Friday, July 9, 2010

Keystone Deli

When I asked everyone for suggestions in Indy for Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, a couple of you suggested the Keystone Deli. Going over there, I had no idea what to expect based on the sign out front of a strip mall off Keystone and 54th which simply reads, “Deli.” When I walked in, I remembered I had been here once before, a long, long time ago, right after I had moved to California and was back for a visit. Like, nearly 20 years ago I think. Anyhow, the first thing you notice on the inside is the wear and tear on the place lets you know it has been around for at least that long… Let’s just say, it probably would be a good fit for the “dive” part of that show. The next thing I noticed was there was a small cafeteria line up at the front, so I assumed that was what you do, get your tray, go through the line and order your food. Which is what we did. At the end of the line I noticed menus though with a wider selection of items (including a lot of breakfast items) and as I sat down with my tray, I saw people come in and sit down with menus and get waited on. So, you can go either way at this place I guess.

Anyway, we went through the line and got what looked best, which turned out to be fried chicken (seriously, I didn’t know going in that this was going to be a fried chicken review). So I went with white meat and hubby did dark. I got mashed potatoes and fried cabbage as my sides and hubby got mashed potatoes with gravy and spinach. They had what looked like it could be decent mac and cheese but I didn’t want so much starch on this particular day. Anyhow, the chicken had a nice crispy, somewhat flavorful exterior, but the breast was too dry. This is often the case and I tend to order thighs instead because of this problem, but they were low on them so I went with the breast. The wing was better because it wasn’t so dried out. Although the chicken suffered from a common problem of cafeteria food---it had been sitting a bit, so it wasn’t all that warm either. The potatoes were fine, nothing really bad or good about them. I think my favorite part of the meal was the fried cabbage. It was tender but had a great flavor to it (I think those big hunks of bacon helped in this aspect). I have had several examples of watery bland cooked cabbage lately. This was the best I have had to date. Oh, I also picked up a deviled egg near the check out (another weakness I have—really good deviled eggs. Man, you can tell I am from the Midwest huh?) Sadly, the deviled egg was not for me. Way too much sweet relish in there. I like mine more salty I guess. (Taste has some kick butt deviled eggs by the way).

Hubby echoed my sentiments on his dishes—he thought everything was ok, but that there were better options for fried chicken. And his spinach tasted remarkably like frozen. Nothing special going on there. I was sort of bummed that I didn’t know about the menu ordering. Some of the food coming out looked pretty good (particularly the breakfast items). So I think if I go back, it will be for breakfast and not for fried chicken.

Keystone Deli
2344 East 53rd Street
Indy 46220


  1. I do hope you find some places that would truly fit Diners, Drive-in and Dives. I would like to think Indy has some, but... I just don't feel like there is anything I've found that fits in terms of volume, style or crazy variety that fits. I've mentioned John's Famous Stew that I think has some potential cause it is kind of an oddity. Mug N Bun has some appeal, and a wide menu, but really it seems no more unique than the drive-in's that many cities have. Triple XXX Family Restaurant in West Lafayette definitely fits, but DDD has already been there.

  2. Have you been to Mann's Grill? I've always wanted to see that on Triple D.

  3. I think King David Dogs would be great for DDD. Bonge's Tavern would also be fun to see, especially with their culinary pedigree. As for the Keystone Deli, they only way to go is breakfast! Great greasy spoon hangover fare.

  4. @ IndyGrubreview Everything at Mug N Bun is straight out of the bag and heated. Their criteria was less than $15, 45 min drive from Indy, less than 2 locations, independently owned, 80-90% of the menu is scratch cooking. I struggled at giving them suggestions, too bad really.

    @I8Indy Man’s fits the bill on the “dive” part. Cool place though.

    @Erin: I agree with your review here…100% actually. I had a very similar meal/opinion that you did.

    Wondering if they had any dessert, I can’t remember?

  5. de-lurking to say that keystone deli has a better breakfast than lunch. good bacon and something called 'pancake surprise' that i remember loving.

    have you tried the biscuits restaurant in broad ripple? they have a mexican breakfast that we like.

    also, if you're looking for dives you should try syd's on the square in noblesville. pretty good tenderloin sandwich if you can stand the smoke (over 21 only).

  6. Indy Grub- they have tried to contact John's Stew without any luck unfortunately is what I have heard.

    I8Indy: you know, someone else just told me about Mann's. I have not been there but have put it on the list.

    Anon: bonges is too expensive for them, and a bit too far from Indy as well.

    Wibia: don't remember dessert actually...

    Leann:I have not been to biscuits but have several friends who like it. I have it on the list and will add Syd's although smokey is a turn off for me.

  7. The steam table stuff is OK, but the Keystone Deli's breakfast is AMAZING. Fantastic biscuits and gravy, thick-cut bacon, and a big ol' ham they slice fresh for the industrial-strength, completely unpretentious eggs benedict. Great stuff.

  8. Oh, for D, D, & D suggestions...what about Peppy Grill in Fountain Square? I am surprised they haven't been there already.

  9. Hehehehehe. You were there--for breakfast--on the morning of my wedding: it was also my last sighting of my groom-to-be (until the ceremony, I mean). "Back in the day," we referred to it as the "Casual Cafe." And we only ever went there for breakfast. I'm actually blown away that it is still there. As we just celebrated our 15th, maybe it is time for a revisit, as I don't think I've been there since. Weird.

  10. 1 word: Maxine's.
    2 words: Country Kitchen

    Look no further for good soul food.