Manley’s Irish Mutt,  Indianapolis 


Manley’s Irish Mutt is an institution on the East side of Indianapolis.  Located near 10th and Shadeland, in what appears to be a largely mixed industrial/retail area, they do a thriving blue collar business.

I have a special affinity for neighborhood bars, and it’s an added bonus if they are a little bit on the divey side.  Manley’s certainly fits this bill, so I felt right at home the minute I walked through the door.

We were meeting a group of Geocaching friends for dinner (Hi, Judie, Janie, and Jay!!) and this was a convenient place for us to meet, plus I’d been told they have a very good tenderloin.

This is a pretty large bar, essentially one huge room.  There’s a stage, and some TV sets but not enough to be distracting.  We were dining early (4:30PM) so we had no problem getting a table for 5, but by the time we left, the place was hopping!

It’s pretty standard bar fare on the menu.  Pizza, burgers, tenderloin, a Rueben, and such.  Of course, I was there to try the breaded tenderloin (as did 2 others in our party.)

Served on a nicely toasted bun, the sandwich was served dressed as I requested.  The breading is nicely seasoned, with nothing overwhelming the flavor of the meat.  They’re hand breaded in house, and the meat is, for me, the perfect thickness…not too thick, not to thin.  Both texture and taste were spot on.  This is a 5 out of 5 bites for me, really, really good.  Both Jay and I agreed that we liked the fact that while it’s a hearty sandwich, it’s not hubcap sized.  Bigger is not always better.  Well done, Manley’s.

For my side, I chose tater tots, and they were quite good indeed.  I believe they’ll be my side of choice when I return.

For her dinner, Holly chose a classic cheeseburger and tater tots.  She requested her burger medium, and it came out a little more on the well done side, but it was still fresh and juicy – dressed as requested.

Manley’s Irish Mutt is located at 7041 E 10th street in Indianapolis.  I was unable to locate a working website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

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. 

Metro Diner, Indianapolis

metro-outside

 

I’ve been excited to try the Metro Diner on the north side of Indy ever since they opened a few months ago.  We actually tried to go this past Sunday, but the line was stretched out the door to get in, and we were on a bit of a schedule, so we decided to drop in last night for an early dinner.

The Metro Diner is a throwback to the diners of the 50s, with a bit of an upscale twist.  There’s a small counter with a half dozen or so stools in front of the grill, and a large dining area with tables and booths.  It’s a small chain, and their emphasis is on comfort food, as evidenced by some of their menu items…meatloaf, pot roast, and the like.

We arrived about 415 PM and again, I realized how very important a first impression is when trying a new restaurant.  There was a host at the host station, and we stopped and there was a moment of awkwardness…he wasn’t especially welcoming.  And, honestly, we both found him a little aloof and off putting, which wasn’t a good sign for a place that stakes its reputation on comfort food and being comfortable.  However, we were seated and our server, LaChelle, proved herself to be capable, personable, and helpful in explaining the menu.

I already knew what I wanted…the Big Bern Fried Pork sandwich, which is their version of a Breaded Pork Tenderloin.

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I knew going in that this wasn’t a traditional Hoosier Pork Tenderloin.  For starters, it’s served on grilled Italian bread.  And it’s topped with provel cheese, wilted spinach, caramelized red onions, bacon, fried jalapenos, tomatoes, and garlic aioli.  I decided to be adventurous and get it exactly as it’s served.  Being a traditionalist when it comes to food (and most other areas of my life) this is a bit of a stretch for me, but, what’s life without a little adventure thrown in?

As is my tradition, I cut a corner of the meat off and sampled it, and my first thought was that it was just a little bland.  However, once I tried it all together, it was absolutely stellar.  All those flavors and textures meld together to make it a VERY good sandwich.  They’ve obviously done their homework on this one, every flavor and texture complimented the other one, without one overwhelming another on the sandwich.

