Speedway, Indiana is a town within the city limits of Indianapolis, and, of course, home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500 and Nascar’s Brickyard 500. Like many towns, Main Street is no longer the main thoroughfare. That is now Crawfordsville Road (US 36) which is lined with carbon copy restaurants…Applebee’s, Chili’s, and so on.
And, like many towns, the real treasures are found on the long bypassed by the highway Main Street. Charlie Brown’s is no exception to the rule. It might take a little hunting to find, but it’s well worth the trip off the highway.
With the restaurant being within a stone’s throw of the Speedway itself, one would expect it to be decorated with in a racing theme, and it certainly is. However, this is no off-the-shelf department store decor, all the decorations in here appear to be hand made and very “folksy”…from the napkin holders to the painted, plywood cut outs of race cars of various vintages hanging on the walls. I’m not a guy who uses the term “charming” very much, but it’s the word I can best think of to describe this place. Homey, folksy, and charming. And, not just the decor, but the staff, also. It’s obvious that many of the patrons here are regulars who are known by name when they come through the door.
The menu is typical diner food…burgers, meatloaf, thick, steamy, beef manhattans, chicken and noodles, and more.
Of course, I was here to sample the hand breaded tenderloin. And I’ll say that I was not disappointed.
The first thing I noticed after ordering was not the sandwich…shortly after ordering, I heard pounding coming out of the kitchen..and, yes, it was our tenderloin being pounded. Not prepared ahead of time, it appears that each tenderloin is cut, pounded, breaded when it’s ordered…perfect!
When my tenderloin arrived, it was obvious this was no factory cut piece of meat, they simply cut it, pound it, bread it, drop it in the fryer, and let that sizzlin’ oil do the magic.
And, indeed, magic it was. At the first bite, I felt like I was at a state fair, sampling the best they had to offer. Nice, crunchy breading, a fine cut of meat, tender and juicy. The sandwich was not greasy at all and the breading was wonderfully flaky, and the taste was a wonderful compliment to the taste of the meat.
The bun was as perfectly toasted as any bun I’ve had…toasted to just a bit of crunch around the edges of the bun, that added a delightful crunch to the already crunchy sandwich. The sandwich came with the condiments I ordered, and the service was prompt and friendly.
On my scale of 1-5 bites, Charlie Brown’s certainly deserves 5 bites, as good as it gets.
Charlie Brown’s is located at 1038 Main Street, Speedway, Indiana,, 46224.