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Diners and burger joints in Indiana needed for summer jaunts

With gas over $3.50 a gallon I'm scrapping my plans for a trip East this summer. I'm staying right here in good ole Indiana. I've decided to take in some fairs and festivals and I want to stop at some good out of the way (or in the way...) diners and burger joints. What I'm looking for are places like Hinkle's in Bloomington, Powers Hamburger Shop in Ft. Wayne or the Curly Dog in Johnson County. I've got more restaurant directories than you can shake a stick at, but these gems are never listed!
As mentioned in my previous posts I've got maps for fried chicken, tenderloin and pies - now I'm adding a new map to my glove compartment - diners and burger joints!

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  1. I'll be in Indiana (Indy) in June and I'd love to know where to go for some pie!

    3 Replies
    1. re: OneJayneDoe

      I had some phenomenal pie recently at McKinley Orchard, on highway 41 just north (maybe 10 miles) of Vincennes. There is a restaurant opened Friday and Saturday nights (homestyle buffet, local produce, good fried chicken) that serves the pie, and I believe you can buy them at the farm store, or across the highway at another farm stand called Big Peach or something (there is a very big peach -- you'll know it when you see it.) I am not sure, but I think the farm stands in that part of Indiana (the melon belt) open around July 4. The restaurant is open now (weekends only.)

      1. re: myplateoryours

        P.S. It's not a burger joint and I've never put this to the test, but someone told me the other day that Zagreb's has a great burger. Who knew?

        Also in Bloomington, Nick's English Hut has good Fischer Farms burgers and good elk burgers too. My husband swears by the burgers at Opie Taylor's on the square. Neither is exactly a Hinkles kind of dive, though.

        Do you look at the Hungry Hoosier blog? It often has great gems that are off the beaten track. www.hungryhoosier.com Great for road trips.

      2. re: OneJayneDoe

        If you're going as far as Vincennes for pie you might as well go on just a bit further south and go to Evansville. Wolfs has great pie and the Log Inn has a wonderful strawberry pie.
        Also, as bad as this will sound, Gray Brothers Cafeteria in Mooresville (not near as far south) has great pie too, but you'll have to wait in line for a while - the huge draw there is both the pie and the fried chicken!

      3. I've been to Indiana a couple of times in the past year. I enjoyed the Mug n' Bun on the west side of Indianapolis and Little Sheba's in downtown Richmond

        1. Syd's in Noblesville, on the square, is a bar/diner sort of place - lots of fried food, smoky though.
          The Uptown Cafe in Noblesville is good for breakfast and lunch, I bet they've got a good burger.
          The Workingman's Friend, 234 N Belmont, is a classic burger joint - seriously.
          There used to be a diner on the corner of 10th and Emerson - I've forgotten the name - but it really used to be a drive-up and park and order kind of place.
          GT South's has wonderful baby back ribs
          Frank & Marys in Pittsboro has good fried catfish
          I bet Bynums on the southside of Indy has a great hamburger

          hat's all I can think of right now...
          have fun!

          1. The Chicken Place in Ireland, In has wonderful fried chicken, also great fried chicken livers and gizzards. Don't miss the schooners of draft beer and german potatoes.

            Ireland is just west of Jasper IN on IN St Rt 356.

            1. You've found Powers. Why bother with anything else?

              2 Replies
              1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                I'll be in Ft. Wayne for a week soon, and certainly plan to check out Powers. Any other suggestions, or do I need to just eat there every day <g>?

                1. re: Emm

                  On the "gritty realism" side of things, there's a ~1910 Coney Island place on Main Street. People bring their kids on Saturday. It's worth a stop.

                  For really interesting spare ribs, go to The Rib Room on State. Get a Calypso or Greek salad with your ribs. They're not smokey, they're greek immigrant ribs with a really tangy unique rib sauce (possibly made by mixing two products that come in big Sysco jars).

                  There's a Hunan chinese place out on Coldwater Road. They've got a way with lamb. Apparently, they don't do real hunan (real hunan is spicier than real Szechuan, if you can imagine), but it's good food.

                  Cindy's Diner downtown for greasy-spoon breakfasts.

                  Mid-range, Professor Munchies is reliable and better than Applebees.

                  Upscale you've got Cata Blue, Hartleys and ... hmm.... I'm sure there's something else. Oh, yeah, Club Soda.

                  If you eat at Power's every day, you'll need to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist.

              2. It's not a burger but the Tamale Place at Rockville and Lynhurst in Indy is one of the state's hidden treasures, takeout only and they run out early. You won't be disappointed.

                1 Reply
                1. Comptons's Cow Palace 318 N Harrison Shelbyville--we stop there evertime we are in Indiana--I favor the tenderloin sandwich and the turtle sundae, but the burgers are good, as are the milkshakes. A great, casual spot, always packed.