Since it’s not a traditional sandwich, I’m not going to rate it on my traditional 1-5 scale…I’m going to rate it on the “would I order it again” scale, and the answer is, yes, absolutely.  I REALLY liked it and would not hesitate to order it again.

This is an added bonus….it’s so big, I couldn’t finish it all, which is a rarity for me.  I’ve got half left over for lunch today!

For my side order, I chose onion rings, and they were very good also.  I won’t go so far as to say they’re the best in town, but they’re well above average and I wouldn’t hesitate to order those again, either.

For her dinner, Holly chose the grilled fish wrap with homemade potato chips, and she reports them to be outstanding. The chips are extra crispy – like a kettle cooked chip – and simply seasoned.

We splurged for dessert this night.  I had the strawberry shortcake and it was awesome, and Holly chose the Key Lime Pie.  Being that the original Metro Diner is in Jacksonville, rest assured that their homemade Key Lime pie is the real deal – and it is delicious!
The Metro Diner is located at 3954 E 82nd street in Indianapolis.  Their website is www.metrodiner.com and you can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

North End BBQ and Moonshine, Indianapolis (Nora)

north-end-front

 

North End BBQ is a relatively new restaurant on the north side of Indy, known as Nora.

Situated in a small strip mall, it’s divided into 3 areas, a bar, a family dining area, and a VERY nice outside patio.

As a BBQ restaurant, BBQ is their main emphasis.  However, there are a few other things on the menu…a burger two, quite a few appetizers, and a few salads.

We were planning to meet some friends for dinner, so I brought up their online menu and saw a breaded tenderloin, and knew I had to try it.

We arrived about 5PM and our capable server, Ellen, told us it was a lunch menu item only.  I expressed my disappointment, because I had come to try it, and she went back to the kitchen and they were glad to make it for me.

north-end-loin

This is a VERY good tenderloin.  It’s just a tad thinner than I normally prefer, but in this case it worked, and it worked well.  The breading was nice and light, and there was a nice texture difference between the crispness of the breading and the tenderness of the meat.  That’s one reason I’m a fan of thicker tenderloins, the differences in texture, but that wasn’t an issue with this one.

The breading was seasoned nicely, just enough to add a little flavor without overwhelming the flavor.  Personally, I would have preferred a little more seasoning, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.

The meat was not quite as tender as some I’ve had, still it was well above average and nice and moist.

It was served dressed as I requested.  It’s a VERY good sandwich.  I don’t think it is quite one of the very best in Indy, so I’m going to give it a 4.5 out of 5.  Very, very good indeed and I highly recommend it.

For my side, I got their fries, which are paired with smoked bone marrow butter and jalapenos, and these are simply outstanding. I do believe they’re my favorite fries in town, but they’re not quite traditional.  Still, I HIGHLY recommend trying these.

For her dinner, Holly had the Carolina pulled pork.  It comes with two sides – and she chose the collard greens and cornbread, which is served with maple bourbon butter.  She reported the pulled pork to be tender and flavorful.  She said It was fun to try the variety of sauces that North End provides!

North End BBQ is located on 86th street, in the Nora Plaza.  You can find them online at www.thenorthendbbq.com  and they also have a Facebook page.

Broad Ripple Tavern, Indianapolis

broad-ripple-tavern

 

We don’t get to Broad Ripple as often as we probably should. It’s a very cool part of town, and accouple of our favorite restaurants ARE there….Shalimar Indian Restaurant and The Aristocrat. Still, it’s not a place we find as a destination very often.

We were having a meeting last week, and it was at the Broad Ripple Tavern, a place I’d vaguely heard of but had never been to.

Broad Ripple Tavern seems a little more “mature” than some of the other bars in the area.
Perhaps it was because we were there on a weeknight, but it seemed that the clientele was a little older. A nice bar in the front, it opens into a huge back room that has some pool tables, a very  nice stage, and a ton of TVs for watching sports or whatever suits your fancy.

