Grand Junction Brewery, Westfield, Indiana

GJ sign

Grand Junction Brewing Company is a fairly new addition to Westfield. Formed in 2014, the name Grand Junction comes from the Midlands and Monon railroads that ran through Westfield, Indiana. If a restaurant gets part of its history from trains, you KNOW I’m going to want to visit.

Located in an older building in the heard of “old” Westfield, it’s quite a bit larger than it appears on the outside. It’s long and deep, and the building itself is just bursting with local history, no only in the building itself, but in the photographs and items on display they appear to have been loaned by the Westfield Historical Society.

It was a pleasant surprise to find this is an all ­ages restaurant! It was nice to see families with kids enjoying a night out. Kudos to Grand Junction for finding a way to make this work!

We arrived about shortly before 5PM on a Friday night, and our server was quick to tell us that she was the only server in the entire restaurant, and she’d keep up as best she could. I realize staffing a restaurant must be a nightmare, but I would think that at prime dinner hours a restaurant could make sure there was adequate staffing at a time like this. I WILL say some servers did come on staff later, but service never was what I would call prompt.

The menu is pretty large, with a nice selection of sandwiches, salads, and signature items on it.

Most, if not all, of their food is advertised as locally sourced, a concept that my wife and I are HUGE fans of, again, kudos to them for keeping it local!

I’d been told about their hand breaded tenderloin, and that was what I was there to sample. The menu says it’s locally sourced and tenderized.

Grand Junction Brewery

Upon arriving, I immediately saw a couple of issues with the sandwich. First, it was extremely greasy. Grease was literally glistening on the top of the sandwich, and it soaked into the bun, making the bun a bit “mushy”. Secondly, I asked for onion with my sandwich, and, as you can see, they weren’t exactly generous with the onion.

Upon eating the sandwich, it appeared there was only a tiny bit of effort that went into tenderizing it…and the breading was quite bland (and starting to get soggy from the grease). It wasn’t until a bit later when I was trying to describe the taste and texture of the sandwich that it came to me….it tasted, and the texture, was like a pork chop coated with Shake and Bake mix.

Sad to say, I’m only going to give this sandwich a 2 out of 5…I’d not order it again.

There WERE some very bright spots in our meal. For her dinner, Holly ordered a side salad and appetizer for her entrée. The salad did not come out with croutons on the side as she requested, but luckily it was not a huge deal to take them off the top. For her entrée she chose the Mahi Mahi Tacos and they were reportedly outstanding! They have a tropical sriracha sauce that sets them apart.

We chose to have dessert this night. My wife ordered Key Lime Pie and she reported it to be delicious­ rich and creamy with a dollop of fresh cream and a fresh lime garnish. They had a special chocolate cake on the menu this particular night and I decided to give it a try, and it was absolutely fantastic, and a VERY generous serving. I had 1/2 of my piece and saved the rest for breakfast the next day. (Hey…..I’m an adult. I can have cake for breakfast if I want to).

Although our experience, both in service and food was a mixed bag, I certainly would give them another try.

Grand Junction Brewery is located at 110 S Union Street in Westfield, Indiana. You can find them online at

The Mug Greenfield Indiana

The Mug outsdieThe Mug in Greenfield has glowing reviews (for the most part) and has been recommended to me numerous times as having the best Breaded Tenderloin in the state.  Holly and I found ourselves headed to Knightstown, Indiana where I was doing a benefit show at the Historic Hoosier Gym, so we took advantage of the situation to make a stop in Greenfield and give The Mug a try.

One of the challenges in writing about food is to maintain impartiality.  I might like the business and what they do, I might know the owners personally, but in the end, it comes down to two things: how was the food and how was the experience.  That being said, The Mug sources most of their food locally, and that’s a huge point in their favor.  They’re a local business, not a chain, and that’s another point in their favor. Unfortunately, The Mug falls far short in several other areas.

We arrived, and our server asked us if we’d ever been there before, which we responded we had not.  She took a few moments to explain the menu to us, taking pride in the fact that the food was locally sourced, and we appreciated that.

