Lou’s Diner, Cloverdale, Indiana

Lou's outside

We were in West Central Indiana, doing a 5k benefit walk for the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, and figured right after a 5k was a great time to eat a breaded tenderloin!

Before we dig into the review, let me mention the EFRC in Center Point, Indiana.  It’s one of our favorite places in the state, and we love to spread the news about this spot that gives homes to big cats that are unable to be released into the wild.  Former circus animals, rescues, pets, and others, it’s an amazing place to visit and we highly recommend it! You can read more about them at www.exoticfelinerescuecenter.org

We’d heard about Lou’s Diner in Cloverdale…right on our route home, so decided that would be our stop.

Lou’s wasn’t exactly easy to spot…there was some road construction in the area, and it’s located in what appears to be a largely industrial area.  We found it, parked, and walked in.

It’s an unassuming place…pretty typical small town diner.  There are a few pictures on the walls, mostly of covered bridges and local history, and not much else.  It truly appears to be a place where folks gather for good food and conversation, as opposed to decor or watching sports on TV.  A nice change of pace from many of the places around!

I’ll be honest and say I didn’t give the menu more than a passing glance, as the tenderloin had already come highly recommended.  I asked our waitress “How’s your tenderloin” and she answered with my pet peeve. “It’s HUGE”.

I’ll probably come off as cranky here, but that wasn’t what I asked.  I’m really not concerned with the size, I want to know if it’s good or not.  The only think worse than a small mediocre sandwich is a large mediocre sandwich, right?  I questioned her further, and she told me that they get their meat fresh and make them fresh daily.  I was sold.

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This is an outstanding sandwich!  The meat itself is tender and moist, and the breading was perfectly seasoned to compliment the taste of the meat.  With the bun and requested condiments (I eat mine with ketchup, mayo, and onion) it was as good a tenderloin as I’ve had in a while.  It certainly stacks up with any of the best in the state and I’ll give it a 5 out of 5 bites.

For my side, I splurged and got onion rings.  They were fantastic as well! Nicely breaded, fried just right, and the bistro sauce recommended by our waitress set them off perfectly.

For her lunch, Holly had the grilled chicken salad.  The grilled chicken was moist and flavorful. But what really shines on this salad is their low calorie dressing option – blueberry pomegranate!  More than anything, this tasted like a fruit purée. It was not heavy or oily at all…the perfect light dressing for my ultra-healthy lunch!

Lou’s Diner is located at 3 Stardust Way, Cloverdale, Indiana.  I was unable to locate a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

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Redemption Aleworks, Indianapolis

 

Redemption

 

With last week being Indy Tenderloin Week, we thought it was a good idea to try some tenderloins we’d not had yet.

Friday night, we chose Redemption Aleworks on the north side of Indy.  We’d heard good things about this place, but had not had the opportunity to check it out.

Redemption Aleworks is located in a strip center on the north side of 96th street, almost across from Metro airport.  There’s a small, dog friendly patio, and the inside has an all ages area as well as a 21 and over bar area.

The decor is rather what I’d call “industrial”….I liked it!  To me, it doesn’t look like your typical strip mall pub.

The menu has some interesting choices on it, with some nice variations on typical pub fare.  To be sure, beer is their forte’, as it should be, but I was impressed with the menu.

Of course, I was there to try the tenderloin, with it being Indy Tenderloin Week.  They offered 2 choices–a traditional breaded tenderloin, as well as a mushroom bordelaise tenderloin.  Although I’m a traditionalist, I decided to give the latter a try.

It’s your typical breaded tenderloin, served on brioche, with a mushroom bordelaise sauce on it.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it or not, but I decided to chance it.

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I’m glad I did!  The tenderloin itself was stellar–the meat was moist and tender, and the breading was darn near perfect.  The bordelaise sauce, combined with the mushrooms and brioche instead of a traditional hamburger bun made a REALLY nice combination of textures.  Not only was the texture very good, but the taste was also! It was a nice, savory combination of flavors that worked really well. Although I was unsure how it would work, I was sold after the first bite.

Instead of rating this on my normal 1-5 scale, since it’s not a traditional breaded tenderloin sandwich, I’ll just say I’d order it again without hesitation.  Outstanding!

Holly, for her dinner, ordered the chicken bacon chipotle wrap with a side salad featuring their in house made basil vinaigrette.  Everything tasted great, except that she didn’t notice any bacon on the wrap.