Since we were having a meeting, it was a good way to judge how our server handled this. Our sever, Nicole, was a pro. She gave us ample opportunity to handle our business without
pressuring us to order or pay, yet made sure our drinks were filled and everything was taken care of in a timely manner. Well done.

The menu isn’t the largest I’ve seen…and features pretty typical pub fare: burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, and the like. I asked our server about the breaded tenderloin, and she assured me that it was hand breaded in house. On top of that, everything breaded item they serve…chicken fingers, etc, is hand breaded in a buttermilk based breading, so I was sold.

brt-loin

So, how was it? It was VERY good. As a matter of fact, I believe it stacks up well against any
tenderloin in town. The breading was quite tasty, nice and crisp, with just enough seasoning to compliment the flavor without overwhelming it. The meat itself was nice and tender. The bun was nicely toasted and the sandwich was dressed as I requested it. In addition, I believe the sandwich was just the right size…a nice, satisfying meal without being overwhelming. I give it a 5 out of 5, no doubt about it in my eyes.

For her dinner, Holly ordered the pulled pork sliders and tavern fries. She reports: “The BBQ was a little sweeter than I prefer. I’ll be sure to ask for hot sauce the next time!” When we asked what tavern fries were, we were told they were seasoned waffle fries. They actually came out at seasoned matchstick fries – but all is well, because they were very tasty!

Broad Ripple Tavern is located at 745 Broad Ripple Avenue in Indy. Their website is
http://www.broadrippletavern.com and they also are on twitter and facebook.

The Willard, Franklin, Indiana

willard-front

The Williard is one of those regionally famous places I’d never had a chance to try.

Located in an old hotel in historic Franklin, Indiana, it’s one of those places that fairly screams history.  Beautiful old woodwork, tile floors, a wonderful wooden staircase (that kind of leads to nowhere), it’s worth a visit just to wander around.  Yes, it’s a bit run down and worn around the edges, but that’s part of its charm.

It appears to be famous for 3 things…pizza, tenderloins, and wings.  They were one of the contestants at the Tenderloin Throwdown in Greensburg, Indiana earlier this year, so I’d had a chance to sample their tenderloin, but not to enjoy the whole experience.

We arrived at about 5PM on Saturday evening, and since it was such a lovely evening, we chose to sit outside.  If the weather is nice, it’s a great place to sit, dine, and watch the world go by.

The menu features pizza and wings above all else, it seems, but there is quite a few other choices on the menu.  Of course, I was there to try the breaded tenderloin.

willard-loin

This is really one fine tenderloin.  The meat is fresh, moist, and tender, and the flavor is spot on. It’s certainly one of the best I’ve had in a while.

The breading is also VERY tasty.  It’s quite tasty, and REALLY crisp.  The breading has a nice peppery taste to it.  I’m a fan of that peppery taste, so it rates very high on my list, but I realize that’s a matter of personal preference, so be aware if you are not a fan of pepper, this might not be one of your favorites,  It was, however, one of mine.  It gave a nice kick to the sandwich.

The sandwich was served dressed as I requested, with nice attention to detail.  In my book, this is certainly a 5 bite tenderloin. I would not hesitate to order it again.

For my side, I chose fries.  They were good, but fell short of outstanding.

For her dinner, Holly chose the sweet chili wings and a dinner salad.  For wings with “chili” in the name, they were quite mild – in fact, the flavor was rather bland.  Holly reports the wings themselves were meaty and tender, but that she would try a different sauce next time – one with more flavor.

In reading other reviews of The Williard, it appears they have some ongoing service issues, and our visit was no different.  It took over an hour to get our food, and we saw other parties who came in after us order, get their meal, and be finished before we got ours.  The food was outstanding and makes me want to return, but the service?  Not so much.
The Williard is located at 99 N Main Street in Franklin.  It appears their webpage is inactive, but they do have a Facebook page.