Helpful ReplyLockedChoose my meal in Indy

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2016/06/24 15:49:47 (permalink)

Choose my meal in Indy

In two months, I'll be embarking on my official heartland trip of 2016. This time to Indiana and Kentucky. This will be a true roadtrip as I'll be driving all the way from Rhode Island and back. Although Sandra will not be with me on this trip, I'll be meeting up with Roadfooders along the way and will have two Roadfooders with me in Indiana.

There will be lots of Fried Chicken on this trip, 3 scheduled stops .
For my last meal stop in Indiana (which falls on Wednesday) I'll be on my own, and that will be one of the three scheduled fried chicken stops. There are two places I'm considering both straight out of the book Café Indiana which actually has commentary from Jane and Michael Stern.
 
One stop I'm considering is Clayton Café in Clayton IN and their specialty on Wednesday is pan fried chicken
The other stop I'm considering is The Chicken Inn in Shelbyville and their specialty is broasted chicken.
Since I can't do both, I'm hoping for some feedback from some folks on the forum.
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TJ Jackson
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/24 16:02:44 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ChiTownDiner 2016/06/24 18:22:57
Gary is in Indiana, so in honor of it's esteemed place in the history of pizza, I am going with Chuck E Cheese.
 
And I want a picture of you in the tunnel maze
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/24 18:24:28 (permalink)
Chick-fil-A....
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/24 18:32:08 (permalink)
wanderingjew
One stop I'm considering is Clayton Café in Clayton IN and their specialty on Wednesday is pan fried chicken
The other stop I'm considering is The Chicken Inn in Shelbyville and their specialty is broasted chicken.

Pick whichever version is harder for you to find at home; around here pan-fried chicken is definitely not as common as broasted...of course, with Broaster Company being headquartered here in WI that's not surprising.
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/24 18:49:43 (permalink)
ScreamingChicken
wanderingjew
One stop I'm considering is Clayton Café in Clayton IN and their specialty on Wednesday is pan fried chicken
The other stop I'm considering is The Chicken Inn in Shelbyville and their specialty is broasted chicken.

Pick whichever version is harder for you to find at home; around here pan-fried chicken is definitely not as common as broasted...of course, with Broaster Company being headquartered here in WI that's not surprising.




Well, that's an open ended question. I live in Rhode Island and people here think KFC is the best fried chicken around the only other alternative is supermarket fried chicken at Stop and Shop or Dave's Market place  neither of which aren't bad in a pinch (Dave's is better) .
The two windy city guys  (one tends to be much windier than the other) and I will be going to frequently discussed Iron Skillet in Indy which is one of the famous Indy Pan Fried Chicken Houses, then later on in the trip I'll be going to Mr. D's in Western KY with Louis
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ScreamingChicken
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/24 19:52:49 (permalink)
wanderingjew
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One stop I'm considering isClayton Café in Clayton IN and their specialty on Wednesday is pan fried chicken
The other stop I'm considering is The Chicken Inn in Shelbyville and their specialty is broasted chicken.

Pick whichever version is harder for you to find at home; around here pan-fried chicken is definitely not as common as broasted...of course, with Broaster Company being headquartered here in WI that's not surprising.

Well, that's an open ended question. I live in Rhode Island and people here think KFC is the best fried chicken around the only other alternative is supermarket fried chicken at Stop and Shop or Dave's Market place  neither of which aren't bad in a pinch (Dave's is better) .
The two windy city guys  (one tends to be much windier than the other) and I will be going to frequently discussed Iron Skillet in Indy which is one of the famous Indy Pan Fried Chicken Houses, then later on in the trip I'll be going to Mr. D's in Western KY with Louis

Can you find broasted chicken in RI?  If not, since you already have pan-fried stops on the schedule The Chicken Inn would be my suggestion.
 
Yeah, if you have that guy along..."gale warnings are now in effect".
post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2016/06/24 19:59:41
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/24 19:57:14 (permalink)
TJ Jackson
Gary is in Indiana, so in honor of it's esteemed place in the history of pizza, I am going with Chuck E Cheese.
 
And I want a picture of you in the tunnel maze


I was born and raised in Gary, Indiana.  And yes, I know the history here.  Won't go into that now.  Except, however to say that some of the best pizza I have ever had was from my home town.  And still is.  And I have eaten pizza in  all parts of this great country of ours.  Many of the pizza places from the '40's  and '50's still are in business in Northwest Indiana.  That, alone should stand as testament to how great the pizza is, in NWI. 
 
Really thought this thread was about Indianapolis.  However since you brought it up.... thought I would help set you straight.
 
