Fort Ben Pub, Indianapolis



We were headed out to Ten West Center for the Arts for a rehearsal, and I was looking for a tenderloin that I’d not tried on the east side.  Someone recommended the Fort Ben Pub, located at 56th and Post.

In its former life, the Fort Ben pub had been a Taylor’s Pub, and Holly and I actually had hosted Karaoke there on Saturday nights.  It’s been Fort Ben Pub for 5 years now, so it’s been longer than that since we were there, and I honestly don’t remember trying the tenderloin when we were there before.

Fort Ben Pub is tucked in behind a CVS, and isn’t very visible from either 56th Street or Post road.  It’s obvious they have a lot of long time regulars, because it’s not a place on just stumbles upon.

It’s a smaller pub and it strikes me as sparking clean…everything is neat and in order.  There’s a nice dining room/bar in the front, and a game room in the back with a couple of pool tables, a dart board, and such.

The menu is a pretty standard pub menu….burgers, sandwiches, wings, and the like.  Of course, I already knew I wanted to try the tenderloin.


According to our waitress, they’re done in house, and when I cut a corner off of it to sample it, I was amazed at how tender the meat was.  It cut VERY easily with even a butter knife.

The taste was just as amazing as the texture….this sandwich is perfectly seasoned, and for me, it’s the right size.  It’s not so huge that one struggles to finish it, but it’s big enough to be a really hearty meal.  It’s served on a bun that was lightly toasted and the condiments were supplied just as I requested.  From taste to texture and everything in between, this stacks up against any tenderloin in town.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars….just stellar.

It sells for 7.99 and that includes homemade chips.  The chips were fine…not outstanding, but good.  You can substitute another side for a slight upcharge.


For her dinner, Holly chose the wings.  For $8.99, you get ten wings, a couple of celery and carrot sticks, (literally…two carrot sticks and two celery sticks) and ranch or homemade bleu cheese dressing.  The wings come either naked, or tossed in your choice of sauce.  There’s not a lot of breading on these wings – Holly’s preferred style.  She chose the sweet and spicy sauce – but actually reports this particular sauce to be pretty middle of the road – not particularly sweet or spicy.

Fort Ben Pub is located at 56th and Post.  You can find them online at and they also have a Facebook page.

Metro Diner, Indianapolis



I’ve been excited to try the Metro Diner on the north side of Indy ever since they opened a few months ago.  We actually tried to go this past Sunday, but the line was stretched out the door to get in, and we were on a bit of a schedule, so we decided to drop in last night for an early dinner.

The Metro Diner is a throwback to the diners of the 50s, with a bit of an upscale twist.  There’s a small counter with a half dozen or so stools in front of the grill, and a large dining area with tables and booths.  It’s a small chain, and their emphasis is on comfort food, as evidenced by some of their menu items…meatloaf, pot roast, and the like.

We arrived about 415 PM and again, I realized how very important a first impression is when trying a new restaurant.  There was a host at the host station, and we stopped and there was a moment of awkwardness…he wasn’t especially welcoming.  And, honestly, we both found him a little aloof and off putting, which wasn’t a good sign for a place that stakes its reputation on comfort food and being comfortable.  However, we were seated and our server, LaChelle, proved herself to be capable, personable, and helpful in explaining the menu.

I already knew what I wanted…the Big Bern Fried Pork sandwich, which is their version of a Breaded Pork Tenderloin.


I knew going in that this wasn’t a traditional Hoosier Pork Tenderloin.  For starters, it’s served on grilled Italian bread.  And it’s topped with provel cheese, wilted spinach, caramelized red onions, bacon, fried jalapenos, tomatoes, and garlic aioli.  I decided to be adventurous and get it exactly as it’s served.  Being a traditionalist when it comes to food (and most other areas of my life) this is a bit of a stretch for me, but, what’s life without a little adventure thrown in?

As is my tradition, I cut a corner of the meat off and sampled it, and my first thought was that it was just a little bland.  However, once I tried it all together, it was absolutely stellar.  All those flavors and textures meld together to make it a VERY good sandwich.  They’ve obviously done their homework on this one, every flavor and texture complimented the other one, without one overwhelming another on the sandwich.

