Broad Ripple – The Sinking Ship

Spending some time on my on this week I decided to start checking out all of my “wish list” items on Urban Spoon.  The Sinking Ship jumped out at me that Sunday morning and I decided to head down to Broad Ripple for lunch to check it out.

With a tagline claiming they’re “Putting the fun in functional alcoholic since 2011” how can you go wrong? To be honest, I’ve driven by this place for a while now & just never noticed it.  My first exposure to The Sinking Ship was an online petition to the Marion County Alcoholic Beverage Board:

The Sinking Ship needs your help! The liquor license of the bar is up for renewal and a local group (Meridian Kessler Neighbors Helping Neighbors) is trying to protest their license renewal. If the license goes, the business goes too. The Sinking Ship has had NO violations and is a great asset to the community!

Being well over 21 I immediately noticed several signs in the entrance advising patrons to stay out unless they have a valid ID.  When I ordered a beer (served in a mason jar) I was carded (been a long time since that’s happened).  In fact, they were carding everyone.  I guess it’s a good way to keep out of trouble if you make it a policy to card everyone.

There’s a lot of unique artwork on the walls and I’m going to spend more time checking them out on my next visit.  This is a smoking establishment so if that’s going to bother you be forewarned.

I was waited on by Chris who had a pair of the biggest ear gauges I’ve ever seen.  He was a really attentive and towards the end of my lunch he put on some really good tunes that kept me there for another beer. Overall the service here was really good and very friendly.

The Sinking Ship looks like a neat local bar to hang out at.  There were several people sitting around with their laptops chatting it up with the bartender and surfing the web (free WI-Fi is available).

The menu has some interesting items, such as Cajun Corn Fritters and Cajun Green Beans.  I chose the “Build Your Own Damn Burger” ($7.50) and selected mushrooms and swiss cheese.  The sandwich came with the normal setup of onion, tomato pickle and lettuce (bib lettuce!).  I choose Mac N’ Cheese for my side (at Chris’ suggestion) and it was awesome.  I could have made a meal out of the Mac N’ Cheese alone.

The burger was cooked well but could have used a little more seasoning.  The freshness of the produce was nice, especially the tomato and bib lettuce.  I was definitely pleased with the prices too.  2 beers and the food totaled $15, not bad for lunch in Broad Ripple!

If you’re looking for a nice place to hang out and you’re in the SoBro area, be sure to check out The Sinking Ship and enjoy the artwork!  I’m really digging the “Sid Vicious Clown” in the images below.




The Sinking Ship on Urbanspoon


Fishers – The Chatham Tap

Located in the heart of Fishers along 116th St The Chatham Tap opened in 2010.  There’s another location on Mass Ave in downtown Indy.  During its first year my wife and I visited and, although we enjoyed the brew, we did not care much for the grub.  It was very bland, under seasoned and just not that good.

The Friday night before the Indianapolis Super Bowl I was “baching it” and decided to give this place another try.  I’d been craving a burger all afternoon and after checking out the online menu I already had an idea what I was going to get.

The Chatham Tap is a lively place, (and pretty loud tonight) it’s decorated in a soccer theme with plenty of TVs covering all the major sports channels.  I was sitting at the end of the bar & kept watching the staff high-five each other over and over.  Must be required or they really like each other.

I settled in and ordered a pint of Guinness while I double checked the menu.  There it was… The Smoking Black and Bleu burger. A Cajun Seasoned 1/2 lb hand pattied burger, brushed with chipotle Tabasco, topped with melted bleu cheese and two strips of rasher bacon.  Red onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes round out the setup.  It’s all served on a perfectly toasted brioche style bun.  This was the kind of burger I’d been thinking about all day.

Homemade chips and the normal list of sides are available but when I saw the “hand breaded onion rings” I had to give them a shot.  Onion rings are usually very hit or miss so this was a gamble.

The bartender tonight (Rudy) was very attentive but not overly chatty, just the way I like my barkeep.  It took about 10 minutes before the food arrived and it looked even better than I imagined.  The burger was covered in melted bleu cheese and all the produce looked fresh with the exception of the tomatoes which I would expect this time of year.  The onion rings were nice and thick and had obviously been freshly made (eat enough onion rings and you can tell these things).

I kicked the tomatoes off to the side and ate the pickles on their own (sandwich slice type, nice and cold).  Once stacked with toppings this burger was pretty big.  A big extra point for the Rudy.  He brought catchup and mustard to the bar along with the silverware.  I like my onion rings with mustard and I always hate to have to ask for it.

