Ray’s Drive In, Kokomo, Indiana

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Ray’s Drive In, in Kokomo, is one of those places I’ve heard about for quite some time, but when we were in Kokomo it wasn’t mealtime, so we’d not had the chance to visit.

Friday we had the opportunity to go up to Kokomo for lunch, so we called our friend Doug Arnold up there, and asked him if he’d like to meet us, and luckily, his schedule allowed it!

Ray’s is located in a mixed industrial/commercial area of Kokomo, off of the beaten path.  It’s one of those places that you likely won’t just stumble upon (unless you’re lost!).  You will have to seek it out.

It’s an old, 50’s style drive in, but it also has an inside dining room which has obviously been added on much later.  They have curb service, but I’m not much of a fan of eating in the car…I spend enough time in the car as it is.  So when I have a chance I want to get out and stretch my legs, I like to take advantage of it!  We chose do dine inside.  The dining room is small, but comfortable with some pictures of the history of Ray’s on the walls.

They menu is a mix of traditional diner food (sandwiches, fries, etc.) and comfort food.  On the menu, there are 3 tenderloins listed…the king tenderloin, a tenderloin, and a mini tenderloin.  I asked our friendly waitress what the difference was, and she explained that the tenderloin and the mini tenderloin are fritters, but the King Tenderloin is hand made in house.  So, of course, I chose the King Tenderloin.

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The sign outside proclaims Ray’s as “Home of Indiana’s Largest Tenderloin” and if it’s not, I’ll be surprised.  This is one big sandwich.  It’s appears to be hand pounded and breaded, given the uneven shape, and the meat itself was a bit thicker in some places than in others.  The meat itself was tasty and moist, and I LOVED the texture of the breading.  The flavor of the breading was good, but in my opinion fell a bit short of outstanding.  For my personal taste, I think a bit more seasoning is in order.

And, although this sandwich is thinner than I prefer, I still like it a lot and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again…although I’ll share it with someone the next time I order it.   I’ll give it a 4 out of 5.  Had it been a little thicker and seasoned a bit more, I’d give it a 5 out of 5, no doubt.

For her lunch, Holly had a half order of chicken and noodles.  The lunch platter comes with mashed potatoes and gravy, an additional side, and a choice of bread.  This classic comfort food lunch was very basic and filling.

Ray’s Drive In is located at 1900 N Courtland Avenue, Kokomo, Indiana.  I was unable to locate a website or Facebook page for them.

Slippery Noodle, Indianapolis

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The Slippery Noodle Inn (usually called just “The Noodle” by locals) proclaims itself Indiana’s Oldest Bar, established in 1850, and has live blues 7 nights a week. Friday and Saturday nights they feature two bands on two separate stages, so it’s all about the blues here!
We’d been here a few times to hear (or play) music, but it’s usually been late at night so we usually only got drinks or appetizers instead of a meal. This particular night, though, the Cosmic Preachers were playing a set, and Holly and I opted to come early and have dinner.
A good way (for me, anyway) to judge whether a place has a decent tenderloin is to check the menu and see if they order it grilled AND breaded, as opposed to just breaded. I’ve found places that do both typically serve a real breaded tenderloin, as opposed to a fritter passed off as a tenderloin.
The menu offers both, so I took a shot.

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This is a big sandwich! And, it’s not a fritter, it’s a real piece of meat. The meat was nice and tender, and the breading was crispy and I liked the texture of the breading quite a lot. The meat was flavorful and seemed fresh, and the breading was tasty, but I do think it could have stood just a bit more seasoning, at least to my taste. The bun was nicely toasted, and the sandwich was served dressed as I requested. All in all, though, it’s a very good sandwich and I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 bites, well above average and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again. It sells for 9.95, with homemade chips, or you can get fries or another side for a slight upcharge.
For her dinner, Holly chose the black and bleu salad. The menu describes it as a very basic, plain salad, but it comes out with several extras (like a sliced hard-boiled egg and onions) that she didn’t actually want. In addition, the steak has some kind of sweet, barbecue type sauce on it. This was definitely not anticipated, and she did not read anything about this on the menu. Had it been stated in the item description, she would have ordered something else entirely.

The Slippery Noodle Inn is located at 327 S Meridian in Indianapolis. You can find them online at http://www.slippernoodle.com

Manley’s Irish Mutt,  Indianapolis 


Manley’s Irish Mutt is an institution on the East side of Indianapolis.  Located near 10th and Shadeland, in what appears to be a largely mixed industrial/retail area, they do a thriving blue collar business.

