Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Red Key Tavern

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
Indy 46205
317/283-4601

18 comments:

  1. Peppy's Grill. Boogie Burger, Workingman's Friend (haven't been to the last one, but have heard it's great)

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  2. You wanted the burger to be worthy, and it turned out to be ok. I thought the same of your review.

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  3. I think John's Famous Stew would totally fit the bill.... now, from what I understand they do now serve John's stew at The Bearcat, which is located at the Stutz building downtown... but, John's is an original... I mean, how many other places specialize in stew? They have a outrageously large tenderloin. The really unique menu item is a tenderloin supreme, which is a tenderloin with stew ladeled over it.

    http://indysfamousstew.com/

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  4. Try Fat Dans in BR...brand new, but awesome! Also, maybe Ralph's Great Divide...

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  5. What about Sam's Gyros? I think that place might fit the criteria. The food is amazing!

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  6. Thanks for all the suggestions-

    They know about most of these, but you guys have given me some new ideas to pass along. But as for John's Famous stew, they have not been able to get anyone to talk to them...so if you happen to know someone there...let them know..

    Also, the places have to have been around for at least 1 or 2 years.

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  7. Oh good recommendation Indy Grub Review -- John's Famous Stew is a great dive option.

    Bearcat's isn't serving John's Famous Stew anymore, though. When The Loading Dock closed at the Stutz complex, the owner of John's Famous Stew moved in, remodeled the place and reopened it as Bearcats (serving John's Famous Stew). That venture failed and now the place is run by completely different management with a different menu, though the Bearcats name stuck around.

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  8. Papa Roux would be cool on Triple D.

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  9. Ralph's Great Divide, Mug N Bun, Workingman's Friend, Judge's BBQ in Haughville, The Smokehouse on Shelby

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  10. I'm a RK fan. I love the place and always take out-of-towners there. Russ was a sweet guy and very funny. I love the RK rules and was reprimanded once for moving my bar stool- which made me laugh.
    The burgers are homemade- but I'm a fan of 'em. They also have some tasty chili and v. good potato salad (which is not on the menu)

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  11. Jessica in NoblesvilleMay 19, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    For the tv show, I'd have to nominate Bub's Burgers/Bub's Cafe (sister restaurants a few blocks apart on the Monon) in Carmel, and Best Bet for breakfast in Fishers.

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  12. The Lemon Drop in Anderson, IN is a fantastic dive burger place and would be great on the show, as well as Gene's Root Beer Stand (also in Anderson and a drive-in). The Lemon Drop has been around forever and has thin, crispy-edge burgers that can be served on toast, my fav. Bonge's Tavern may pass for a dive as well.

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  13. I have to agree on the Lemon Drop. Some of my earliest memories are my mom taking us there. It was always a special treat to get one of their shakes and grilled cheese.

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  14. Kountry Kitchen on College and 19th!

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  15. It's a bit of a drive from Indy, but I've always felt that the triple D should go to the Story Inn just outside of Nashville, IN

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  16. Tip Top Tavern has great food that they make onsite. It is excellent.

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  17. King David Dogs!!! They make most of their toppings for the hot dogs, including the NY onion sauce, the state fair corn dog batter, and the jalepeno mustard. Also, their dogs are one of a kind, made to their own fifty year old german recipe.

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  18. Yats would be perfect for triple D. I so love that place and would be right up his alley. Wthr printed their receipe for Chili-Cheese Etoufee in their Christmas cookbook last year. I make it at least once a month. Talk about delicious. I've put that sauce on everything!

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Thanks, Erin