Mudsocks Grill, Noblesville, Indiana

We were headed towards Noblesville for a rehearsal, and were looking for a place to have a good, yet quick, meal.  We spied Mudsock’s on the road, and decided to stop in there for a sandwich.  Having never been there before, we were not quite sure what to expect, but were willing to give it a try.

Upon entering, we were greeted by a friendly hostess, and immediately seated.  At dinner hour on a mid week night, there were a few customers in there, but not nearly as many as I anticipated.

The décor is pleasant…lots of dark wood, some TVs tuned to sports  (thankfully, with the sound turned down so it was easy to carry on a conversation), and I was surprised by how spacious it was.  This is a much larger restaurant than it appears on the outside.  It’s divided into two separate areas, a family dining area, and a bar/lounge.  It does appear to be all non-smoking.

Our waitress came and brought our menus and took our drink orders, and we were off to a good start.

Upon reading our menus, we both mentioned that it seemed a bit pricey for sandwiches and such.  Still, if the food is outstanding, we don’t mind paying a bit more for it.

The menu is varied and interesting, with a nice selection of salads, sandwiches, and entrees.  When I saw that they ordered a “beer battered, hand breaded tenderloin” I knew that was what I was going to order…even if it was $10.00 with chips.

We ordered our meals, and, as usual, I ordered my sandwich with ketchup, mayo, and onion only…and I always put emphasis on the “only”.  I opted for the onion strings instead of the chips for a slight upcharge.

So we waited for our meals.  And waited.  And then we waited some more.  So much for a quick meal!  Finally our waitress came out and told us our onion strings didn’t “look right” so she told the kitchen to re-make them.  (Holly had ordered the same side).


Finally our meals came, and I was disappointed to find my sandwich dressed with lettuce and tomato.  As is my custom, I cut a corner off the tenderloin and tried it without the bun.  The meat was good…probably a little above average, as was the breading.

The problem was…this is one GREASY sandwich. Not a little greasy…but dripping, leaving a puddle of grease on the plate greasy.  The taste was pretty good…but I just can’t get over how greasy this sandwich was.

And it was the same with the onion strings.  It looked like they hadn’t even been drained after taking them out of the deep fryer.  Grease dripping off of them, leaving a puddle of grease on the plate.  Yes, it was that greasy.


I’m torn on what to rate this sandwich…maybe they were having a bad night and I should cut them a break.  But, this is the sandwich I was served, so this is the sandwich I have to rate.  I’m going to give it a 2/5…below average.  With the service issues, I’ll give the experience a  1/5….pretty poor.

For her meal, Holly ordered a Mudsocks Chicken Portabella Wrap.  The menu says that it is “an herb-marinated grilled Portabella mushroom with roasted red peppers, grilled chicken, spicy garlic pesto sauce, fresh baby spinach, and Mozzarella cheese wrapped in a roasted red tomato tortilla.”  If you’re into this sort of thing, it sounds pretty good, right?  Holly indicated that it was a very disappointing wrap.  According to her…it, too, was greasy.  A greasy wrap!  Disgusting!  The most prominent flavor on the sandwich was the roasted red peppers, which were also overly oily, the spicy garlic pesto was neither spicy nor garlicky, and there was hardly any baby spinach or Mozzarella.  And the marinated Portabella had no flavor whatsoever.  And even though the waitress told us that she sent back the onion strings and had the kitchen make us fresh ones, Holly reports that hers came out barely warm.  Her meal was a major letdown.  No wonder she left the half of the wrap she didn’t eat in the fridge of the band rehearsal’s hostess and didn’t return to get it!


Mudsocks Grill is located at  14741 Hazel Dell Crossing in Noblesville, Indiana.  You can find them online at


Review #100! Nick’s Kitchen, Huntington, Indiana

Well, here it is.  Review number 100.  100 tenderloins since I started this journey.

It’s been a great 100.  I’ve been interviewed by some podcasts, magazines, radio stations, and more, and have enjoyed every minute of it.  And I look forward to the next 100!

When I was approaching number 100, there really was no question as to where I wanted to go.  Nick’s Kitchen in Huntington, Indiana, is the generally accepted home of the breaded tenderloin (although a couple of other places argue that claim), so off to Huntington we went.

