Monday, February 17, 2014

Don Gusto PJ

A couple of you guys had recommended this place to me and I was intrigued so I convinced my friend @wibia to go check it out with me. I can almost always convince him to try a place that serves a burrito.
It is fairly far down on South Meridian—not sure I have ever eaten at a place around there.  We walked in and were greeted warmly—it was a little unclear whether you order at the counter, which we started to do, but then the chef (and I’m guessing owner) gave us menus and told us to sit down and he would wait on us. He was very friendly and helpful and helped me choose what I wanted on my torta.

While they have other Mexican items, they seem to specialize in tortas, so I figured I would try one. I had the “Especial” ($8.50). On this sandwich you chose 3 types of meat and then it came with cheese, eggs, mayo, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, avocado and refried beans.  I went with the breaded chicken cutlet (at the chef’s suggestion), pork and shredded beef. There’s a lot of stuff going on here. It was hard to differentiate the different flavors of the meat, but I did enjoy the sandwich. And I did like the chicken cutlet a lot more than I thought I would. It was super thin and very lightly breaded and gave a little texture variation from everything else going on. I also like that there’s eggs on nearly every sandwich—because I love eggs (I am sure they would hold them though if you wanted). It was fried pretty hard, but still gave a nice eggy flavor. I liked the bun—it was soft but held up to what ended up being A LOT of stuff on the torta. They also brought out two bottles of salsa to use and both were good. There was a green jalapeno sauce and a red chipotle sauce and I used a fair amount of both on the sandwich to just liven up the flavor. Neither were overly hot. I liked the sandwich and you definitely got a lot of food for your buck.

Wibia had a burrito (of course) ($4.99) and a taco ($1.50). I thought the taco was decent—he had the pastor and it had a decent amount of fairly tender meat and flavor, but didn’t jump out at me for anything. I thought the burrito was a little disappointing, mainly because there just wasn’t a lot of meat in it (he had steak). You can pretty much see what I mean from the picture. A lot of rice, a lot of lettuce and very little meat. It is kind of surprising actually considering how generous they are with the tortas. I mean, they are more expensive, but not that much. Everything seemed nice and fresh in there, but I would certainly steer anyone who was going to try this place to definitely go with a torta (and there are lots of different options).

The place is not fancy, but very clean. You can see the entire kitchen from the dining area, so it is good to see how well-kept everything is. I would love to know if you guys have been here.

Don Gusto PJ
3960 South Meridian
Indy  46217

Don Gusto P.J. Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. I have driven by this restaurant a few times and was curious but have never stopped. After reading your review, I will definitely make a stop there next time.

    "It is fairly far down on South Meridian—not sure I have ever eaten at a place around there". If you get a chance to check out a few of my favorites in the general vicinity: Bynum's Steakhouse at 3850 S Meridian St., Boyden's Southside Bakery directly across the street and Big Daddy's is a bit further north at 2536 S Meridian St.

    1. thanks Darla- I passed Bynum's and was intrigued!

    2. FWIW, I think Bynum's is overrated.

  2. I can tell now that reading your blog will result in my husband and I trying many new places! We will definitely try tortas at Don Gusto on the southside. I like the idea of the egg being included, as I'm a big fan of eggs. I have only had tortas once before in Indy - at Tortas Guicho Dominguez y El Cubanito (Fletcher Place/Fountain Square).

  3. I love Don Gusto's! It is a hidden south side neighborhood gem. My favorite is the torta like sandwich "Pambasos". I usually grab a side of beans or their guac. My co-worker swears by their Gorditas. I will admit their burrito has been my least favorite thing I've had there. I want to try their pastries. If I lived closer I would eat there all the time. This place is a must try.

  4. A friend and I went here for lunch yesterday based on this post. When I suggested it to him he mentioned having stopped there before for cannoli (I know!), which are one of the only things that aren't made in house.

    We shared a number of things to sample the widest variety: pork gordita, pastor taco, chicken quesadilla, and steak sope. All were delicious. They make their own corn meal so everything is corn-based. The sope shell looked like a little tart shell and the quesadilla was fried, almost like a big empanada. If I remember correctly, the sope & quesadilla had lettuce, tomato, and sour cream, and the taco and gordita had onions and cilantro. I put the green sauce on my share and my friend put the red sauce on his. After we cleaned our plates we decided to split two desserts, too: flan and tres leches cake. The desserts were OK, not bad but not great, but I liked that they were made in house. Next time I would just get more hot food if I were still hungry, or maybe try a treat from the bakery across the street.

    As we were paying, a guy came in and ordered "steak tacos with beans and the orange sauce", as many as he could get for $50. We chatted with him and he said the orange sauce is super spicy and not offered unless you ask for it. He and his coworkers (at an auto garage, looked like) get take-out several times a week + his boss loves the breakfast sandwiches, especially the pambaso.

    There are coupons available for this place on, too. I have mobile site access so I was able to pull it up on the spot and get $3 off our order; otherwise you'll have to check ahead of time and print out the coupon.

    I asked the server what region the food was from and she said owner was from near Mexico City. Whenever the lack of a language barrier allows, I like to find out about that.

    Service was great. The food was fresh and the waitress was friendly & helpful.