I’m just going to get this out of the way now…  This burger was fantastic.  It was cooked exactly how I ordered it (medium) and it was smothered with melted bleu cheese (one of the best cheeses in my opinion).  The onion rings were just as amazing.  The coating had just the right thickness and the onions were nice and sweet.  They reminded me of giant Big Boy onion rings except bigger and, I’ll have to admit, better.  Add a little dab of mustard and I was in onion ring heaven.

Score another point for the Rudy as he was right there when it came time for another beer.  He used that time to ask about the food and he was on his way.  I was pretty impressed with how he was managing his side of the bar tonight.  He’s definitely good at his job and others noticed it as well.

The Chatham Tap has definitely redeemed itself and I usually don’t give places a 2nd chance.  It took me a couple of years to try it again but I’m glad I did.  Good atmosphere, attentive staff and great food make this place a winner.  I’m adding this place to my limited rotation of Fishers restaurants.

If you’ve been there or go there after reading this let me know what you think!

Chatham Tap Restaurant on Urbanspoon





Indianapolis – Scotty’s Brewhouse

Photo by SpecialKRB

When I was told the oil change on the Honda was going to take upwards of 2 hours I decided it was time to go find a place to sit down, eat some lunch, and get some work done.  Luckily the dealership is right across the street from Scotty’s Brewhouse on 96th St. in Indianapolis.

I’ve been to Scotty’s several times and have always had a good experience.  The food is consistent and the service is always very attentive.  I especially like the terry cloth “napkins” which you need for a lot of the dishes they server here.

On this visit I went with “The Shewman” a $10.50 burger with a side (I chose Mac-n-Cheese).  according to the menu The Shewman was once voted by Indianapolis Monthly as one of Indy’s top 25 burgers.

To make this award-winning burger you need these ingredients:

  • Peanut Butter (smooth)
  • Jalapenos (pickled)
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Bacon
  • 1/2 lb beef patty
  • Toasted bun
  • Lettuce, red onion, tomato, pickles

To the unadventurous this might sound like a big mess on a bun and it is, in a good way.  I was warned by my server that the Shewman is spicy.  I like spicy so I was expecting a little more heat than I got from the pickled jalapenos.  If the peppers would have been freshly sliced the heat could have been awesome.

I ordered mine med-well (unless I’ve ground the beef myself this is my preferred doneness).  I’ll go more pink if I know all precautions have been taken to make it safe.

Believe it or not the peanut butter is not that prominent on this burger.  It’s there in the background and it adds an interesting texture to the sandwich.  The burger was grilled to the proper temperature and all of the other ingredients were fresh and plentiful.  It was juicy enough with all of the toppings to require judicial use of the towel/napkin.

The Mac-n-Cheese was good but nothing spectacular.  The addition of some Cajun seasoning to the top did help a little.  FYI, the BEST Mac-n-Cheese I’ve had in a LONG time is at Famous Dave’s BBQ (it has corn and jalapeno bits in it).

All in all the Shewman is a solid burger and not as weird as you would think.  It’s going to be hard not to order it again when I return in 4-5,000 miles.

Scotty's Brewhouse on Urbanspoon

Cincinnati – Terrys Turf Club

Last weekend we made a trip to Cincinnati for a short Fathers Day visit with my dad.  Having been rained out on our Father/Son/Grandson fishing trip Saturday morning we quickly moved to the Plan B activity.

Just a small example of the outdoor signage

Located in the East End/Mount Washington area of town sits what some could say is a neighborhood eye sore but in this case Terry’s Turf Club actually improves the otherwise run down neighborhood.  As we drove to Terry’s for lunch I could not help but wonder if there was a mugging in my future.  When you see couches on the sidewalk and mattresses in the front yard you start to realize you might be in the wrong neighborhood (or we missed one hell of a party last night).

With it’s abundance of neon lights (inside and out) and motorized arm-waving signs it’s impossible to miss this place.  Diners Drive-ins and Dives did a segment in 2010 and the restaurant looked very intriguing.  I’m not a Guy Fieri stalker by any stretch of the imagination but I’ve been to a few places featured on his show.  There’s a lot of disagreement on the Internet about the places he picks, etc. but so far I have to say he’s exposed some gems to the Food Network audience.