I have a special affinity for neighborhood bars, and it’s an added bonus if they are a little bit on the divey side.  Manley’s certainly fits this bill, so I felt right at home the minute I walked through the door.

We were meeting a group of Geocaching friends for dinner (Hi, Judie, Janie, and Jay!!) and this was a convenient place for us to meet, plus I’d been told they have a very good tenderloin.

This is a pretty large bar, essentially one huge room.  There’s a stage, and some TV sets but not enough to be distracting.  We were dining early (4:30PM) so we had no problem getting a table for 5, but by the time we left, the place was hopping!

It’s pretty standard bar fare on the menu.  Pizza, burgers, tenderloin, a Rueben, and such.  Of course, I was there to try the breaded tenderloin (as did 2 others in our party.)

Served on a nicely toasted bun, the sandwich was served dressed as I requested.  The breading is nicely seasoned, with nothing overwhelming the flavor of the meat.  They’re hand breaded in house, and the meat is, for me, the perfect thickness…not too thick, not to thin.  Both texture and taste were spot on.  This is a 5 out of 5 bites for me, really, really good.  Both Jay and I agreed that we liked the fact that while it’s a hearty sandwich, it’s not hubcap sized.  Bigger is not always better.  Well done, Manley’s.

For my side, I chose tater tots, and they were quite good indeed.  I believe they’ll be my side of choice when I return.

For her dinner, Holly chose a classic cheeseburger and tater tots.  She requested her burger medium, and it came out a little more on the well done side, but it was still fresh and juicy – dressed as requested.

Manley’s Irish Mutt is located at 7041 E 10th street in Indianapolis.  I was unable to locate a working website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

Stookey’s Restaurant, Thorntown, Indiana

stookeys1Stookey’s Restaurant, in Thorntown, Indiana, was founded in 1975 by George “Aaron” Stookey.  According to their website, his two goals were to offer the best meal possible with the best service possible.

Based on our recent visit, they’re certainly hit the mark…and then some!

We were meeting some friends who live just outside of Thorntown for dinner, and Stookey’s had been recommended to me by several folks, so it was only natural that I take advantage of the opportunity.

Located in downtown Thorntown, Stookey’s is huge, and it was hopping on this Saturday night!  Consisting of several large rooms, and some banquet rooms, this is a huge building.  It’s nicely decorated and has a nice, homey feel to it.  Our friends had a table waiting for us, and as soon as we sat down, our waitress was there with menus and to take our drink order.  Although I neglected to get our server’s name, I must say she was a joy.  Friendly and personable, it appeared she enjoyed her job and it shown through in the way she made everyone feel welcome.  True small town hospitality.

The menu is pretty large, with just steaks, sandwiches, and more.  It appears their most popular item might be Catfish, but I saw several folks order steaks, also.

Of course, I wanted to try their tenderloin.  The waitress informed me they hand cut, pound, and bread them on site, and I was sold.

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I’ll cut right to the chase.  This is an OUTSTANDING sandwich.  The meat is nice and tender, the breading is well seasoned with complimenting, rather than overwhelming the flavor of the meat.  Fried perfectly, it was the perfect combination of textures and flavors.  The sandwich was served as I requested.  5 out of 5 bites, no question at all.  Stookey’s breaded tenderloin sells for 8.95 with chips, fries will set you back an extra buck.  They were very good, but fell short of what I would call stellar.

For her dinner, Holly chose fried clam strips, and vinegar slaw for her side.  She enjoyed the clam strips very much, and describes the vinegar slaw as fantastic!

Our friends had ordered a basket of onion rings as an appetizer, and I gotta say those were some of the best onion rings I’ve EVER had.  Light, crispy, and flavorful, I highly recommend them.  Stookey’s is located at 125 E Main Street in Thorntown, Indiana.  You can find them online at www.stookeys.com  and they also have a Facebook page.

Alibi’s Bar and Grill,  Indianapolis 

​Alibi’s bar and grill is a place that we were vaguely aware of…matter of fact, we’d had dinner here several years ago, but it’s in an area that we don’t often find ourselves in so it tends to fly under our radar. We were taking care of some personal business in this part of town, and decided to try their tenderloin.