Since it’s not a traditional sandwich, I’m not going to rate it on my traditional 1-5 scale…I’m going to rate it on the “would I order it again” scale, and the answer is, yes, absolutely.  I REALLY liked it and would not hesitate to order it again.

This is an added bonus….it’s so big, I couldn’t finish it all, which is a rarity for me.  I’ve got half left over for lunch today!

For my side order, I chose onion rings, and they were very good also.  I won’t go so far as to say they’re the best in town, but they’re well above average and I wouldn’t hesitate to order those again, either.

For her dinner, Holly chose the grilled fish wrap with homemade potato chips, and she reports them to be outstanding. The chips are extra crispy – like a kettle cooked chip – and simply seasoned.

We splurged for dessert this night.  I had the strawberry shortcake and it was awesome, and Holly chose the Key Lime Pie.  Being that the original Metro Diner is in Jacksonville, rest assured that their homemade Key Lime pie is the real deal – and it is delicious!
The Metro Diner is located at 3954 E 82nd street in Indianapolis.  Their website is and you can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

North End BBQ and Moonshine, Indianapolis (Nora)



North End BBQ is a relatively new restaurant on the north side of Indy, known as Nora.

Situated in a small strip mall, it’s divided into 3 areas, a bar, a family dining area, and a VERY nice outside patio.

As a BBQ restaurant, BBQ is their main emphasis.  However, there are a few other things on the menu…a burger two, quite a few appetizers, and a few salads.

We were planning to meet some friends for dinner, so I brought up their online menu and saw a breaded tenderloin, and knew I had to try it.

We arrived about 5PM and our capable server, Ellen, told us it was a lunch menu item only.  I expressed my disappointment, because I had come to try it, and she went back to the kitchen and they were glad to make it for me.


This is a VERY good tenderloin.  It’s just a tad thinner than I normally prefer, but in this case it worked, and it worked well.  The breading was nice and light, and there was a nice texture difference between the crispness of the breading and the tenderness of the meat.  That’s one reason I’m a fan of thicker tenderloins, the differences in texture, but that wasn’t an issue with this one.

The breading was seasoned nicely, just enough to add a little flavor without overwhelming the flavor.  Personally, I would have preferred a little more seasoning, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.

The meat was not quite as tender as some I’ve had, still it was well above average and nice and moist.

It was served dressed as I requested.  It’s a VERY good sandwich.  I don’t think it is quite one of the very best in Indy, so I’m going to give it a 4.5 out of 5.  Very, very good indeed and I highly recommend it.

For my side, I got their fries, which are paired with smoked bone marrow butter and jalapenos, and these are simply outstanding. I do believe they’re my favorite fries in town, but they’re not quite traditional.  Still, I HIGHLY recommend trying these.

For her dinner, Holly had the Carolina pulled pork.  It comes with two sides – and she chose the collard greens and cornbread, which is served with maple bourbon butter.  She reported the pulled pork to be tender and flavorful.  She said It was fun to try the variety of sauces that North End provides!

North End BBQ is located on 86th street, in the Nora Plaza.  You can find them online at  and they also have a Facebook page.

Broad Ripple Tavern, Indianapolis



We don’t get to Broad Ripple as often as we probably should. It’s a very cool part of town, and accouple of our favorite restaurants ARE there….Shalimar Indian Restaurant and The Aristocrat. Still, it’s not a place we find as a destination very often.

We were having a meeting last week, and it was at the Broad Ripple Tavern, a place I’d vaguely heard of but had never been to.

Broad Ripple Tavern seems a little more “mature” than some of the other bars in the area.
Perhaps it was because we were there on a weeknight, but it seemed that the clientele was a little older. A nice bar in the front, it opens into a huge back room that has some pool tables, a very  nice stage, and a ton of TVs for watching sports or whatever suits your fancy.