                  1. I know there are devotees of Hinkle's and they pull in a lot of people and folks mourn when they close for the season. I've been there once and was underwhelmed. Curley Dog is different. It was wworth a try to see what it was all about. Basically a hot dog slashed so they can coil it, deep fry it, and serve up on a but with what it pretty much tartar sauce. Interesting.

                    1. Anywhere near West Lafayette?

                      XXX Burgers, open 24 hours.


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: GroovinGourmet

                        I've lived in Indiana all my life and have never heard of this place! Thanks

                        1. re: Spoonula

                          Triple XXX is hyped a lot. Chumley's, Harry's, the Wabash Yacht Club, the Pub, and Hunter's all make better burgers, but they aren't talked up.

                        2. In South Bend, Indiana (home of the University of Notre Dame), you can't miss C.J.'s Pub (downtown South Bend) for the best burgers ever.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: IrishAriana

                            mmmmm...CJ's. They have the best burger hands down!

                          2. i've been researching indy cheaper eats and great beer spots myself lately, heading to the F1 race -- i've noticed that 'tenderloin' sandwiches seem to be ubiquitous.

                            i'm curious, do they mean pork or beef?

                            and what in the world is up with the high price of renting a car in indy???!!!!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: hitachino

                              They are talking about a pork tenderloin - and they are pretty much ubiquitous in Indy. I would recommend the ones at the Friendly Tavern in Zionsville or Bonges Tavern in Perkinsville if you're interested in trying one. Could be quite a drive depending on where you're staying but anyway!

                              I bet the reason rental cars are so expensive here is because usually we don't have a high demand for them and so don't have as many as a bigger city would. ;-) Just a thought from an Indiana girl

                              Have fun during the race!

                              1. re: hitachino

                                Pork tenderloin - usually pounded to a about the size of your hand - fingers wide open!
                                breaded and deep fried.
                                When you in Speedway try Mug n' Bun at 10th and Lynhurst - it's a drive-in - they make their own root beer - tenderloins aren't too bad, but they're alittle thin for my taste. But the onion rings are outstanding - more of a tempura batter.
                                Also try Union Jacks pub for some good pizza - that's on Crawfordsville Rd. about 3 miles west of the track.
                                They probably raised the price of renting a car during the race - they do everything else - hotels especially. I'm willing to bet gas will go up that weekend as well - it always does during race weeks.
                                Enjoy the race!

                              2. Spoonula, re: fried chicken map - care to share any words on fried chicken joints in southern IN? I'll be driving back and forth from Iowa to KY along the 65, but am willing to take a detour. Thanks.

                                1. I thought I was the only one on here that had experienced a curly dog. If you are in indy, swing by Mr. Dans. 5925 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis (317) 547-2254 It's a greasy dive, but the seasoned fries alone are worth the drive. Have you been to the Triple X in West Lafayette? www.triplexxxfamilyrestaurant.com. Lastly, the Mayberry cafe is worthy of a visit, over in Danville. 78 W Main St, Danville, IN Tel: (317) 745-4067
                                  Hope these help

                                  1. I'm a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich aficionado and my recommendations are Nick's Kitchen in Huntington, IN, the Red Onion in Sheridan, IN and Green Street in Brownsburg, IN so far. I am sure there are many others worthy outside of Indianapolis. Mayberry's in Danville is good as well and you can get a heavy does of the Andy Griffith show nostalgia including watching the TV show while eating. Nick's Kitchen is one of the oldest continuing restaurants (1908) in the state and an experience in itself if you like good hometown feel and pie. The Red Onion in Sheridan makes everything from scratch. It is just plain good cooking. Green Street is a pub and a restaurant with a variety of pork tenderloin sandwiches other than the standard breaded. If anyone finds better than these I would like to know about them.

                                    1. You might think about Evansvill, IN during the first full week of October. The Fall Festival offers the best food in the region. From corn dogs to Gator stew, with over a 100 food booths with lots of choices including the best brain sandwich in the state.

                                      1. In Hagerstown, Indiana there are two great restaurants. Weliver's is a famous smorgasbord, and there is a great diner on the south side of town called "Willow Springs." They have pretty good fried chicken on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you jont on over to Richmond "PauLee's" is a classic diner.

                                        1. Irv's Iron Skillet on Main Street in Silverlake, Indiana, is extraordinary for breakfast. A must is the spicy biscuits and gravy. When they raised the price of coffee to 95 cents a cup some of the regulars complained about the price increase.

                                          1. You haven't had a tenderloin unless you have been to Story's restaurant on the south side of the square in Greensburg, In. They are the best I've found.