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/

Grand Junction Brewery, Westfield, Indiana

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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 http://www.grandjunctionbreweing.com

The Chicken Inn, Shelbyville, Indiana

My wife and I have been past The Chicken Inn a few times when in Shelbyville, but it had never been at mealtime, so we’ve not had the chance before now.

CHicken Inn SignThe Chicken Inn is your quintessential small town diner…warm, cozy, and it seems everyone knows each other by name. Even though we aren’t local, our server (whose name I neglected to get) greeted us with a smile, and was as pleasant with us as she was with the folks she knew by name. We were off to a good start!

I’m not sure how long the Chicken Inn has been there…quite some time, I believe, but I think it was something else before its current incarnation. It appears to be an older Pizza Hut building, but I’m not sure.

Their menu is all home cookin’. Fried chicken, breaded tenderloins, and walleye, which seems to be their specialty.

They have a hand cut and hand breaded tenderloin, so, of course, that’s what I selected. It’s available it two sizes, a smaller one, and a large one. I opted for the smaller one, and it was plenty big to satisfy even my hearty appetite!

CS tenderloin

It was a little thinner than I prefer, but I DO realize that is a matter of personal preference. The meat itself was fine…not great, not bad, just average. The breading was a nice ratio to the meat, but…the breading was very bland. It wasn’t bad breading, there was just not much flavor to it.

The sandwich was served dressed as I requested it. Honestly….I was expecting more out of the sandwich. After I finished it, I was left with the feeling that it was just average. That’s what I’ll rate it, 3 out of 5, just average. If you’re not a fan of seasoning, and prefer a thinner tenderloin, you’ll like it. Otherwise, you probably won’t.

There were some VERY bright spots in our meal. The broasted potatoes I chose for my side were simply amazing. A big bonus is Sugar Cream Pie for dessert, and it was a VERY generous slice of pie.

For her lunch, Holly had a walleye sandwich. Walleye is their feature on Fridays, and we noticed several people coming in to buy it – with good reason: Holly reports the walleye to be incredibly good! Tender and flaky, and full of flavor. They brought out tartar sauce, but honestly, this walleye does not need it! For lunch, you can either get a sandwich and one side for $5.75, or filets with two sides for $7.75. And at dinner on Fridays, they feature all you can eat walleye for $12.95. Holly had the broasted potatoes for her side as well, and gives them two thumbs up!

Even though the tenderloin was less than outstanding, I was quite impressed with the service and the rest of the food. It’s on our list of places to visit when we find ourselves back in Shelbyville!

The chicken inn is located at 541 E Hendricks in Shelbyville, Indiana. I was unable to find a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

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.