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Jan 10, 2012 08:15 AM

South Bend -- Recommendable Pork Tenderloin Sandwich?

Another Chow thread got me thinking: I live in the South Bend area, but I've never tried Indiana's apparently signature sandwich. Can anyone recommend a place in this area that offers a worthy introduction to the form?

It's not a pretentious item, so it needn't be (shouldn't be?) at an upscale setting. But I guess it's most often deep fried, so it would have to be a place that does that well and consistently, rather than letting their oil temps and freshness go south.

Forced to guess, I'd maybe look at Lunker's in nearby Edwardsburg. Or a Between the Buns outlet?

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  1. Loved when I lived in Michiana. I think you need to go about 3 hours south.

    Good Luck.

    2 Replies

      Yeah, it does seem that southern Indiana has more of these places, or just gets more press because of Indianapolis's population and relative wealth. But on the other thread, I did see a posting to a Indiana government publicity website with a sandwich competition connected to the Super Bowl soon:

      It appears that Nick's Kitchen (a claimant to originating the sandwich) is in a small town near Fort Wayne, and only half as far away:

      There's another that's even a bit closer. But NOTHING in the South Bend area, exactly. This doesn't seem like a complicated food. Someone must do it well around here!

      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

        The one at Madison Oyster Bar isn't bad, and it's the right kind of setting for the meal.

      2. I hear the grilled tenderloin at the Streamliner in Rochester is divine....but I have no opinion on this since I'm a vegetarian....

        BUT....I found a convo on Yelp:

        I have seen a couple reports on Miles Lab and everything there looks top notch. That may be the place.....

        1 Reply
        1. re: jes7o

          Thanks for the recommendations.

          Maybe with time I can try upscale and blue-collar versions of this item. (Miles Lab looks pretty upscale, but well worth visiting for many reasons.)

          It does appear that there's significant variation in how this sandwich is made and served.

        2. Indiana is a hot bed of tenderloins. I am just not all that familiar with the South Bend area but suspect you could find them at a decent bar/grill/diner/cafe type place if you look. The pork tenderloin sandwich at least as documented originated at Nick's Kitchen in Huntington and the rest of the whole northeast part of Indiana such as North Manchester (Mr. Dave's), Wabash, Auburn, Warsaw, Decatur, etc. have good ones. If you drive west on I-80 into Illinois starting at Rockville to Ottawa and going west they are everywhere. Then when you continue on I-80 into Iowa you'll find some of the best in the Midwest. The I-80 axis probably has the most. Then every restaurant in Indianapolis seems to have one just to compete for business. Southern Indiana not so much. Drive north into Michigan and forget it. Tenderloin availability dies off rather rapidly outside of Indiana, Illinois and Iowa.

          1. The ultimate Indiana pork tenderloin site:

            All tenderloins, all the time.