Let's get back to talking about Indianapolis, instead of taking cheap shots about past history.
post edited by KenK - 2016/06/24 19:59:37
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/24 21:43:48 (permalink)
ScreamingChicken
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ScreamingChicken
wanderingjew
One stop I'm considering isClayton Café in Clayton IN and their specialty on Wednesday is pan fried chicken
The other stop I'm considering is The Chicken Inn in Shelbyville and their specialty is broasted chicken.

Pick whichever version is harder for you to find at home; around here pan-fried chicken is definitely not as common as broasted...of course, with Broaster Company being headquartered here in WI that's not surprising.

Well, that's an open ended question. I live in Rhode Island and people here think KFC is the best fried chicken around the only other alternative is supermarket fried chicken at Stop and Shop or Dave's Market place  neither of which aren't bad in a pinch (Dave's is better) .
The two windy city guys  (one tends to be much windier than the other) and I will be going to frequently discussed Iron Skillet in Indy which is one of the famous Indy Pan Fried Chicken Houses, then later on in the trip I'll be going to Mr. D's in Western KY with Louis

Can you find broasted chicken in RI?  If not, since you already have pan-fried stops on the schedule The Chicken Inn would be my suggestion.
 
Yeah, if you have that guy along..."gale warnings are now in effect".




I'm still torn.... 
I'm not sure if I've ever had broasted chicken before. How is it different that regular fried chicken which I assume is simply "deep fried"? I know  The Chicken Inn cooks each meal to order, they also have a larger variety of items on the menu including broasted potatoes (which I know is big in Indy) and those deep fried biscuits and apple butter that's also indigenous to Southern Indiana. On the other hand it would be interesting to compare the pan fried chicken at a small town rural cafe such as the Clayton Cafe to the "big city" pan fried chicken houses like the iron skillet.  I know we're going to Gray Brothers too, but I won't be having fried chicken there, I don't think they pan fry their chicken,anyway I assume it's just deep fried, unless someone knows for certain otherwise. 
 
BTW, Gale warnings? Nothing... more like tornadic activity
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/24 22:04:26 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ChiTownDiner 2016/06/25 11:56:33
WJ broasted chicken is fried under pressure. KFC cooks their Original in a pressure cooker similar to a broaster. Broaster is a trade name for their own line of cookers. Also KFC cooks their extra crispy in the same cookers but without closing and sealing the lid. Chester Fried Chicken also produces a line of closed lid pressure fryers that they sell to franchisees.
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/24 22:05:48 (permalink)
I like broasted,deep fried,pan fried all about the same.
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TJ Jackson
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/24 22:45:23 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ChiTownDiner 2016/06/25 11:56:50
No cheap shots intended
 
This was about one of the greatest comedic moment, right up there with the "most unwelcoming site", ever in the history of the Roadfood forums
 
that, and the fact that I have always dreamed of the moment WJ would willingly let me tell him where to go
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/25 10:13:54 (permalink)
chickenplucker
WJ broasted chicken is fried under pressure. KFC cooks their Original in a pressure cooker similar to a broaster. Broaster is a trade name for their own line of cookers. Also KFC cooks their extra crispy in the same cookers but without closing and sealing the lid. Chester Fried Chicken also produces a line of closed lid pressure fryers that they sell to franchisees.



chickenplucker
 
Thanks for the description. Believe it or not I used to work at KFC back in the early 80's.  It was a part time after high school job so I do recall the pressure cooking process. We had the "big cooker" which we used to use on weekends and the little cooker which we mostly used in the evenings during the week.
 
TJ Jackson
No cheap shots intended
 
This was about one of the greatest comedic moment, right up there with the "most unwelcoming site", ever in the history of the Roadfood forums
 
that, and the fact that I have always dreamed of the moment WJ would willingly let me tell him where to go




Well it's only fair, TJ since there were many times in the past where I told you where you can go! 
Clearly my question was not an open ended one since I only provided two choices to pick
 
On an aside, I probably won't decide where to go until the last minute. I did discover on The Clayton Cafe's facebook page that the restaurant was sold a few months back. The prior owners had owned the cafe since 1984 and sold it to a local couple. That said, the online reviews haven't changed at all, they're still very positive. I also noticed that the Wednesday Pan Fried chicken special, like all of their daily specials are "all you can eat" .  I'm also thinking that "pan fried" is probably more regionally correct to Indiana than "broaster". As you can see it's going to be a very tough choice.
 
