Have a Bite Diner, Metamora, Indiana

havabite front

The Hav a Bite diner is your typical small town diner located on State Road 52 in Metamora, Indiana.
I had reviewed the Hav a Bite a few years ago, but it had since closed and sat vacant for a year or so, and recently re-opened under new ownership, so we thought we’d give they a try.

As is typical with most small town diners, there are a LOT of locals who the servers know by name.  It was evident when we entered that a lively conversation among the regulars was going on.  We were unsure whether to seat ourselves, or if we were to be seated.  I caught a server’s eye, and still didn’t have a clue, so we made our way to a table.

I know more than a few restaurant owners read my blog, so here’s a hint to you.  When someone comes into your restaurant, you only have a few brief moments to make a good impression.  That impression will likely stay with customers long after they leave your establishment, no matter the quality of the meal.

You probably are picking up that we didn’t feel especially welcome when we first entered the restaurant, and that is exactly the case.  After we seated ourselves and our server came to the table, the service was fine, but that first impression still lingered.

havabite loin

I ordered the breaded tenderloin, which is hand breaded.  Upon looking at it, I thought, “This looks like a fritter”, but I’m happy to report that it wasn’t.  It was a nice piece of meat with good flavor.

Unfortunately, the breading was quite bland, and probably detracted a bit from the taste of the meat, as opposed to adding to it.  Don’t get me wrong….it wasn’t a BAD sandwich…it just wasn’t an especially good one.  I’d call it average…3 out of 5 bites.

The sandwich was served as I requested, and for my side I chose onion rings, which were quite good.

For her dinner, Holly chose the pulled pork bbq sandwich.  Holly reports that this is her “go-to” entree when she goes to a restaurant and can’t make a decision about what to have from the menu.  This is a pretty good one…well-balanced meat and sauce, and not too sweet or vinegary.

I’m left with mixed emotions about the Hav a Bite.  I really DO want to support small, locally owned businesses, but I also realize I work hard for my money and expect a good experience when I spend it.  Nevertheless, I’ll likely give them another try, but I won’t likely order the tenderloin.

The Hav a Bite is located on State Road 52 in Metamora, Indiana.  I was unable to find a website or Facebook page for them.

The Farmhouse Restaurant, Metamora, Indiana

farmhouse4

The Farmhouse Restaurant is a new, farm to table restaurant in historic Metamora, Indiana.
Before I start the review, I want to state up front that the owners of the restaurant and her parents are friends of ours.  I believe I can still do an honest review, but I won’t rate on the traditional bite scale because of that.

The Farmhouse is located in an old, restored house on the north side of the canal in Metamora.  Upon entering, I was taken by how light, airy, and open it is.  It’s decorated with a smattering of antiques here and there, but not so much that it’s overwhelming.

They have a decent sized menu, especially for a small town restaurant, and everything is prepared fresh with the bulk of it being locally sourced.  They obviously take great care in providing food that is prepared just like grandma used to make.

We’d been there for breakfast a few times (I HIGHLY recommend the sausage and apples) before our schedule allowed us to have lunch there.  When I saw they had a breaded tenderloin, I had to try it.
FarmhouseTenderloin

The sandwich is obviously hand made.  The meat was pounded out just a tad thinner than I prefer, but it wasn’t paper thin. It was a moist and tasty piece of meat!
The breading was wonderful.  I liked it even more when I found out that the breading is made from cornmeal ground at the historic gristmill located right on the canal in Metamora!! The breading was nicely seasoned and the sandwich was just the right size. Not TOO big, but still a hearty meal.

There are a few sides available.  We chose the broccoli cauliflower salad.  I’m not much of a salad guy….but let me tell you, this was amazing!

This is a great tenderloin sandwich.  I certainly would not hesitate to order it again!

The farmhouse restaurant is located at 19049 Clayborne Street in Metamora, Indiana.  I was unable to find a website for them, but their Facebook page is located at http://www.facebook.com/TheFarmhouseBnB

Hard Rock Cafe, Indianapolis

indianapolis01

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.

HardRockTenderloin

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/

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

J.E._McGilvery_s_Pub_and_Eatery

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.