The Brau Haus, Oldenburg, Indiana


The Brau Haus is an institution in Southeast Indiana (and beyond, actually), and folks come from far and wide to Oldenburg to dine here.

Speaking of Oldenburg, if you’ve not visited this town, grab your camera and head down I-74 and pay it a visit.  It’s a small town, but it’s a photographer’s paradise.

The Brau Haus is located on a side street in Oldenburg, with a modest sign out front.   If you’ve not been there before, you’ll likely have to seek it out, but there are only a few streets in Oldenburg so it won’t be a problem.

Like many restaurants I’ve visited recently, it’s quite a bit larger on the inside than it appears.  There are several rooms…there’s a German themed room, a local sports room, a bar, and a large family/banquet room.  Each room has its own decor and personality.

We were seated promptly, and greeted by our server, Pat.  Pat did a great job of explaining the menu and giving us some history of the restaurant.  We started with an appetizer of sauerkraut balls, and let me tell you, these are amazing.  I’m not quite sure what all was in them…and they keep the recipe a secret, but I highly recommend them.

If you know anything about dining in Southeast Indiana, you already know that fried chicken is king.  The Brau Haus is famous for their fried chicken (every restaurant in the area seems to make that claim), but I had my heart set on the hand breaded tenderloin.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Brau Loin

The meat is nice and moist, with a VERY good flavor.  Being a German restaurant…the breading is not quite traditional…you can definitely taste the pepper and the German influence in the spices.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I’d like it, but I must say, I was sold at the first bite.  It’s an absolutely incredible sandwich….5 out of 5, no doubt in my mind.  Please keep in mind, though, it’s not quite traditional.  For my side, I chose the potato pancakes, and, all I can say, is WOW!!  I could make a full meal out of those alone.

For her dinner, Holly chose the Rachel, which is a Reuben with turkey instead of corned beef.  Their turkey is smoked, which gives it a really good flavor.  And instead of the traditional Thousand Island dressing you’ll get on a Reuben, this Rachel has a chipotle dressing, and it complements the smoked turkey quite nicely!  She also had the potato pancakes as her side, and enjoyed them immensely!

The Brau Haus is located at 22170 Water Street in Oldenburg, Indiana.  You can find their website at

at 22170 Water Street in Oldenburg, Indiana.  You can find their website at

The Oasis Diner, Plainfield, Indiana

Oasis Diner

As an entertainer, I get to travel a fair amount.  When I’m looking for a unique dining experience, the main things I look for are a locally owned restaurant, great food, and if there is a sense of history, that’s an added bonus.

Our friends, the Kerns, invited us to join them for dinner at the Oasis diner, which sets right on the National Road (US40) in Plainfield, Indiana.  The Oasis Diner is a restored 1950’s diner, manufactured in New Jersey, I believe.  It used to set further East in Plainfield, but recently, it was relocated, restored, and reopened on the Western edge of Plainfield.

Replete with diner decor and fantastic neon lighting, the Oasis takes you back from the moment you step through the door.  It’s like stepping back to the days of Bobby Darin, Elvis, and pegged pants.

Although the menu is heavy on traditional diner fare (burgers, shakes, and such), there are a few surprises on the menu.  They seemed to have taken their menu above and beyond, and are a welcome addition to the Indianapolis area restaurant scene.

I already had my mind made up when we arrived…I was trying the hand breaded tenderloin sandwich.

Oasis Tenderloin

Let me tell you, it was fantastic.  Light, crispy breading with just the right amount of seasoning.  The seasoning complimented the taste of the meat and breading without overwhelming it.  The meat itself was tender and moist, with a fantastic flavor.

I neglected to check to see what kind of bun it was on, but it wasn’t your ordinary hamburger bun…it was quite tasty, and yet another compliment to an already fantastic sandwich.  This sandwich is 5 stars, all the way…absolutely no question about it.

For my side, I chose fries, and they were good, but nothing special.  I’ll probably try the onion rings next time.

As an aside…they offer a breaded tenderloin with gravy on their breakfast menu, which is what David had.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had one with gravy, but that may be my next order there.

For her dinner, Holly chose the Sriracha Shrimp Wrap, which consists of a serving of Honey Sriracha fried shrimp, lettuce, onion, tomato, cilantro, and ranch, all rolled up in a large flour tortilla.  As her side, she chose the broccoli with cheese.  Holly reports the Honey Sriracha shrimp to be very tasty – there is just a hint of honey, but you can definitely tell it’s there.  She said she could not detect the cilantro at all, and the ranch dressing was just enough to tie it all together – not too little, not too much. The broccoli was cooked perfectly – al dente all the way!  She wasn’t a big fan of the cheese sauce.  It was okay, but she said she’d rather have had just a plain bowl of steamed broccoli.

This was an extremely positive experience.  The service was great, the food was outstanding, and I LOVE the atmosphere.  We will certainly be back, and soon!  And, take this tip…try the Butterscotch Root Beer, which is locally brewed.

The Oasis Diner is located at 405 W Main Street, in Plainfield, Indiana.  Their website is  and you can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

Lutz’s Steakhouse, Noblesville, Indiana

Hamilton County, Indiana is home to The Tenderloin Trail, a well promoted tour of tenderloins in North Central Indiana.

