Hard Rock Cafe, Indianapolis


I’d been to one Hard Rock Cafe’ before…Myrtle Beach, maybe?  And I don’t remember much about it.  Had it been a terribly good or bad experience I’m sure it would have stood out, but it didn’t make enough of an impression on me that I either sought another one out, or sought to avoid one.

Some friends of ours…Point of View Comedy….were performing at the Indianapolis Hard Rock last night, and we decided to go have dinner and support them.

Most of you probably are aware of the Hard Rock….it’s a Rock and Roll themed restaurant, with posters, guitars, albums, and more.  If you’re into music, it’s a pretty cool place to go just wander around and look at the displays.

I’d not intended getting a tenderloin, as they don’t have one on their menu.  However, each location offers a “Local Legend” burger, and I asked what it was….it was a breaded tenderloin!  What better local legend for Indiana than a breaded tenderloin?

Of course, it’s what I ordered.


About the best thing I can say about this sandwich is that it wasn’t a fritter.  It was fairly thick, but both the meat and the breading were pretty bland.  Don’t get me wrong….it just wasn’t good, either.  It was filling, and it wasn’t a fritter…that’s pretty much all I can say about it.  I’m going to give it a 2 out of 5 bites…below average.

For her dinner, Holly had the Cobb salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  She said it was good, but that she could have made it at home for half the price, and it would have been just as good.

As a whole, I found the food to be mediocre and overpriced.  But, I realize that a lot of folks really DO like the Hard Rock.  It’s just not my personal taste in a restaurant.

Keystone Sports Review, Indianapolis

Keystone LogoI’ve had several folks recommend Keystone Sports Review to me, saying I should try their wings AND their tenderloin, but the opportunity just hasn’t presented itself for us to make it there at a convenient time.  Yesterday, my wife had a day off and we decided to do a late lunch/early dinner.

Keystone Sports Review is a small sports pub located at 56th and College.  It appears to have been a fast food restaurant at one time in the past, but it’s been Keystone Sports Review for a number of years.

Upon entering, it really IS as small as it looks from the outside.  There’s a small bar, a few tables and a handful of booths, and that’s about it. There are a lot of TVs in a small space, but the volume, while loud enough to hear, wasn’t so loud that you couldn’t carry on a conversation.

Their menu features wings, of course, as well as several sandwiches and other dishes.

Holly and started our meals with a salad, and it was an outstanding salad!  A nice mix of mixed greens, and…oh, those croutons.  They’re made in house and they are simply amazing.

Keystone TenderloinI chose the hand breaded tenderloin for my sandwich, and at the first bite, I was hooked.  THIS is what an Indiana Tenderloin should be.  It was very lightly breaded, and the breading had just enough seasoning to compliment the flavor of the meat.  The meat itself was moist, tender, and full of flavor.  The sandwich was served with the dressings I requested, and was large enough to be satisfying, but not so large as to be overwhelming.  Perfect flavor and seasoning, this is a five star tenderloin all the way.  One of the absolute best I’ve ever had.  And, at $6.95, it’s a bargain.

For my side, I chose fries for a $1.00 upcharge.  They were good, but fell short of outstanding.

For her meal, Holly chose the wings! They come in three sizes and a variety of flavors. She chose a full order of wings (10 pieces) and split the order between two flavors, choosing the Cajun Dry Rub and Hot Garlic varieties.  She really enjoyed the Cajun Dry Rub wings, but found the Hot Garlic to be a bit too vinegary for her liking.  For the price, (10 wings for around $8.00) you can’t go wrong.  The wings come with carrots, celery, and their homemade blue cheese dressing, which is outstanding!  You can also sub in ranch dressing instead, and order extra veggies if you desire.


Keystone Sports Review is located at 56th and Keystone.  Their website is http://www.keystonesportsreview.com/

Murphy’s at Flynn’s, Indianapolis

Murphys front

I’d been to Murphy’s Steakhouse when it was on Keystone, and I’d also been to Pat Flynn’s pub on Allisonville Road, but I’d not returned since they merged.

We attended a private Geocaching event there earlier in the week, and I thought it was the perfect chance to review their tenderloin.

Murphy’s @ Flynn’s is much larger than it appears on the outside, and its decor is warm wood tones and dark greens.  It’s very warm and welcoming, and, thanks to a lot of windows, is brighter than I anticipated.

From the folks (outside our own group) that were there, it appears to an older crowd.  Lots of folks seemed to know each other, and it’s obvious they have a very strong customer base.

I’ll be honest and say I only gave the menu a glance…when I saw hand breaded tenderloin, I knew that was what I was going to get.  My last couple of tenderloins were less than stellar, and I had high hopes that this would be a good one.