My mind was already made up; I was going for the breaded tenderloin.  While Holly was choosing her meal, I observed an interaction that was unsettling to me. A diner went up to the counter and asked for silverware (plastic ware, actually, no big deal).  However, I observed an employee get the utensils, drop them on the floor, pick them up, and hand them to the customer.  Yes, they were wrapped, but in my mind, this is absolutely inexcusable.  I’m no clean freak, but I found it quite disturbing and made me wonder what other unsanitary practices they have.

Holly decided on her meal, (more about this later) and we saw these wonderful, hand-cut fries being served.  We asked if fries came with a sandwich, and our server told us we could order a combo and get fries or apple slices and a drink. Unfortunately, if you order a combo, as we found out, the hand cut fries are NOT the fries you get. If you order a combo, you get frozen out of the bag fries – which was a huge disappointment.  In our server’s defense, the menu *does* list both kinds of fries as side offerings, and it does list the French Fries (not the hand cut fries) as the fries you get with your combo, but I gotta tell ya…for our first visit there, and the server KNOWING it was our first visit there, this seemed very confusing and a bit deceptive.  Just a few more seconds of explanation on the server’s part could have eliminated the confusion, and we would have known exactly what to expect.  But alas, that did not happen.

Mug loinSo, how was the tenderloin? It LOOKS good, but, actually, it’s pretty substandard.  The breading is quite heavy with cornmeal, and it overpowered the taste of everything else in the sandwich, even the meat.  The meat, wasn’t what I would call “bad”, but it was not as tender or moist as I expected.  I also encountered two pieces of gristle in the meat, which, for me, further detracted from the experience.  For a hand-breaded tenderloin, I’m going to give it a 2 out of 5 bites, a bit below average.

For her dinner, Holly chose a burger…but not just any burger – a burger she couldn’t refuse!  It should be noted that, by choice, Holly does not eat a lot of red meat.  Most often, she prefers chicken, fish, or even a vegetarian dish.  So when she chooses to eat beef, it’s a special treat.  The burger she chose was the Jalapeno Cream Cheese Bacon Burger.  It was an amazing looking offering.  She did not know it when she ordered it, but the jalapeno cream cheese part of the burger comes from two jalapeno poppers on the top of the burger below the crowning bun.  Inherently, this is not a bad thing at all…except for one, major issue:  the poppers tasted freezer burned.  This one detail was enough to make the entire sandwich fall short of being edible.  Add that to the fact that her combo did not include the fresh cut fries she was expecting – and this made for a quite disappointing meal.

The Mug does some things pretty well, I believe, and it’s always possible that we hit them on an off day.  However, as it stands, it’s a place I would meet friends if they wanted to meet, but would not make a special trip to eat there.
The Mug is located at 117 Apple Street in Greenfield, Indiana.  Their website is



Sgt Pepper’s Chicken, Martinsville, Indiana

Peppers outside

Holly and I found ourselves scheduled to be in Martinsville, Indiana, where she was judging a middle school talent contest, and I wanted to try a tenderloin in a town I’d never had one in.

I asked the folks at the Pursuing Pork Tenderloins group on Facebook who had a good tenderloin in Martinsville, and two were recommended….Indy’s Family Restaurant and Sgt. Pepper’s Chicken.

Indy’s Family Restaurant was my first choice, because it sounded like it would be a good place to set and relax before the competition. Upon arriving, we found out it was a breakfast and lunch restaurant only, so off to Sgt. Pepper’s we went.

From the outside, it doesn’t look like much. Set in an unassuming, out of the way strip mall, it’s not too far off of State Road 37 and easy to get to.

Actually, from the inside, it doesn’t look like much, either. I suspect the building has been something else in a former life. You walk up to the counter, order your food, and then they call out your name when it’s ready.

Sgt. Pepper’s serves its food one way….fried. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Peppers loinI chose the hand breaded tenderloin. This is a VERY good tenderloin! It was the right size for me…not so large to be overwhelming, yet large enough to be a very hearty meal.

The breading was VERY tasty, but, I do think it could’ve used a bit more seasoning. Oddly, being named Sgt. Pepper’s, I think it could have used some more pepper. Still, it was tasty. The meat was very flavorful and tender. The bun was pretty much a standard bun, and they gave me plenty of onion for my sandwich…kudos to them for not being stingy!