Since we were having a meeting, it was a good way to judge how our server handled this. Our sever, Nicole, was a pro. She gave us ample opportunity to handle our business without
pressuring us to order or pay, yet made sure our drinks were filled and everything was taken care of in a timely manner. Well done.

The menu isn’t the largest I’ve seen…and features pretty typical pub fare: burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, and the like. I asked our server about the breaded tenderloin, and she assured me that it was hand breaded in house. On top of that, everything breaded item they serve…chicken fingers, etc, is hand breaded in a buttermilk based breading, so I was sold.


So, how was it? It was VERY good. As a matter of fact, I believe it stacks up well against any
tenderloin in town. The breading was quite tasty, nice and crisp, with just enough seasoning to compliment the flavor without overwhelming it. The meat itself was nice and tender. The bun was nicely toasted and the sandwich was dressed as I requested it. In addition, I believe the sandwich was just the right size…a nice, satisfying meal without being overwhelming. I give it a 5 out of 5, no doubt about it in my eyes.

For her dinner, Holly ordered the pulled pork sliders and tavern fries. She reports: “The BBQ was a little sweeter than I prefer. I’ll be sure to ask for hot sauce the next time!” When we asked what tavern fries were, we were told they were seasoned waffle fries. They actually came out at seasoned matchstick fries – but all is well, because they were very tasty!

Broad Ripple Tavern is located at 745 Broad Ripple Avenue in Indy. Their website is and they also are on twitter and facebook.

The Willard, Franklin, Indiana


The Williard is one of those regionally famous places I’d never had a chance to try.

Located in an old hotel in historic Franklin, Indiana, it’s one of those places that fairly screams history.  Beautiful old woodwork, tile floors, a wonderful wooden staircase (that kind of leads to nowhere), it’s worth a visit just to wander around.  Yes, it’s a bit run down and worn around the edges, but that’s part of its charm.

It appears to be famous for 3 things…pizza, tenderloins, and wings.  They were one of the contestants at the Tenderloin Throwdown in Greensburg, Indiana earlier this year, so I’d had a chance to sample their tenderloin, but not to enjoy the whole experience.

We arrived at about 5PM on Saturday evening, and since it was such a lovely evening, we chose to sit outside.  If the weather is nice, it’s a great place to sit, dine, and watch the world go by.

The menu features pizza and wings above all else, it seems, but there is quite a few other choices on the menu.  Of course, I was there to try the breaded tenderloin.


This is really one fine tenderloin.  The meat is fresh, moist, and tender, and the flavor is spot on. It’s certainly one of the best I’ve had in a while.

The breading is also VERY tasty.  It’s quite tasty, and REALLY crisp.  The breading has a nice peppery taste to it.  I’m a fan of that peppery taste, so it rates very high on my list, but I realize that’s a matter of personal preference, so be aware if you are not a fan of pepper, this might not be one of your favorites,  It was, however, one of mine.  It gave a nice kick to the sandwich.

The sandwich was served dressed as I requested, with nice attention to detail.  In my book, this is certainly a 5 bite tenderloin. I would not hesitate to order it again.

For my side, I chose fries.  They were good, but fell short of outstanding.

For her dinner, Holly chose the sweet chili wings and a dinner salad.  For wings with “chili” in the name, they were quite mild – in fact, the flavor was rather bland.  Holly reports the wings themselves were meaty and tender, but that she would try a different sauce next time – one with more flavor.

In reading other reviews of The Williard, it appears they have some ongoing service issues, and our visit was no different.  It took over an hour to get our food, and we saw other parties who came in after us order, get their meal, and be finished before we got ours.  The food was outstanding and makes me want to return, but the service?  Not so much.
The Williard is located at 99 N Main Street in Franklin.  It appears their webpage is inactive, but they do have a Facebook page.

Peppy Grill, Indianapolis (Fountain Square)


There are a few places in Indianapolis that have attained legendary status, and I believe that Peppy’s Grill is one of those.

