This is going to be a brief one, as there was only one thing eaten here (and really only like three things to choose from), but recently after posting for suggestions about what Indy restaurants should be on the tv show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, this place came up and I needed to know if this burger was worthy. I have always heard good things about them, but had never eaten there (have had drinks but no food).
Well, this place isn’t a lunch spot I don’t think, although they do serve lunch (same thing at all times, burgers, chicken salad and tenderloins). The place was completely empty at lunch time (makes for nice pictures though) and even the server was nowhere to be seen for quite awhile. When she did appear, she was super nice and promptly took care of us.
The cheeseburgers were what I always heard were good, so that is what we had. There’s nothing to get on the side except cottage cheese and chips off the wall. So we got some chips. Ok, as for the burger, you know, it wasn’t a bad burger, but I wouldn’t say it was a good one either. Tasted exactly like the kind of burger you had as a kid when people made them at home. It was ground beef, a little too thick for my taste, a small bun, and your choice of toppings (pickles and ketchup for me). That’s it. It wasn’t particularly juicy and it wasn’t particularly dry. It was ok. And I can see if you have been sitting in the bar in the evening drinking for awhile, this would probably hit the spot. But for something that stands out in my mind, this isn’t it.
I do like the bar though, it is old school and has a great vibe and sadly the longtime owner, Russ Settle, only recently died. This place is an institution (and I love the list of rules for patrons here including no cussing, no coats hanging on the back of your chairs, and keeping all four feet of your chair on the floor at all times). So did I tell the lady from the tv show about it? Yes, but mainly for the atmosphere, not for the food.
And by the way, as far as I know, they are still looking for places. So if you know any "diner/drive-in/divey" kind of place to recommend that has only one location, where you can eat for less than $15 or so, and where they make like 90% of everything in house (sorry but this is gonna be the tough one) within 30 miles of Indy, let me know will ya? I will pass them along.
Red Key Tavern
5170 North College Ave