Barley Island, Noblesville, Indiana

Barley Island is, again, one of those places I’ve been aware of for years, but never had the opportunity to stop in.  There are 2 locations, one in Noblesville and one in Broad Ripple.
We stopped in the Noblesville store.

Upon entering, I was really surprised at just how large this place is!  From the street, it doesn’t look like it would seat more than 20 or 30 people, but there’s a nice dining room, a nice stage area and a nice bar.  The evening we were there, most of the people were seated at the bar, and for good reason….the bartender was serving as the server for the entire place.

I was pleasantly surprised at just how varied the menu was.  Steaks, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and much, much more.  A several page menu, it took a few minutes to peruse it and make our choices.

Well, actually, it didn’t take me long.  When I saw “hand breaded tenderloin” I knew what *I* was going to get.

When I ordered the sandwich, the server ask me “Do you want the beer breading or the regular breading?”.    Now….here’s a place that obviously takes their breaded tenderloin serious! I chose the beer batter breading, and I’m glad I did.

The sandwich is nice and thick…thicker than all but a couple of tenderloins I’ve tasted.  The meat is moist and tender, with not even the slightest hint of gristle. The flavor is great, and it was done perfectly.

The beer breading is really, really outstanding.  It’s a little thinner than some of the breadings I’ve had, but, in this case, it works, and it works well. It’s so crisp and flavorful that you don’t need a lot of it to make the sandwich really “pop”.  The sandwich was served dressed exactly as I ordered it, the bun was nicely toasted….this sandwich certainly is a 5 out of 5…really, really outstanding.

I ordered onion rings as my side, and they were very, very good also.  I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to get them again.

For her dinner, Holly choose the Lime Glazed Salmon Salad.  It was quite tasty as well.  She also sampled the Dirty Helen Ale and said it was outstanding.

Barley Island is located at 639 Connner Street in Noblesville, Indiana.  It’s an all ages restaurant until the kitchen closes  (“around” 10PM) then it becomes 21 and over.
You can find them online at


The Fort Grille, Fortville, Indiana

The Fort Grille is located on Highway 67, on the East side of Fortville, Indiana.  Over the years, it’s been a number of different restaurants, so I’ve been watching with interest as this newest restaurant went through extensive remodeling in preparation for opening.

The Fort Grille is an interesting place.  It’s nicely decorated with local street signs and other bits of local history, giving it the feel of a small town diner. However, the menu is that of a more upscale restaurant.  Along with burgers and sandwiches, there are a number of Italian dishes, steaks and other items on the ample menu.

I saw they had a breaded tenderloin, and knew that I had to try it.  An interesting aside…they also offer a “breaded chicken tenderloin”.  Being a purist…I chose the pork.

The sandwich is hand pounded and breaded, and the breading was really outstanding.  Nice and crispy, with a very nice flavor.  It’s certainly among the best breading I’ve ever had.

However, the meat is another story.  It was bland and tasteless, and was pounded out far too thin for my taste.  Although the sandwich LOOKED good….it might as well have been a breading sandwich, for that’s all I could taste.

The bun, also, was sub-standard.  Yes, it was nicely toasted.  However, it was stale and hard around the edges. The sandwich was served dressed as I requested with plenty of onion, but, all in all, it was a major disappointment.  I’m going to give it a 2 out of 5…edible, but certainly below average. However, the home made chips I ordered as a side were simply outstanding.

I also ordered a side salad and it was also outstanding.  A nice mix of greens made for a nice start for the meal.

Being a new restaurant, there are expected to be a few glitches in the system, and they all were evident on Saturday night. Holly ordered eggplant parmesan which was on the menu, only to be told by our server that they’ve taken it off the menu.  She ordered chicken marsala, which was very good indeed.

Once we had ordered our meal, a couple was seated next to us, and the waitress started telling them the special of the day, which included a Rib Eye steak special. Our server never said anything to us about the special.  Although I STILL would’ve opted for the tenderloin, it certainly would have been nice to have been made aware of the specials before we ordered.

All said, I DO like this place.  I’ll give them some time to get the glitches worked out of their system and give them another try when I’m through the area.

The Fort Grille is located at 901 E Broadway in Fortville, Indiana.  You can find them online at:

Oaken Barrel, Greenwood, Indiana

The Oaken Barrel in Greenwood is a place I’ve been aware of for quite some time now.  It seems to be quite popular, but it seems we rarely find ourselves in Greenwood with any time to spare. This week gave us the opportunity to stop and enjoy a relaxing dinner before taking care of some business in the area.

The restaurant is nicely decorated with posters, prints, and I would call it “pleasantly busy”.  There is plenty of stuff to look it, yet not so much that it’s distracting.

It’s the same with TVs.  There are a few scattered around, but there are ample places to sit and enjoy a conversation without being in sight of a TV. I appreciate this!

The menu is  quite varied, with everything from burgers to pizza to steak  and much more.   And, if you are a beer fan, there are a number of different options available for you.

I wasn’t sure if they even offered a breaded tenderloin, but since they were on the way to where we were going, I decided to give them a try. I saw one on the menu, and asked the waitress “how is your breaded tenderloin” and…this is the FIRST time this has happened….she said “It’s NOT a fritter”.  So…of course, this is what I ordered!