In conjunction with this, they’re launching Tenderloin Tuesdays, where select restaurants are partnering with the Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote tenderloins in said county.

I am truly honored to have been asked to review some of the restaurants that are participating in The Tenderloin Trail!  One of my responsibilities will include reviewing restaurants…some of which know I’m coming to review them in advance of my arrival.  This presents some interesting challenges.  Even though I’m asked to do the review, I still have to be fair and impartial, no matter who asks me to do that review.

That said, the next few reviews will be in conjunction with the Tenderloin Trail.  I won’t be rating on my normal 1-5 bite scale, instead, I’ll be giving a fair, unbiased review and letting you make your own decision.


Our first stop was Lutz’s Steakhouse, on State Road 32, between 31 and Noblesville.  My wife and I have passed Lutz’s countless times, and always commented that we’d like to try it, but our schedule never permitted it.  Last Friday, we stopped for a late lunch/early dinner.

I have a pet peeve.  I can’t stand restaurants that try to be retro.  They always fail in my book.  Lutz’s doesn’t TRY to be retro, it IS retro.  I meant that as a very high compliment.  I liked the decor quite a bit.  Yes, some might find it dated…but to me, it was appealing.  It took me back to a simpler time, and I immediately felt at home.

We were greeted promptly at the door in a friendly and professional manner, and shown to our table.  We arrived kind of at the changeover from lunch to dinner (more about this later), and we were the only customers in the place, so we had our choice of tables.

Our waitress, Sandy, came out promptly, got our drink orders, and we talked about the tenderloin.  They cut, pound, and bread it in house, so it’s a true breaded tenderloin.  It’s only available on the lunch menu, but I suspect if you wanted it for dinner they’d fix it for you.

Now, there are two distinct schools of thought on breaded tenderloins.  Some folks like their tenderloins pounded out very thin, some like a thicker piece of meat.  Neither way is “right”, in my opinion, it’s a matter of personal preference.


Lutz’s tenderloin is the pounded out very thin type, as you can see by the photo.  The meat is fresh, and the breading is nice and crispy, but, personally, I thought both could have stood to be seasoned a little more.  That said, however, it’s obvious that Lutz’s caters to a mostly older clientele, so heavily seasoned food isn’t the preference for many of us older folks.  Lutz’s does an outstanding job of catering to their customer base.

The sandwich was served dressed as I ordered it, and I chose fries as the side, and was pleased to see that they serve krinkle cut fries…my favorite!

So, how was it?  It’s no secret that my preference is for the thicker tenderloin.  That said, if you’re a fan of your tenderloin pounded out thinner, you’ll like this one.  It’s the very traditional, thin tenderloin.

For her dinner, Holly chose Lemon Crusted Tilapia.  At both lunch and dinner, it comes with salad and choice of potato.  Their house dressing is Hot Bacon – which was a no brainer!  It is quite good – on the thin side with a very vinegary base.  The potato was cooked perfectly.  The fish was a little over-cooked (soft), but very flavorful.  And the fresh lemon wedges served with it was a very nice touch.

As I indicated before, there was potential issue due to the lunch/dinner changeover.  We had a little mix up on our bill due to the transition of one dining hour to another.  Our server spoke to the manager, and they fixed it immediately – with a smile.  It’s that kind of customer service that keeps folks coming back.

Lutz’s steakhouse is located at 3100 Westfield Road in Noblesville.  You can find them online at

If you’re interested in The Tenderloin Trail and Tenderloin Tuesdays, you can find more information at

Gatsby’s, Indianapolis (NW side)

I’ll be honest.  I’ve had folks request that I review a certain restaurant/tenderloin, and I’ve had varying success.  I always feel badly when sometime tells me about a breaded tenderloin that they think is a 5 out of 5, and it turns out to be a fritter.

So, when a good friend asked me to join him for lunch and review the tenderloin and Gatsby’s…I was cautiously optimistic.  I really hoped I wasn’t in for a letdown.  And, I suspected I wasn’t…because he is a firefighter, and if one thing firefighters know, it is good food.  I later found out that the owner of Gatsby’s is an Indianapolis Firefighter, another plus.


Gatsby’s looks like your typical strip mall pub from the outside.  It’s located just off of I-465 and 71st street on the West side, and is surrounded by office parks and motels/hotels.

Upon entering, it’s much larger than it looks like from the outside.  There’s a raised dining area, and the main floor.  They make efficient use of the space here.

The wait staff was friendly and helpful, but we both knew what we wanted…the breaded tenderloin.


When they brought it out, it was obviously hand breaded, and it’s sized right. It’s not so large as to be overwhelming, but it’s certainly filling.  The sandwich is seasoned PERFECTLY….and the breading stays crisp throughout the life of the sandwich.  The meat is moist and tender.  Although I was a bit skeptical at the beginning, I can say with assurance this is one of the best tenderloins I’ve ever had.  It’s a 5 out of 5, no questions asked.  Seriously.  Go get this sandwich.