Located in Shadeland Station, Alibi’s has been around since 1986 and their website proudly proclaims they feature “hand crafted, American cooking”. As an added bonus, they’re non-smoking and all ages, a huge plus in my book!

Situated in the Shadeland Station shopping center, it’s a very large place! Nicely decorated in dark wood, there are TV’s around tuned to sports, but not so many to be overwhelming, and the sound is down low enough that you can enjoy a nice meal without being overwhelmed by constant noise.

Of course, I was there to try the hand cut and hand breaded tenderloin. It’s offered breaded or grilled, and comes with your choice of side for a bit over 9 bucks.

So, how was it? It was very good indeed! It’s big, but I wouldn’t call it huge (at least by breaded tenderloin standards). It’s pounded out to a nice size, but it’s not paper thin. There’s a very nice texture in this sandwich…the crunch of the breading and the firmness of the meat. The meat was tender, yet firm, and had a very good flavor. I REALLY liked the breading, but feel it could have used some more seasoning…perhaps something as simple as a bit more pepper…to really make this sandwich shine. It was served dressed as I requested, the bun was nicely buttered and toasted. It was a quite satisfying sandwich! I’m going to give it a 4 out of 5 bites…well above average and worth your time. On a side note, I REALLY liked their French fries!

For her lunch, Holly chose the white Stromboli. Alibi’s white Stromboli consists of a grilled chicken breast, smoked Gouda cheese, onions, pepperoni, and banana peppers, topped with a white sauce that seemed to be a simple creamy Italian dressing. It is served lightly toasted on a soft hoagie. The manager visited our table and said she likes to request this sandwich toasted longer to enhance the crunchy texture of the bread. Holly said she would definitely get this sandwich again. And when she does, she will take the manager’s recommendation and ask for it to be toasted a little longer.

Alibi’s is located in the Shadeland Station shopping center, 7381 N Shadeland Avenue in Indianapolis. You can find them online at http://www.alibisgrill.com and they also have a Facebook page. 

Storie’s restaurant, Greensburg Indiana

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I’d heard good things about Storie’s restaurant in Greensburg, Indiana but the timing for us to make a stop never worked out until this weekend, when we met our friends Deb, Tony, and Aiden for dinner there on Friday night.

Here’s an interesting (to me, at least), side note to this review.  One of my grandmothers was named Storey.  However, the original spelling of the name was Storie.  The story goes that one of the Stories got into legal trouble…he was a horse thief, I’m told, and the family changed the spelling to Storey because they didn’t want to be associated with that side of the family.  But, I digress….which happens pretty often.

Storie’s is located on the courthouse square in Greensburg, Indiana.  It seems like they’ve been around forever.  It’s larger than it appears on the outside, with ample dining area and a nice, long, lunch counter that reminds me of the old Woolworth lunch counters.  Cozy, warm, and friendly, it’s everything a small town restaurant should be.

Honestly, I didn’t look over the menu very closely….I already had made up my mind that I was going to try the tenderloin.  My impression is that they are heavy on the comfort food, though.

I asked our waitress about the breaded tenderloin, and she told me each one was hand breaded to order, and that was enough for me!

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It’s a VERY good sandwich.  Matter of fact, it’s as good as any I’ve had in my travels.  It’s a nice size without being overwhelming, and it hits the mark of being not too thin or not too thick…just about perfect.  The breading itself had just enough seasoning to compliment without overwhelming the taste of the meat, and it stayed crunchy throughout the life of the sandwich.  The meat itself was moist and tender.  There’s no doubt about it, this one is a 5 out of 5 bites.  It goes in my personal hall of fame.

I chose a “platter”, which included fries and slaw.  The fries were crinkle cut, my favorite, and tasty but not outstanding.  The taste of the slaw was fine, but it seemed to have a lot of dressing, and the cabbage was diced very fine the combination of those two things made it less than stellar for my preference.  I neglected to get the exact price, but the sandwich, fries and slaw came in the neighborhood of $8.50 or so, well worth the price.

For her dinner, Holly got the pulled pork sandwich platter with slaw, and for a small upcharge substituted fries for oven roasted potatoes.  The pork was swimming in sauce, which she says isnt her preference.  The potatoes were hot and crisp, but average on the flavor.

Storie’s restaurant is located at 109 E Main Street in Greensburg, Indiana.  You can find them online at http://www.storiesrestaurant.com/

Metro Diner, Indianapolis

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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.

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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 www.metrodiner.com and you can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.