I think with just a bit more seasoning, it certainly could have been outstanding. As it was, I’d give it 4.5 out of 5 bites. WELL above average and certainly worth getting.

For my side, I chose the fried potatoes, and they were simply outstanding. When we return, they certainly will be my go to side order. As an added bonus, this sandwich is a bargain…7.69 and that includes your choice of a side.

For her dinner, Holly chose the fried chicken, which is what they are known for. She reported it to be very tasty, albeit a bit salty for her taste. The homemade potato chips hit a home run with Holly! And they give you enough of a serving of chips that you can have some with your meal, and have plenty of leftovers for later.

Sgt. Pepper’s Chicken is located at 2028 Burton Lane in Martinsville, Indiana.

Their website is

Zeke’s Hot Chicken, Carmel, Indiana

Zekes sign

Zacky’s Hot Dogs is a place I’ve been wanting to try for quite some time now, on the recommendation of several folks who thought I’d enjoy their tenderloin. The opportunity hadn’t presented itself until last week, when I was having lunch with my friend Shawn Brown and I were having lunch to discuss a couple of upcoming projects.

I pulled up and was pretty sure I was in the right place, but it said “Zeke’s Hot Chicken” instead of “Zacky’s Hot Dogs”. Although they’re owned by the same folks, they apparently are capitalizing on the hot chicken craze and have rebranded.

Upon entering, it appears that hot chicken is king here. From what I saw other folks ordering, it’s obvious that folks are coming for the hot chicken, although they’re also known for their gourmet hot dogs. They obviously have a VERY loyal following. Although we had an early lunch, it was absolutely packed by the time we started our meal. I’m going to give a special shout out to the staff…they were just as nice and sweet as could be. For a while, I thought I was at some diner down in the hills of East Tennessee instead of Carmel, Indiana….it was that homey.

Several folks have told me that they have a stellar tenderloin, so I decided to give it a try. I wasn’t disappointed.

Rick and Zekes

This is a very large sandwich, but not pounded out too thin. The meat is moist and tender, and the breading is quite good! It’s nice and crisp, and it stays that way throughout the life of the sandwich. It was served on the standard bun, and dressed as I requested. One downside ­ they use diced onions instead of sliced onion, which is my preference. The bun was plain, and wasn’t toasted.

I’ll come short of saying this is one of the best tenderloins in the Indy area, but I WILL say it is well above average. I’ll give it 4 out of 5 bites and wouldn’t hesitate to order it again.

Zeke’s Hot Chicken is located at 1315 S Rangeline road in Carmel, Indiana. You can find them online at

OB’s Pub, Indianapolis

I love a good dive bar. OB’s pub certainly fits this description!

OBs outside

Located in a nondescript strip center on the East side of Indy, OB’s is everything a dive bar should be. It’s dimly lit, the paint isn’t the freshest, the carpet is frayed around the edges. The TVs seem to rotate between game shows (The Price is Right was showing when I was there for lunch) and sports, there are a couple of dart boards, and, most of all, it’s friendly.

I was meeting a writer there for lunch who is writing a series of articles on regional foods, and this was a good place to meet her and give her a glimpse of Hoosier hospitality.

Our waitress (who could have been anywhere between 40 and 80) was friendly, and since we were taking pictures of our food and keeping copious notes, she (and several of the regulars) were quite interested in what we were doing.

But I digress. We’re here to discuss the tenderloin.

OBs loin

It appears to be hand breaded. It’s cut a little thinner than I prefer, and the meat, while decent tasting, I found to be a little dry. The breading was nice and crunchy, and stayed that way through the life of the sandwich. There was a small issue with the breading…it was quite salty. Although I didn’t mind it, I think it probably would be too salty for a lot of folks. Also, there was a seasoning in the breading that I didn’t quite recognize, and after discussing it a little bit, we think it was lemon pepper. It gave it a different flavor…not bad, mind you, but a little unexpected. I think with a little less salt, the lemon pepper could have taken this from an average sandwich to a stellar one.

The sandwich was served dressed as I requested, and was served cut into two pieces, which was a nice touch! Since it was a quite a large sandwich, I had 1/2 on this day and 1/2 the next day for lunch.