If you want to read a bit about the restaurant and history, you can go to

Nick’s is your typical small town diner.  I was struck upon entering just how sparkling clean it was…it looked like everything had been freshly scrubbed and clean. The walls have dozens, if not more, pictures of local history.  This being Dan Quayle’s hometown, there are many photos of him, including a couple of him at Nick’s, where he announced his candidacy. While we were there we heard someone ask the waitress “Do you remember when Danny Quayle was here??”…

One thing I’ve found out about tenderloins in doing these reviews is how loyal folks are to them.  I’ve had views from all over the world, both from transplanted Hoosiers and from folks who have either had a tenderloin while passing through, or who have heard about them from relatives or friends here.  Nick’s menu says the same…and they SHIP their tenderloins, all over the world!  Yes, we tenderloin lovers are passionate.

Nick’s menu has pretty much standard diner fare, with a few exceptions.  Goulash was the lunch special yesterday, and Holly had something I’m not sure I’ve ever seen on a diner menu, but more about that later.


Of course, I chose the breaded tenderloin.  This was what I had driven 90 minutes for, to have the one that “started it all”, as the menu says.

Well…as you can tell by the picture…it might as well have been a pre-processed fritter.  Matter of fact, I’m not sure it wasn’t! But, to be fair, I’m not sure it was, either.  We’ll just stick with it looked and tasted like a fritter and let you all make your own judgement. Being a devoted tenderloin connoisseur….about all I can say about it is that it was edible.  The bun WAS nicely toasted and it was dressed as I requested…but that’s pretty much it.  I’m going to give Nick’s breaded tenderloin a 1 out of 5 bites.  Just edible.

The onion rings were OUTSTANDING and I wouldn’t hesitate to get them again.

Holly had a Portabella Po’ Boy.  Gotta love fried mushrooms!  These were big strips of portabella fried to a golden brown and served on a toasted bun.  That much alone sounded delicious. Although it was advertised to have “roasted red peppers, lettuce, and Italian dressing”, it arrived differently. She requested no lettuce and the dressing on the side, which they got right.  But the red peppers were not roasted – they were raw.  And the mushrooms were covered with shredded cheese. The menu said nothing about shredded cheese on the sandwich.  Had she known that it came with cheese she would have ordered that on the side as well. She said that even though it was not quite what she expected, it was still tasty.  However, she observed freshly formed hamburger patties being constructed in the kitchen (which is fully visible from the dining room), and decided that when they visit Nick’s again, she would definitely order one of those!

If you go to Nick’s and Sugar Cream Pie is on the menu for the day, do NOT hesitate to order it.
I would turn around right now and drive and hour and a half for another piece of that truly WAS that good, and they’re made in house.

All in all…Nick’s was a good experience.  We’d certainly go back, I just wouldn’t order the tenderloin again. 🙂

Nick’s is located at 506 N Jefferson in Huntington, Indiana

Golden Gables Restaurant, Bedford, Indiana

This past weekend found us on our way to Mitchell, Indiana for the Persimmon festival, and I was bound and determined to find a good tenderloin down that way. I remember passing the Golden Gables restaurant on our way to Orleans, Indiana for a performance at the Dogwood Festival, and I had wondered if it was any good or not.

The first thing I noticed upon walking in was just how smoky the restaurant was…as a working musician, I’ve played in my share of smoky bars,and th is was just as smoky…if not more…than the worst of them.  However, we had already been seated and had our drinks, so we decided to tough it out.

They had giant breaded tenderloin on the menu, and I asked the waitress if it was good, and she assured me that it was big. That should have been my first warning, but since it was listed as a breaded tenderloin…and they also offered a grilled tenderloin on the menu, I took a chance.


As you can see, this is no tenderloin.  It was a straight out of the box pork fritter, passed off as a breaded tenderloin…a huge no-no in my book. Yes, it was edible, but that’s about all I can say about it.  Since it technically was edible, I’ll give it a 1 out of 5.

Wendi ordered the catfish and it was….well, she described it as tasting “muddy”.  Holly chose the baked boneless, skinless chicken breast with dressing…a nice healthy choice, however, it was slathered in some kind of gravy.  All of it..the chicken, the dressing,everything.  It would’ve been nice to have stated that on the menu,for those who were looking for a bit of a healthier choice.

The service turn sour very quickly.  The server was right there to take our order, but pretty quickly forgot all about us. Holly was brought the wrong salad dressing, however, to ask for it to be exchanged for what she requested seemed like it would have been a major issue, so she chose just to leave it as it was.

But, perhaps all was not lost!  We were told that this place had the best pie in the state, and on their sign they proudly proclaimed “Persimmon Pudding”!! Maybe we could salvage this meal after all!  So we waited for our waitress to return so we could order some of that famous pie.  And persimmon pudding. And we waited.  And waited,  And waited, to no avail, so we paid our check and left.