Located in the Fountain Square area, it’s been an institution for as long as I can remember.  Back in the 80’s, I occasionally had to make an overnight run to Indianapolis for work, and Peppy’s was our go to place for a 3AM breakfast.  As good as the food was, the people watching at that time of the morning was just as good…perhaps better.

Peppy’s, and places like it, are forerunners of places like Denny’s and Waffle House  (two of my favorites), 24 hour a day diner type restaurants that serve good, cheap food,  None of it is gourmet, none of it is especially healthy, but, boy, is it satisfying.

Peppy’s has the magic that a diner SHOULD have.  I’d a little bit run down, it shows some wear and tear, but it also shows a special kind of magic  you can’t find anywhere else.

The menu is pretty basic…hamburgers and cheeseburgers (called cheeseburgs), grilled ham and cheese, a ribeye steak, biscuits and gravy, and such.  It also offers both a grilled and a breaded tenderloin.

I rather suspected this might be a fritter, but I decided to chance it anyway.  After all, we were at Peppy’s and I wanted the full experience.


I’m happy to report that it’s not a fritter after all, but a true tenderloin.  It’s a solid piece of meat.

It’s pounded out thinner than I prefer, but the flavor was pretty good…not outstanding, but pretty tasty.  The meat I found to be just a bit on the dry side, but the breading was nice and crispy and stayed that way through the life of the sandwich.  The sandwich was nicely seasoned, and served dressed as I requested.

This isn’t a great sandwich, but it’s not bad either.  I’m going to give it a 3.5 out of 5 bites.  Although when we return I’ll likely order a cheeseburg, this certainly is a better sandwich than what a lot of restaurants pass off as a breaded tenderloin.

For my side, I chose the sour cream fries.   These are more like potato wedges with some sort of sour cream sauce on the side, and boy are they tasty!  I highly recommend these.
Holly chose the classic cheeseburg and sour cream fries.  The patty is preformed and a little on the dry side, but for the price, you can’t go wrong with this meal!

Peppy’s Grill is located at 1004 Virginia Avenue in Indy.  They don’t have Facebook, Twitter, or a website…which is part of their charm.

Squealer’s BBQ, Indianapolis (Castleton)

Friday night found us in Castleton, looking for a place to have dinner after we had ran some errands.  We knew that Squealers had opened a location there, and decided to give it a try.


I’d heard good things about their tenderloin.  We’d dined at the location near 86th and Zionsville Road before, but I’d never had their tenderloin.  We thought this would be a good chance to kill two birds with one stone…try the new location, and try the tenderloin.

The menu says “Voted Indy’s Best” and it took a little searching, but in 2013 Squealer’s won first place in the “Indy’s A List” breaded tenderloin category.

Let me say that I’m a little suspect of these “contests”.  There are a couple of places in town that are perennial winners that aren’t a tenderloin at all, but a pork fritter, so I always take such claims with a grain of salt.

Squealer's Loin

Turns out, this one was well deserved.  Although this tenderloin is a little thinner than I prefer, the flavor is remarkable.  The meat is tender and moist, and I really liked the breading.  It’s nice and crispy, and doesn’t get soggy during the life of the sandwich.  There’s just the slightest hint of some seasoning in the sandwich, but, honestly, this sandwich is so good on its own that it really doesn’t need any seasoning.  The bun was nicely toasted, and it was served dressed as requested.

Is this the best tenderloin in Indy?  I won’t go that far…but I WILL give it my 5 out of 5 bites rating.  There are some stellar tenderloins in Indy and I’d be hard pressed to pick an absolute favorite.  I’ll just say that this one belongs in the Indy hall of fame with the other 5 star rated tenderloins.

Of course, Squealer’s is a BBQ place.  For her dinner, Holly chose the pulled pork sandwich with a side of cole slaw, and it was incredibly good as well.  The sandwich was served as requested, with the sauce on the side (and our waitress offered the option, which was a very nice touch.)

We don’t always get dessert, but we decided to splurge this trip.  We opted for the peach cobbler, and it was outstanding.  We highly recommend it.

You can find Squealer’s online at  and they also are on Twitter and Facebook.