All in all, it was a pretty decent sandwich. Not stellar, but decent. I’d order it again, but, honestly, there are several other things I’d order first just to try them. I’ll rate it a 3.5 out of 5 bites, just a shade above average.

OB’s pub is located at 2102 N Mitthoeffer Road in Indianapolis, I was unable to located a website or Facebook page for them.

Cobblestone Grill, Zionsville, Indiana

One of the things I really enjoy doing is talking about tenderloins to other foodies, and last week I had the chance to do that.

My wife, Holly, and I, met Jolene Ketzenberger at the Cobblestone Grill in Zionsville for dinner, to talk tenderloins. Jolene is a food writer and restaurant critic, and you might have seen her work at or on Thrillist, or heard on on WFYI or seen her on the morning show “Indy Style”. She’s certainly worth a follow on twitter.

Cobblestone Front

The Cobblestone is an upscale restaurant in the lovely community of Zionsville, located right downtown, it’s long and narrow, and nicely decorated. Take a moment and check out the ceiling fans, which were installed by the local company Fanimation.

Normally, when I do a review, I don’t let the restaurant know that I’m coming, I like for it to be a surprise. However, partly due to the fact we were going to be chatting with the chef, they knew we were coming, so I won’t be rating this one on the bite scale…I’ll just let you know if I’ll get it again or not.:)

Cobblestone Loin

The meat was nicely breaded, and the breading had a nice flavor to it. Personally, I would have preferred a bit more seasoning, still, it was VERY good. The breading was flaky and crisp, and stayed attached to the meat for the life of the sandwich.

The meat itself (locally sourced) was tender and flavorful. It wasn’t quite as moist as some I’ve had in the past, still, it was very good indeed. The bun was nicely toasted and a cut above the average hamburger bun.

So, would I get this sandwich again? Absolutely, in a heartbeat.

For her dinner, Holly chose the special – which was grilled grouper. The side dish offering included several foods that she cannot eat due to allergies, but the chef was able to adjust these restrictions, and the results were delicious! Holly says the fish was simply outstanding, and the broccoli was prepared in a way that she had never tasted – it had a crispy outer texture to it, but was still fully cooked. Amazing!

All in all, a very positive experience. We will certainly be back!

Cobblestone Grill is located at 160 S Main Street in Zionsville, Indiana. You can find them online at

Pearl Street Pub, Oldenburg Indiana

PearlSIgnPearl Street Pub is the 3rd of 3 pubs/restaurants in Oldenburg Indiana where I reviewed the tenderloin.

Oldenburg Indiana is a lovely German town, often called the Village of Spires. Ornate church steeples dominate the landscape, and it’s a very historic town. A few unique shops, 3 restaurants, and a great town for photography!

Oldenburg 1

I’ve never been to Bavaria, but I can’t imagine stepping into Pearl Street is much different. Lots of dark wood, people laughing, and just a fun atmosphere.

They have a number of items on their menu, and, of course, I was there to try the hand breaded tenderloin.

Here’s what I learned about tenderloins in Oldenburg. The Brau Haus tenderloin was VERY German influenced. You could really taste the spices, and it was very non­traditional for an Indiana tenderloin.

Wagner’s was very Indiana ­traditional. Just a hint of salt and pepper.

Pearl Street Pub’s falls right in the middle. There are enough German spices that you can taste them, but they aren’t overwhelming. You get the sense of German cooking without going full bore on it. For those who prefer a more traditional Indiana tenderloin with just a little adventure, this is the one for you, in my opinion.

Pearl Loin

The breading was nice and crunchy, and stayed crisp throughout the life of the sandwich.

The meat was good, but was just a tad dry. Not terribly dry, but enough so that I’ll give it a 4 star instead of a 5 star rating.

For her lunch, Holly had fried cod loin and cole slaw. She reported the cod to be tasty, but just a little on the dry side. The cole slaw had more of a vinegar influence than she was expecting, since it was a creamy slaw, and the chop size of the cabbage was a little finer than she prefers. But all in all, a fine lunch.

Here’s a tip. As an appetizer, we had the sweet potato fries with caramel sauce. Trust me, you need to try these.

The Pearl Street Pub is located at 3034 Pearl Street in Oldenburg, Indiana. I couldn’t located a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.