For my side, I chose onion rings, and I’d say they are above average.  They’re not the best in town, but they’re certainly better than what one usually gets.

Gatsby’s breaded tenderloin goes for $8.29, and is served breaded, grilled, or Cajun. Cheese is .50 extra.

A bit of advice….if you’re going for lunch, go a bit early, or after 12:00 Noon.  We got there about 1130, and it was pleasantly busy, but by noon or a few minutes after, there were folks waiting to be seated.

Gatsby’s is located at 6335 Intech Commons Drive.  You can find them online at , and they also have a Facebook page.

Montgomery’s Steakhouse, Spiceland, Indiana


Montgomery’s Steakhouse personifies a restaurant “out in the middle of nowhere”.  It’s located in the little hamlet of Spiceland, Indiana, south of New Castle, just off of the intersection of State Road 3 and I-70.

The parking lot is huge, and for good reason…this is a HUGE facility!  2 big dining rooms, a very large bar, and an area they call “The Back Porch”, where they have outdoor concerts in the summer.  They draw some pretty large crowds, with groups like 38 Special, Confederate Railroad, and more.

We were there for a comedy night, which was held in one of the dining rooms.  It’s got a very cozy feel that makes it seems intimate, in spite of its massive size.

As a steakhouse, they’re menu definitely runs towards the beef side.  There are a lot of steaks, of course, a very complete appetizer menu, some desserts, and more.

I spied ”hand breaded tenderloin” on the menu, and asked our server if it was done in house, and she told me indeed, it is, so I decided to give it a try.


This is one of the thicker…perhaps THE thickest breaded tenderloin I’ve had.  It’s a hefty sandwich, to be sure.  Was it too thick?  For me, no, it wasn’t.  But, for some folks who prefer a thinner sandwich, it might well be.

The breading was nice and crunchy.  It wasn’t as seasoned as some I’ve had, still, it was very good.  The meat itself had a good flavor…not outstanding, but above average.  However, at least one bite had a hunk of gristle in it.  I realize this happens from time to time, but it does detract from the overall rating of the sandwich.

I ordered a side of onion rings, and I gotta say, those are some FANTASTIC onion rings.  Obviously hand breaded, done perfectly, some of the very best I’ve EVER had.  And I’ve had a lot of onion rings!

I’m really torn on how to rate this sandwich.  It’s good, but finding a nice hunk of gristle can’t help but bring the rating down.  Still, I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5 bites.  It’s a little above average, and I’d order it again when I’m there.

For her dinner, Holly had the veggie burger and a side of steamed broccoli.  The veggie burger was average – nothing spectacular.  The broccoli florets were smaller than usual, which made them kind of difficult to eat with a fork, but other than that, the taste and level of “doneness” was fine.

I’ve got to give a shout out to the service.  With it being a special event night, I didn’t know what to expect.  They did a GREAT job on serving the crowd.

Montgomery’s is located just south of the intersection of I-70 and Highway 3 in Spiceland, Indiana.  You can find them online at:

Smokehouse on Shelby, Fountain Square (Indianapolis)

Fountain Square is one of our favorite neighborhoods in Indy.  Over the last few years, it’s has undergone an amazing transformation, and is now a bustling area with restaurants, pubs, duckpin bowling, swing dancing, live music, and much more.

It’s always a good place to take friends who are visiting from out of town, which was the case for us Friday night.  We choose the Smokehouse on Shelby partly because we’d been there before and enjoyed the food, and party because it’s in the same building as Duckpin Bowling, one of the unique things in Indy that we wanted to introduce to our friends.


Smokehouse on Shelby is a BBQ restaurant, but they have a few other things on the menu.  They advertised a hand breaded tenderloin, but, frankly, I was skeptical.  I’ve been to a few restaurants where they advertise a hand breaded tenderloin, and end up with a fritter.  I asked our waitress about it, and she told me they do all the breading and pounding in house, so I decided to give it a try.


This is a pretty darn good sandwich!  It’s decent sized without being overwhelming, and the breading is tasty and crisp.  The meat is tasty, but it wasn’t as tender as some tenderloins I’ve had.  And, the price is right…you get a sandwich and TWO sides (I chose fries and cole slaw) for 7.99.  That’s a bargain!  I’m going to give it 3.5 out of 5 bites.  It’s above average but falls short of stellar.

For her dinner, Holly chose the pulled pork sandwich, also served with two sides plus fried biscuits and apple butter.  For her sides, she chose the steamed vegetable du jour and seasoned & roasted Fuji apples, which are customer favorite.  I kid you not; there was enough food for three meals on the plate they brought out to her!  We had plenty of leftovers to take back home!  And for the price of $10.99, you can’t go wrong with this smokehouse classic.  Holly highly recommends the raspberry chipotle barbecue sauce.  This one may be a bit too spicy for some, so a close second would be the horseradish barbecue sauce – all of the flavor with not as much heat.

I want to give a shout out to the staff at Smokehouse on Shelby.  Holly made reservations because we had a larger group, and from the reservation process to the service before, during, and after the meal, everything was stellar.  We’ll certainly return soon!

Smokehouse on Shelby is located right on the fountain in Fountain Square.  You can also find them online at