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  http://lutzs-steakhouse.com/.

If you’re interested in The Tenderloin Trail and Tenderloin Tuesdays, you can find more information at http://www.visithamiltoncounty.com/tenderloin-trail/.

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 http://www.gatsbysonline.com , 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:  http://www.montgomeryssteakhouse.com/

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 http://www.fountainsquareindy.com/smokehouse/.

Route 67 Bar and Grill, Mooresville, Indiana


Holly and I had heard of the Route 67 Bar and Grill from several friends, and we were looking for the opportunity to try it.  We seldom get out to Mooresville, but we had a meeting with some folks so this was the perfect chance.

The Route 67 Bar and Grill is located in a little strip mall, very close to Grey’s cafeteria.  It’s not terribly convenient to get to…you have to cut across a gas station parking lot to get to it, but it’s worth the effort.

Upon entering, the first thing I saw was a very large aquarium, a nice touch!  The bartender greeting us warmly, and we were shown to a table for dinner and to conduct our business.

I have to say…I’m seldom felt as welcomed in a restaurant as I did here.  The folks really seemed to appreciate the fact that we chose their place for dinner.  That, alone, makes me want to return and patronize them again.

On the menu, they advertise their “big, sexy tenderloin”.  You can get it either breaded or grilled, and, of course, I chose the breaded version.


This is one HUGE tenderloin.  And it’s perhaps the biggest bun I’ve ever seen in my life.  Seriously.  I’m not sure the scale of this sandwich comes through in the photograph, but you’d better be hungry if you intend on eating it.  Better yet, plan on sharing.

This sandwich is certainly hand breaded.  Not only is it huge, it’s thick, also, which is my preference.  It LOOKS good….however, there’s a problem.  When the sandwich came out, it was already starting to get soggy.  Maybe not terribly so, but enough to detract from the taste and texture.  That’s the problem with a huge sandwich….keeping it fresh and crisp in almost unmanageable.

The meat was tasty, but the sogginess of the breading certainly took away from that.  Don’t get me wrong….it wasn’t terrible.  It just wasn’t great.  On a scale of 0-5 bites, I’ll give it 2.5, just average.

For her meal, Holly chose the Black and Blue Salad.  She ordered the steak medium and it came out just as she had asked.  The dressing (blue cheese) was good and as an added bonus, they put blue cheese crumbles on as well, which took an above average black and blue salad to the next level!  It was the perfect size – an excellent dinner salad she said she wouldn’t hesitate to order again.

All in all, it was a very good experience.  The service was outstanding, the price was right, and the atmosphere was warm and friendly.  We’ll certainly go back.  Be aware, they are 21 and over, and they are a smoking restaurant. However….I DO believe this was the least smoky of any smoking restaurant I’ve ever been to.

Route 66 Bar and Grill is located at 600 S State Road 67 in Mooresville, Indiana.  They have a website at:  http://route67barandgrill.biz/

Gallagher’s II, Indianapolis. (Southport)



Gallagher’s II is a restaurant/pub/music venue on Southport road, on the south side of Indy.

From the parking lot, it looks rather unassuming, but once you get inside, it’s HUGE!  There is a nice bar area, two separate dining rooms on the ground level, and a very large upstairs dining area, and a patio that appears to get a lot of use in warm weather. It appears they could comfortably seat a couple hundred…or more….people here.  There’s a nice stage, and the dining areas are well lit and comfortable, and it’s an all-ages venue.  This is a huge plus in my music….a place where an entire family can come out and enjoy music, comedy, or some other art form.


The menu is pretty complete, with sandwiches, burgers, pizza, steaks, and more.


The list a hand breaded tenderloin on the menu, and that’s exactly what I was there for.



It’s a nice sized sandwich.  Lately, I’ve become fond of smaller tenderloins, where I leave pleasantly full.  This sandwich fits that category.  It’s obviously hand made, and that’s another big plus in my book.


If I had to give this sandwich a one word review, it would be “good”.  It was a good sandwich.  However, I was expecting a GREAT sandwich, and that just wasn’t to be.  Everything about this sandwich was average, or, at best, a little above average.


It WAS served dressed exactly as I requested, so they earned high marks for paying attention to detail.


I chose fries as my side, and these were quite good.  I’d not hesitate to order them again.


My wife, Holly, chose the blackened cajun grouper.  She says it was really good – nice flavor and seasoned well.  She chose a side salad and steamed vegetables as her sides.  Unfortunately, they do not currently offer any reduced fat or low calorie salad dressings.  The great part about the grouper is that you can have it seasoned with lemon pepper or cajun and you can have it as an entrée (which is what Holly chose) or on a hoagie style sandwich.  This was a good, solid meal for a bar/restaurant.


All in all, this was a good enough experience that we’ll certainly stop back in when we’re back on the south side of town, but not good enough that we’d make the drive back down from the far north side just to go to this establishment.


Gallagher’s II is located at 2310 W Southport Road in Indianapolis.  You can find them on Facebook.