Murphys Loin

Indeed, it is a good one.  Obviously hand breaded, the breading was nice and crisp, and stayed that way throughout the life of the sandwich without getting soggy.  I will say that the breading could have stood a bit more seasoning, but looking at the clientele, I can see why it wasn’t…older folks, generally, tend to be less adventurous eaters.

The meat itself was flavorful, moist, and tender…a fine cut of tenderloin indeed.

Had the sandwich had a bit more seasoning, I would have given it a 5 star.  As I had it, I still would give it a very solid 4…well above average, and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to order it again.

For her dinner, my wife chose a wedge salad.  If you’ve never had a wedge salad, you owe it to yourself to try one.  It is very basic:  a wedge of iceburg lettuce, blue cheese dressing, bacon bits, and typically tomatoes…either wedges or diced.  This one is served with the dressing poured over the top of the wedge and diced tomatoes mixed in.  Had she known that is how it was served, she said she would have asked for the dressing and tomatoes on the side.  And the bacon bits…well…they’re imitation bacon bits.  Holly says, “Having real bacon bits on a wedge salad is one of life’s little pleasures.  And being served imitation ones was rather disappointing.”

She also ordered a bowl of Northern bean soup.  Although the flavor was really good, when she got it, it was cold.  We asked for it to be warmed up and they obliged us with no questions asked and an apology.  She said It came back perfectly heated and quite tasty!

Murphy’s at Flynn’s is located at 52nd and Allisonville.  Their website is www.murphyssteakhouse.com, and they also have a Facebook page.

McGilvrey’s Pub and Eatery, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Speedway)


McGilvrey’s Pub and Eatery is a racing-themed bar/restaurant on the West side of Indianapolis, in the town of Speedway.  I’ve known of McGilvrey’s for quite some time (I used to live on the West side), but didn’t have a chance to visit until last week.

It’s nicely appointed in race decor, and it’s larger than it looks from the outside.  We visited on a weeknight, when the weather wasn’t very good, and expected it to be empty, but it was pretty well packed. It was obvious that nearly everyone there were regulars, as they obviously knew each other by name.

Their menu offers their “famous” hand breaded tenderloin in two sizes, a large and a baby.  I opted for the large.

Tenderloin edited photo

The sandwich was obviously hand breaded and the meat was fresh and tender.  Sadly, there just wasn’t much flavor to either the meat or the breading…it was quite bland.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a BAD tenderloin…it just wasn’t especially good.  It was also pounded out VERY thin, which isn’t my preference.

It was served as I requested (Onion, mayo, and ketchup) and I opted for the standard side of chips.  All in all, I’d give the sandwich a 3.  It’s average, and, personally, I wouldn’t order it again.  But if you prefer a thinner, less seasoned tenderloin, you might find this to your liking.
My wife had a pub salad and breaded mushrooms.  The salad was pretty basic – chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, and a slice of radish here and there.  The Italian dressing was really good.  The breaded mushrooms were very good.  You can get them with a side of ranch or marinara.

A couple of things left this visit less than stellar.  First, the service was not that great.  It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t especially friendly nor prompt.  I had to flag our waitress down after the meal, after waiting a while for our check, to actually get our check.

Secondly, it’s a smoking establishment.  I’m not really sure how that happened, because I thought all of Marion County was non-smoking.  But, there were a LOT of smokers in the bar and it detracted from our overall experience.

McGilvrey’s is located at 3009 N High School Road in Indianapolis.  I couldn’t locate a web page for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

86th Street Pub, Indianapolis, IN

86th front

86th Street Pub is a place I’d been to a time or two in the past, but didn’t remember it making a big impression on me one way or the other.

I’d heard…likely through social media…that they were under new management, and I had intended to visit, but had never got around to it, until my wife was invited to be part of a podcast that originates from there.

The pub is located in a somewhat aging strip center on 86th street, just West of Michigan Road. There are a variety of businesses in this center, and the 86th Street Pub is located right in the center.

Upon entering, I was struck by how well lit and airy it was…a welcome change from many of the dark, almost depressing pubs I visit for work from time to time. And it’s big, too! They main room has quite a few TVs, and the back room has pool tables, a couple of TV’s, and it, too, is well lit and inviting.

So, the atmosphere was good….and I saw the hand breaded tenderloin on the menu, and had to give it a try.

86th loin

I’ll keep this short and sweet. This is one of the best tenderloins in Indy, hands down. The meat is fresh, tender, and moist, and the breading is sublime. Nice, light, and crispy, it compliments rather than overwhelms the taste of the meat. I’ve had two of these tenderloins in the last couple of weeks, and both of them were a solid 5 out of 5 bites.