The sandwich is nice sized, although it IS pounded out just a bit thinner than is my personal preference.  But, being  largely a matter of personal preference, that won’t affect the score.

The meat itself is VERY good!  Tender and moist, with a very nice flavor.  Perhaps not the VERY best I’ve tasted, but it certainly ranks up there with the top.

The breading, although very good, leaves a little something to be desired.  Yes, it’s good,  VERY good.  But it is lacking that little extra “oomph” that takes it over the top.

That said, it’s a VERY good sandwich, that falls just shy of the 5/5 rating that is breaded heaven.  The bun is nicely toasted, it was served dressed exactly as I requested, and it’s well above average. I’m going to give it a 4 out of 5 bites, which means that it’s well above average, and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to order it again on my next stop…and we will certainly be back!

The french fries were among the best I’ve ever had.  Beer battered and done perfectly, you won’t go wrong with  them. Holly chose the broiled seafood platter,which consisted of tilapia, shrimp,and scallops, and raved about how good that was.

Our dinner at the Oaken Barrel was a great experience.  It’s one of those restaurants that we’ll make a point to go to again. Oaken Barrel is located at 50 N Airport Parkway in Greenwood, or you can find them online at

Carver’s Family Restaurant, Richmond, Indiana

Holly l and I found ourselves in Richmond, Indiana this past weekend for a music gig.  As I had never had a tenderloin in Richmond….we set out on a quest to find a locally owned restaurant.
As we were on a timetable, we didn’t have as much time to explore town as I would’ve liked to have, but we did find Carver’s Family Restaurant, and decided to give them a try.

Upon entering, it’s a large place, and kind of reminds me of a Denny’s in it’s layout.  Although we arrived at prime lunchtime for the Sunday after church crowd, we were seated quickly and our capable server answered a few menu questions for us.

The menu is quite complete, with a vast breakfast selection, lots of sandwiches, plate lunches, and a variety of Greek food, also.

There is a breaded tenderloin on the menu, and I asked the waitress if it was really a breaded tenderloin, or a pork fritter.  She replied…”It’s a fritter”. It might have been my imagination, but I do believe she said it with regret and wiped a single tear from her eye.

OK, maybe I’m stretching it a bit. However, Carver’s won my business right there.  By being honest with me, they turned what could have been a bad experience and an unhappy customer right around.

SO…I ordered the steakburger patty melt, and it was very, very good indeed.  The meat had a wonderful flavor, the onions were grilled to perfection, and the toast was perfect. With it, I had onion rings…not outstanding, but VERY good, and french onion soup, which was pretty average.  All in all, it was a very good meal.

Holly had a build your own omelette.  Carver’s makes their omelettes with 6(!) eggs, so Holly chose hers half-sized, made with EggBeaters, and raved about how good it was….very light and fluffy.

I would consider the price to be moderate for the amount and quality of food we received, and although I was disappointed that they offer a fritter instead of a tenderloin…the positive experience we received…and the honesty from our server, means we’ll be back!

Carver’s is located at 2270 Chester Blvd in Richmond, Indiana.  I was unable to locate a web site for them.

The Old Trail, Pendleton, Indiana

The Old Trail restaurant and Taproom is located in Pendleton, Indiana, just off of Interstate 69.

It’s part family restaurant and part bar.  I’m generally not a fan of those restaurants that can’t seem to make up their mind what they want to be, but in this case, it works pretty well.  The family side is non smoking, but the bar side is smoker friendly, so be aware of that if you’re sensitive to smoke.

The decor is warm and friendly,  although has a “home interior party” feel to it.  There are a few nice local touches, but nothing outstanding.

I would call the service warm and friendly also.  Our server, although quite busy, did a fine job of taking care of us.

The menu has a nice mix of pub fare….burgers, pizza, and so on, as well as a lot of comfort food…chicken and noodles, broasted chicken, meatloaf, and other items that are traditional in the midwest.

I had heard that they had a pretty good tenderloin, so decided to give them a try on a Friday night.


The tenderloin was nice sized, and although it has the appearance of a frozen fritter, that’s not the case.  They are handmade here at the restaurant.

I had really high hopes for the breading….as I was told they use potato chips as a base…but, once again,  those hopes were dashed against the rocks of mediocrity.  The breading was not outstanding  as I had expected.  It wasn’t bad….it just wasn’t especially good.

The meat, too, suffered the same fate.  It was pounded out a little thinner than I prefer, but the taste just wasn’t there.  It was a bit  dry, and although the flavor wasn’t bad, it wasn’t terribly good either.  Just so-so.  I’m going to give the sandwich a 3 out o 5…just average.

The onion rings that I chose to go with my meal were above average, but fell short of outstanding.

Holly chose a grilled chicken salad, and it was, again, OK, but nothing to write home about.

That all said, we WILL return based on the service and prices.  We have it on good authority that the broasted chicken is nothing short of spectacular, and also the chicken and noodle dinner is what dreams are made of… all reports, if you want that, you should go for lunch, as they often run out by the time dinner hour rolls around.

The Old Trail Restaurant is located on State Road 38, just East of Highway 69, in Pendleton, Indiana. I was unable to find a web site for them.