Thursday, September 13, 2012

Detour American Grille Express


I was excited about an independent casual restaurant opening near us in the Fashion Mall area (it’s over by Kohl’s)—we are always looking for nearby places to take the kids for lunch. There are about 1000 chain options, but obviously we prefer to go to a locally owned place if possible.  I have never been to the branch of Detour in Carmel, where it started, but I was looking forward to a possible new option.

The first thing I noticed about the place was how sort of corporate it looked—the inside is very clean and well, I don’t know, kind of generic I guess.  You order your food at the register and then a runner brings it to you.  The menu is pretty straightforward—burgers, sandwiches and wraps with various fried side dishes.  I opted for the “hard hat” sandwich which they describe as “a grilled cheese with a twist” ($9.99).  It has 2 kinds of cheese, tomato, avocado and ham and is served on sourdough bread. I opted to go without the ham because if I am having a grilled cheese, I want a grilled cheese, not a ham and cheese sandwich. Also, I am particular about my ham. Ok, so for $10 I was expecting a pretty big and gooey grilled cheese sandwich. I was imagining a fairly thick homemade type of sandwich with lots of stuff.  Well what I got was a sandwich that reminded me a bit of a school cafeteria.  There was thin small bread with a couple of slices of cheese, a couple of very thin (and have to say fairly flavorless) tomatoes, a couple of slices of avocado (it was ripe though which was good) and there really isn’t much more to say.  It wasn’t gooey, it wasn’t memorable.  It wasn’t worth $10 (and an extra $.99 to add the tater tots).  The tater tots were as good as they get. I mean, every now and then they sound good and this was one of those days for me.  But again, it added to the whole school cafeteria vibe.

Hubby was trying to be healthy and ordered tomato basil soup ($2.99) and a salad ($3.99).  I can tell you he was very annoyed by the salad. It was pretty small.  He kept comparing it to a garnish. And the dressing (Yuzu-ginger vinaigrette) was really oily.  He thought the soup was decent—he really likes tomato basil soup. I tasted it and it was fine. Basic, nothing fancy, but good enough if you’re in the mood for tomato soup.

So my daughter just wanted a plain cheese quesadilla, which wasn’t on the kids menu, but they do serve one that is on the regular menu that comes with all kinds of other stuff inside—chicken, beans and peppers.  She didn’t want any of this stuff and they made it for her, but still charged us $10.99 for it (which is expensive in my opinion either way you look at it).  I didn’t realize this until after hubby had paid and told me that our bill was like $42 or I would have made her get something else. My son had mini corn dogs ($5.99) which were standard food service type.  The fries that came with were pretty good—they leaned toward the thinner side with a bit of skin on them.

They also have this super fancy soda machine that you can use to mix up 100s of different flavors of soda (say you press Coke, you can get it flavored with like 6 other flavors as well if you want).  My kids (and I am sure most kids) found it intriguing and wanted to play with it A LOT.  I found it a bit annoying since they don’t drink soda.  You can get lemonade flavored many different ways as well. The drinks (for adults) are $2. 

So all in all, I feel like this place is really expensive for the quality of food you are getting. I don’t know, maybe the burgers are better, but based on our experience, I doubt we will be repeating, no matter how much the kids want to play with that soda machine.  I did notice on the back of the menu and their website that they are looking for people to franchise the restaurant, and to me, it has the feel of a chain already even though it isn’t.  And I think they are charging a bit too much to make it really a fast food type option. 

***Note, since publishing, Detour Express has left a comment that they have lowered prices on many items.

Detour American Grille Express
8487 Union Chapel Road
Indy 46240
Detour American Grille Express on Urbanspoon


  1. Wow. Thanks for saving me from never ever going there!

  2. There is one of those amazing soda machines at the Burger King near 30th and Lafayette. So maybe they'll start showing up in other places, too?

  3. The location in Carmel is equally bad (in all the same ways).

  4. Pei Wei has one of those machines too. While still a chain, at least it's much more affordable. For that price, I expect a damn good grilled cheese.

  5. I had no idea Detour was locally owned. I assumed this was a chain??

  6. I cannot believe that the grilled cheese and tator tots in your photo cost you around $11. No thanks.
    Pei Wei in Glendale also has one of those crazy soda machines. It is fun.

  7. they have those soda machines at moe's southwest grill & firehouse subs also.

  8. Ugh, that looks awful. Maybe they'll read your blog and wise up?

    There's one of those soda machines at the downtown Pita Pit, Firehouse Subs at 86th & Michigan, and Five Guys on 82nd. They're taking over! I never thought about it being a marketing tool to attract kids to soda, but you're right, it totally is!

  9. I think the fact that their grand opening this weekend is "sponsored by Sysco" says it all.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and thoughts. I am one of the owners of this Detour Express location and definitely appreciate getting feedback. This is our first crack at a Quick Service restaurant and we missed the mark out of the gate on our pricing. We lowered our prices from the full service version in Carmel, but we learned that we did not lower them enough for this type of concept. We have gone back and lowered more than half of them since your visit. The Grilled Cheese specifically is one that has changed. The price was lowered by $2 on our menu. Many of our items have seen that kind of price drop. We are new with this concept and really appreciate your comments. Today (Saturday 9/15) is our official grand opening. We are giving away 5 of our menu items today for free all day, to give everyone a chance to try our food and see what we have to offer. I would love for you to come back today or even better next week and let me show you how we have changed since your first visit. Let me know when you are coming and I will be sure to come out and say hello. At the very least, I would like to buy your dinner as a thank you for providing us your feedback. 317-299-8888

  11. I give Matt props for reading the blog post and taking comments and suggestions into consideration.

  12. A group of coworkers went to this location. We think it's a fine place to grab a work day lunch. It was super quick as well. Far superior experience to Brewstone down the street (which we will not go back to...).
    Do they have some kinks to work out? Yes, but it sounds like they are doing just that.



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