Several sides are available, and I HIGHLY recommend the onion rings, available for a small upcharge.

While dining at the 86th Street Pub, my wife has tried several of their offerings: the Black & Bleu salad, California Chicken Club, and the Spicy Southwest Wrap. She liked them all and wouldn’t hesitate to get any of them again! But her favorite part is the fact that, in addition to their standard beer selections, they have a surprisingly diverse offering of local and regional craft beer. There is truly something for everyone, and they do great job at changing up what they have on tap.

In addition to their beer selections, The 86th Street Pub also features live entertainment…music, trivia, and more.

I do have to put a plug in for the live podcast, the Indy Drinking Dead. Broadcast live from the pub Sunday nights at 8PM, followed by a current episode viewing party at 9PM. You can find the podcast website at http://www.indydrinkingdead.com

You can find the 86th Street Pub online at http://www.86thstreetpub.com

Cafe Audrey, Indianapolis, IN (Guest Review by Janie Morrison)

Cafe Audrey
Last Tuesday my OTHER Holly friend and I decided to meet for lunch near where she works at Fort Ben.  Not Rick’s wife, but Holly Harrison Lee, who has been my friend since we were in first grade.  
Neither of us had been to Cafe Audrey’s at the Fort, but were glad to try a new place.  It is only open for breakfast and lunch and they serve breakfast all day.  I decided to try the breaded tenderloin sandwich and Holly had an omelet.
Audrey tenderloin
The description says that it is made with homemade  crunchy breading and that the meat is tender inside.  This was true.  It came with homemade chips for $7.99 but I substituted cottage cheese for $1 more.  There were several other sides I could have chosen as well as an onion rings or wedges upgrade for $1.49.
I have been pondering how to rate this sandwich for a few days.  I liked it.  The breading was flavorful and indeed – very crunchy.  The meat was tender.  The problem for me was the ratio of breading to meat.  I think the breading overwhelmed the meat a bit.  It was 2/3rds breading to 1/3 meat.  I would have liked it better if those ratios were flipped.  But, nonetheless, it is a good sandwich and I would give it a strong 4.
Holly liked her omelet and the rest of the menu looked very good.  The place itself is very quaint and inviting.  It is very clean.  The manager checked in to make sure everything was okay and our server was very sweet and informative.
She said the restaurant was built in 1901 as stables for the horses on the fort.  Later it was used as a post office. More recently it has been a restaurant.  It has just reopened after closing briefly while transitioning to new ownership.  They were serving off of the previous menu when we were there, but hope to have their new menus soon.

Kunkels Drive In, Connersville, Indiana

Kunkels Sign

A friend recently recommended that we try Kunkels Drive In, in Connersville. That’s not a town we got to on a regular basis, but our business took us there recently, so we decided to give it a try.

Kunkels is a true slice of Americana. Small town, family owned drive in, with great food and service. It’s one of those places I stepped in and immediately felt at home.
The Drive In has curb service, and they also have a small dining room. We opted to eat in the dining room, as it was rainy and gloomy outside, and also because I’m not a huge fan of eating in the car.

We had a very brief wait for a table, 5 minutes or so, and were promptly seated as the 1st table became available. Our waitress was friendly and professional, and, more than that, was knowledgeable about the menu. Of course, I wanted to try the tenderloin, and she assured me that they were hand-made, in house, so I was sold.

Kunkels Loin
I like this tenderloin quite a lot! It’s not so big as to be overwhelming, but big enough to be satisfying. It’s pounded out thin, but not TOO thin. It’s, perhaps, just a bit thinner than I prefer, but still, it’s thicker than many of the tenderloins out there.

The breading was very good indeed! It was nice and crunchy, and stayed crisp. The sandwich wasn’t greasy at all. The meat was fresh, and while not the absolute best I’ve ever had, again, it was quite good. The sandwich was dressed exactly as I requested it.

All in all, I’m going to give Kunkels tenderloin a 4 out of 5 bites. It’s well above average and I’ll certainly get it again.

For my side, I ordered onion rings, and they were something else indeed! Light breading, done perfectly, these were some of the best onion rings I’ve ever had.

For her dinner, Holly had pulled pork with cole slaw and krinkle cut fries. She likes to get the pulled pork at a new restaurant and uses that as a “gauge” for the other menu items. She is happy to report that this pulled pork is a keeper! Tender shredded pork with a sweet and smoky sauce – delicious! And the fresh, seasonal strawberry pie was the perfect ending to a delicious meal!

Kunkels Drive In is located at 2402 N Park Road in Connersville, Indiana. I was unable to located a web site for them, but they do have a Facebook page.