A new restaurant, Big Mike’s Americana Cafe’, has opened close to home, and I had heard through the grapevine that they have a pretty darn good tenderloin. I always take things I hear through the grapevine with a grain of salt…everyone’s opinion is different, after all. But, I was looking for somewhere to have dinner last night, so decided to give them a try.
Mike’s is in the location that formerly housed Tomato Pie, an Italian restaurant. Holly and I had had lunch there one time, and the experience was……less than stellar. Since they’re now out of business, I suspect that was the same experience others had.
One problem I had with the former restaurant was that it was, in my eyes, pretentious. If there’s one thing I can NOT stand, it’s pretentiousness.
Mike’s is anything but pretentious. The door and windows have posters and flyers of local events, and it has the feel of a small town diner, even though it’s just outside of Indianapolis proper, and located in a very business corridor. We were greeted by who I assume was Big Mike himself (I never reveal my identity when I’m doing a review) in a prompt and friendly manner, who took a minute to explain the menu to us.
A nice selection of sandwiches, pizza, and full meals, with what I consider to be very reasonable prices appear on the menu. Just like a small town diner, the descriptions are brief and to the point, it’s obvious that the emphasis is on the food, not the verbiage.
For the breaded tenderloin, it simply says “Breaded Tenderlion…a Hoosier favorite”. Nothing else. And, when I saw the price…..$6.99, including a very generous helping of fries…I became immediately skeptical. I full expected a frozen fritter for that price.
Then they brought the sandwich, and it was obvious that it was no run of the mill tenderloin. I learned later that they’re hand pounded and hand breaded, and it shows. Pounded thin, but not TOO thin, with a perfect coating of batter….this looked REALLY good. I took a bite of the meat..and…WOW. Fresh, tasty, moist…really fantastic. That’s about the only way I can put it. The breading was tasty without being overwhelming. They’ve done their homework and done this one right.
However, when they brought the sandwich, it was served on a pretzel roll. I, again, was skeptical, but, folks, this works, and it works well. No run of the mill pretzel roll, these are locally made by Cornerstone Bakery and are over the top good. I also found out that Mike uses all the locally made ingredients he can…a HUGE plus in my book.
I got all the condiments I requested, and there were plenty of them. The fries were tasty, the food was hot, the service was excellent…the whole experience rates a 5 out of 5 bites.
Holly had a blackened tilapia sandwich, served on the same pretzel roll, and, it too, was outstanding. For the same price of $6.99, it’s quite the bargain.
Big Mike is working hard to make this restaurant a success, and with food like this, I don’t see how he can miss. We’ll return, and we’ll return soon.
Big Mike’s is all ages and non smoking, and does serve beer for those who desire it. Big Mike’s is located at 9611 N College Avenue in Indianapolis.