For our sides, we chose salads and they, as well, were outstanding!  Not an out of the bag salad, but a healthy portion of real salad. Much appreciated.

I want to give a shout out to our server, Matt!  A personable young man, he was the perfect mix of friendly and professional and was quite capable when we were asking questions about the menu.


Redemption Aleworks is located at 7035 E 96th street in Indy.  You can find them online at www.redemptionaleworks.com and also on Facebook and Twitter.

Big Daddy’s Bar and Grill, Indianapolis

Big Daddy's

I’ve heard of Big Daddy’s a few times, but had never had a chance to visit.  It’s not close t home  (I’m on the far north side, and it’s on the south side), but on this particular day, I was meeting my good friend  (and fellow musician) Larry Wayt to visit Ping’s Music on the south side of Indy  (BTW…if you’re looking for a music store, I HIGHLY recommend Ping’s Music) so it was the perfect place for us to meet for lunch.

Big Daddy’s is HUGE.  I was kind of amazed just how big it was on the inside.  And it was PACKED.  Even though it was hopping…there was hardly an empty seat in the house…our service was prompt and friendly.

Big Daddy’s has a very full menu, of pretty typical bar food…sandwiches, burgers, pizza, a steak or two, and a few salads.  Pretty much everything is made fresh in house, and it shows.

I chose, of course, the breaded tenderloin.

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I’m not really sure you can tell by the picture, but this sandwich is HUGE.  Honestly, I was suspect, because I’m from the school of thought that bigger isn’t always better.  I’m always suspect when I ask a server how their tenderloin is, and they reply with “It’s big!!”.  I didn’t ask how big it was…I asked how was it.

But I digress.  This is one fantastic tenderloin.  Hand cut and breaded, the meat is tender and moist, and it had the perfect amount of breading.  Just enough to compliment the flavor of the meat without overwhelming it.  In addition, the breading had a nice seasoning to it, which only added to an already outstanding sandwich.

So, how big was it?  I couldn’t finish it…and that, my friends, is a REAL rarity.  How do I rate it?  It’s a 5 out of 5, no doubt about it.

I was unable to find a website for Big Daddy’s, but they do have a Facebook page.  They’re located at 2536 S Meridian Street in Indianapolis.

 

Montana Mike’s, Greenfield Indiana

Mike's

Montana Mike’s is a “Montana inspired steakhouse born in Oklahoma”.  I’ve actually been to Montana a couple of times, and the decor certainly fits that bill!  Lots of taxidermy on the walls, hunting and fishing art, dark wood, it certainly does remind me of a remote, mountain lodge.

Montana Mike’s is part of the Stockade chain of restaurants, which included Sirloin Stockade  (Muncie folks might remember that place), Coyote Canyon, and a number of other steak type restaurants.

We were meeting some geocaching friends….Jay, Judie, Janie, and Maria for dinner, and they all live on the East side, and I’d heard that Montana MIke’s has a good tenderloin, so I decided to give it a try.

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The menu advertises it as homemade, and it certainly appears to be.  It’s  a large sandwich, seemingly hand pounded and breaded.  It’s pounded out a little thinner than I prefer, but not paper thin, there’s still some “heft” left to the meat.  The breading is nicely seasoned, and has a bit of a pepper kick to it.  I like that peppery taste, but it might be a little strong to some folks who prefer a bit of a milder breading.

The meat itself was tender and flavorful, although I thought just a tad on the dry side.  The breading, as mentioned, had a nice kick to it, but for some reason it tended to get just a bit soggy towards the end of the sandwich.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a BAD sandwich, there just was nothing to really set it apart from the rest of the pack.  I’m going to give it a 3 out of 5 bites…it really IS a tenderloin, not a fritter, but I’m going to call it just average.  While I would go back to Montana Mike’s without question, I’d get a steak next time.  I do want to give a shout out to our server, she did a great job serving our group in a timely, friendly manner, while allowing us to linger and visit.  She was much appreciated!

For her dinner, Holly had the pork brisket tacos.  She says they were flavorful, but the cut of meat did not seem to be like any brisket she had seen.  It wasn’t sliced or chopped, as a typical brisket might be, but the meat was cut into large cubes, and it was awkward to eat in the smallish corn tortillas.

You can find Montana Mike’s online at www.montanamikes.com

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.

Stookeys loin

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/