but opted for the fried green tomatoes.  They are served with a spicy ranch sauce, and they were simply amazing.  We wouldn’t hesitate to order those again.

Grindstone Public House is located at 101 N 10th street in Noblesville, Indiana.  You can find them online at, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Penguin Point, Cloverdale, IN (Guest review by Janie Morrison)

Tuesday I learned that the Northern Indiana fast food chain restaurant, Penguin Point, has opened a new location in Cloverdale, Indiana.
I have always been fond of their tenderloins. And I could not stop thinking about eating one.

As a kid, our family vacationed in SW Michigan and we would stop in Auburn on the way up (and back) at the Penguin Point. As a young adult, my widowed mom remarried a man who had a lake place on Lake Tippicanoe. Halfway there, in Wabash, there is a Penguin Point. It was our regular stop.

There are three in Warsaw, which is apparently their home base. One in Marion, another in Goshen. Also some in Ft Wayne, Huntington, Syracuse, Plymouth and Elkhart. And I just learned that there is now one in Louisville, KY!

So Wednesday my friend Ruby and I decided to take a road trip to Cloverdale. We are in the middle of the “Essential travel only “ restriction because of the Covid19 pandemic. I’m not sure – okay I’m pretty sure – a PP tenderloin craving didn’t fall under the essential travel guidelines. But it was a gorgeous, sunny, 80° Spring day. Cabin fever had engulfed us and a road trip seemed like a great cure!

It was 39 miles one way and so worth it!

It’s a new restaurant right off of I70 at the Cloverdale exit. We ordered our food and ate it in the parking lot. The bag our food came in said their tenderloin is 100% pork loin. I’m pretty sure they are fritters. The are bun-sized perfect round patties. They are topped with a slice of American Cheese and cabbage instead of lettuce. They don’t taste like cardboard. They have more meat than breading. Mine was actually juicy. The breading is crispy. They are just unique. I think the slaw puts them over the top.
I got their crinkle cut fries, which are so good. They were so hot that I had to blow on them to eat them. I highly recommend them.

The tenderloin is their number one seller. They are also known for their Big Walley double cheeseburger that is dressed with tartar sauce and their broasted chicken.

After I posted a review on the Pursuing Pork Tenderloins FB group, I learned that Penguin Point has new owners with derp pockets. They are planning on expanding locations. They are opening a store in North Manchester. I hope they open more in Central Indiana – preferably in the Indy area.

I don’t know how to rate this sandwich, because you can’t compare a fritter to a real hand breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. It would be like comparing apples to oranges. But there are many folks from northern Indiana that consider them an important part of their childhood memories.
Go ahead and check one out if you get a chance.

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