Back to Terry’s…  We arrived around 2pm and there was a small group of people standing around outside.  We lucked out and scored a parking spot right in front of the place (including a perfect parallel parking job if i say so myself).  There were cars lined up and down the street a good 200-feet in either direction and a light drizzle was bringing people in under the awning.  We added our name to the list and settled in for a 30-minute wait (my limit to wait for ANY food by the way).  I’m curious if the DDD exposure contributed to the popularity of Terry’s or if it’s just one of those places that draws a crowd on its own.

My dad brought out a bowl of in-shell peanuts for the kids (and us) to help pass the time.  We watched groups of people going in and out of Terry’s and those exiting all looked happy.  My dad asked one lady how it was when she came out and she answered “wonderful”.

Neon, Neon & more Neon

It was our turn to be seated & we were placed right inside the door at a tall 4-top that was converted to a 5-top.  A little cramped but workable, plus it was right next to the electronic jukebox with 5 song credits ready to be picked and played.  I’m not a fan of the raised chair/table combo and prefer having my feet on the floor when I eat but I’m not going to let this ruin my experience.  Neon signs are definitely the predominant decor at Terry’s.

The menu at Terry’s is simple yet complex.  They are known for their burgers and the vast array of toppings, some of which are surprising (Fioe Gras, Halloumi Cheese, Crab, Pate, Scallops…).  If you’re not careful your $8.00 burger could easily exceed $15.  I went for the Burger (medium), Bacon, Swiss, lettuce, raw onion & a portabella cap ($10.75 total).  My son ordered a similar combo but with shitake mushrooms instead.

My grease stained slip

My dad ordered a burger with Brie (one of my least favorite cheeses no matter what you pair it with).  The girls ordered their burgers and we split 2 orders of fries among the table (plenty of fries by the way).  Each food order was written on it’s own slip and your name was added to the top for good measure.

After we placed our orders and selected a few songs on the jukebox it was time to start looking around the place in a little more detail.  There could not be any more than 40 people in the place and the noise level was a little high.  If you are thinking about bringing kids here be sure they can take a little noise without being uncomfortable.  I was a little concerned about how our son would react to the chaos (he’s not a loud noise fan)  but he was a trooper.

Unfortunately the humidity, air conditioning, and exposed HVAC ducts right above my left shoulder resulted in a few shockingly cold drips during our meal.  Nothing major but a little annoying nonetheless.  After the mixed reviews on Urban Spoon I was wondering how long it would take for our food to arrive.  10-15 minutes passed & our orders were delivered (not bad at all) .  All burgers were all cooked & dressed as requested & the fry’s looked great!

The final product

Everything was served on paper plates & the forks were plastic.  If you want a knife to cut your burger they bring you a giant slicer and return it to the holder on the wall after you use it.  I doubt Terry has a dish washer on his staff since the only thing that needs to be washed are the tables and the soda cups.  This was a little surprising considering the price of the food and toppings.   But, if you look at it another way, this definitely cuts down on the table turnover time which is important when you have a constant line of hungry patrons.  None of the customers really seems to care and it was served that way when DDD was shooting the segment.

The burgers were good really good.  Cooked to order, dressed to order and generous in size.  Lots of “Yums” at the table as everyone dug in and took the first bite of their sandwich.  I was surprised to find not one but TWO nice-sized portabella caps on my burger.  This created a mushroom to beef ratio nearing 1:1 and required the jaw separating ability of a snake.    A little squish, lots of juice, and some trial and error finally got this burger in my belly.  If I had one “complaint” it was the little-to-no seasoning of the portabella caps.  Everything else was spot on.  A little seasoning on the mushroom would have gone a long way.  Having tried a bite of my son’s (seasoned) shitake topped burger confirmed this suspicion.

Throughout the meal the staff was attentive and everyone had a good experience.  The check came & totaled just under $100 (5 burgers, 2 fries, 3 sodas & 3 beers).  A little steep but not unexpected after reading various reviews online.

Terry’s Turf Club was a great change from the “normal” burger joint. It’s quirky, uniquely decorated and efficiently run.  The burger “accessories” are over the top and the location is a little sketchy.  This  it all works to give residents and visitors alike something to talk about when discussing good food in Cincinnati.  Besides, how much can be said about Chilli, and don’t get me started about my disdain for Goetta.

We’re going to be back in the area soon and I’m going to seek out Zip’s which I hear is the local competitor to Terry’s Turf Club.  I’ll be sure to write up a review of that one as well.
Terry's Turf Club on Urbanspoon