All said, this was one of the most disappointing dining experiences we’ve ever had.  Poor food and poor service all wrapped in one package.
I gave the sandwich a 1….I’ll give the overall experience a 0 out of 5.  We certainly won’t return.

We did figure out where the name “Golden Gables” came from though….all the nicotine stains in the ceiling.

Golden Gables is located at the intersection of US 37 and US 50, just south of Bedford, Indiana

The Route 66 Diner, West Lafayette, Indiana

We love Route 66.  We’ve had the good fortune to do some traveling on Route 66, and when we first heard of the Route 66 diner in Lafayette, Indiana, we knew we had to stop in.

Owned by the same folks who own the Triple XXX diner near Purdue University, the Route 66 diner is in an unassuming strip mall along with a chain restaurant and some other  shops.  It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside is a nice trip through Route 66 history.  Posters, postcards, wall hangings, clocks, tin signs are simply everywhere.  Holly and I both really enjoyed browsing over the walls, and saying  “ooohhh, we’ve been here!!”.  If you’re a Route 66 fan, it’s worth a visit just for the atmosphere.

The menu has breakfast lunch, and dinner, and is what I would call typical diner food.  Heavy on burgers and sandwiches, there are several other options for those that might not want a sandwich, including several Route 66 named salads.  I scanned the breakfast menu, and I think this place would be a must stop for breakfast if you’re in the area.

They had their breaded tenderloin on lunch special that day, what a stroke of luck for me!  For $4.95, you got a “hand cut” tenderloin with fries.  That should be a bargain.

Or is it?

If their goal with the hand cut tenderloin was to make it look and taste exactly like a frozen pork fritter, then they squarely hit the mark on this one.  Yes…it was hot.  Yes, it was dressed as I requested.  Yes, it was (technically) edible.  But that’s about all I can say for it.  It looked and tasted like a pork fritter I could get out of any grocers freezer case.  Since it WAS edible, it gets a 1 out of 5 bites… but that’s it.  It was a major disappointment.

That said…we really like this place.  Holly got a patty melt that was excellent, the fries were hot, crisp and fresh, and the salad we ordered was very good indeed.  The Route 66 Diner is tops on our list to visit when we’re in Lafayette….but I’l not order the tenderloin again.

The Route 66 diner is located at 2 N Salibury Street, in West Lafayette, Indiana

The Georgetowner Draft House, Fortville, Indiana

A few months ago, I was made aware of The Georgetowner Draft House in Fortville, Indiana.  I’m always up for trying new places, and on one of our trips over to Hancock County we decided to stop in, and I had planned to do a tenderloin review.

I ordered my tenderloin, and got a pork fritter.  However, while we were dining, the chef came out and we had a lengthy conversation about Indiana tenderloins, and he told me that he was learning to make them from scratch, and within a week, they’d be serving hand pounded, hand breaded tenderloins.  So, I scrapped that review and decided to do one our next trip through the area.

This week found us back in Hancock County, and we decided to stop in for supper.

Just like the first time we visited, my first impression of this place was very favorable!  I REALLY like the atmosphere here….part Irish Pub, part working mans’ bar, it’s a nice mix that works quite well for me.  The service is prompt and friendly without being overbearing.  There are several TVs scattered around showing sports, but the volume is at a reasonable level, so it’s not intrusive.  You can carry on a comfortable conversation without excessive background noise.

It appears the menu has changed a bit since the last time I was here….most notably, they now show their tenderloin as a “handmade tenderloin”.  We were off to a good start, and I was anticipating a great sandwich!

One of the hardest things about doing this is maintaining a fair observation of a sandwich, regardless of how well I like a restaurant.  This is one of those times where that came into play.


Here we are, setting in a restaurant I REALLY liked, with great service and atmosphere, and their “handmade” tenderloin looked like a pre-made, frozen patty.  And, it tasted like it, also.  The best words I can think of to describe this are “bland and tasteless” – a huge disappointment after so much anticipation.

I WILL say that it was edible…..but that’s about it.  I’ll give The Georgetowner’s tenderloin a 1 out of 5 bites.  I’ll certainly not order it again.

That said…everything else was very good indeed.  Holly had a Pork BBQ sandwich and proclaimed it very tasty….and the rest of the menu appears to be a cut about the rest.  I’ll certainly visit The Georgetowner again….likely for Trivia Night on a Thursday…but I’ll pass on the tenderloin.

The Georgetowner is located at 215 S Main Street in Fortville, Indiana.  You can find them online at