 
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/25 10:41:54 (permalink)
Incidentally here is a very interesting blog I found from a few years back with very descriptive reviews of the top 3 Indy Chicken Houses; Hollyhock Hill, Kopper Kettle and Iron Skillet.  It seems  that Iron Skillet was the favorite. I wonder where Dodd's Town House would have stood if it were still around?
 
Hollyhock Hill
 
Kopper Kettle
 
IronSkillet
 
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ann peeples
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/25 11:04:40 (permalink)
Boy oh boy-would gladly go to the restaurants you are considering, WJ.
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/25 11:57:38 (permalink)
ann peeples
Boy oh boy-would gladly go to the restaurants you are considering, WJ.




Wanna take my place....
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/25 14:10:36 (permalink)
When I grew up in Indiana it was always boiled chicken and dumplings every Sunday afternoon. Never heard of fried chicken until KFC came to town.
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/26 14:21:49 (permalink)
Davydd
When I grew up in Indiana it was always boiled chicken and dumplings every Sunday afternoon. Never heard of fried chicken until KFC came to town.




So, I guess Hollyhock Hill, Dodd's Townhouse, Iron Skillet and the other dozen or so chicken houses in the Indianapolis area that I don't know the names of but are long closed had it on their secret menu? 
Funny, I couldn't find any places serve chicken and dumplings around the Indianapolis area but I did find lots of places serving chicken and noodles or beef and noodles or both. I thought chicken and dumplings would be more of a Kentucky thing.
post edited by wanderingjew - 2016/06/26 15:01:31
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/26 19:38:18 (permalink)
Davydd
When I grew up in Indiana it was always boiled chicken and dumplings every Sunday afternoon. Never heard of fried chicken until KFC came to town.


When I grew up in Indiana in the same time frame I never heard of fried chicken until KFC came to town.  But then we were poor so we never went to restaurants, let alone Dodd's.  But I've been making up for it ever since.
 
There are people from all kinds of backgrounds here on RF.  I remember someone posting long ago how he had gotten sick and tired of Peter Luger's because his grandfather had a house account and always dragged the family there.
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/27 10:23:41 (permalink)
I ate at Hollyhock Hill last Thursday with my spouse and a locally-based friend, who usually gets carryout. We treated ourselves to the restaurant.  It was great.  We were seated in the back room that looks out on the lovely garden and fountain and has a good view of the painted wall murals of hollyhocks inside. We all had cocktails, and they were well-prepared.  You can select your liquor from a pretty good list -- they had four or five different bourbons, for example. We all ordered the all white meat fried chicken. A waiter (not even our waiter) overheard my comment that the downside to ordering all white meat rather than assorted pieces means you won't get a fried chicken liver or gizzard on the side.  He said, "You can order a full or half order of fried chicken livers as an appetizer." We ordered the half order, which was more than sufficient for two (my husband doesn't eat them).  (And by the way, service was excellent all the way.)
 
The Hollyhock Hill routine remains unchanged:  tomato juice, assorted "salads" (lettuce with their homemade dressing, cottage cheese, relish tray, delicious pickled beets), then the exemplary fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, and green beans, plus biscuits with apple butter and butter spread packets.  Everything was delicious except the biscuits, which they still seem to be struggling to get "right."  They are kind of doughy even when "done" on the bottom, and in my opinion, better eaten with the terrific pan/milk gravy than with butter or apple butter.  The green beans are a matter of taste -- more blanched than long-cooked with bacon or pork.  I prefer them the old fashioned way, but again, that's a matter of taste. Then came the warm steamed washcloths to clean your hands, followed by vanilla ice cream with a lazy susan of chocolate, creme de menthe, or butterscotch sauces.  We also had iced tea (unsweetened is the only way they sell it, but it is brewed tea, and there are sweeteners on the table). 
 
I've been back to Hollyhock Hill roughly once a year for the past 10 years or so when I've been in Indianapolis for a board meeting.  Usually I've gone to Saturday or Sunday lunch.  Sunday lunch is just like dinner service; Saturday lunch, which is offered when they are having other events like bridal showers, CAN be the full dinner service if you request it, or you have the option of ordering an abbreviated menu that has fewer salads and serves the entree as a plate lunch, not family style as at Sunday lunch or any night dinner.  This was the best version I've had in several years, so I can recommend dinner there without reservation (well, maybe the biscuits!). 
 
And by the way, my family was going to Hollyhock Hill (which is about a ten-minute drive from the house I grew up in) since the late 1950s. The only thing that has changed, really, is that they used to make and bake their own bread, and the table got a whole loaf.  It was really delicious.  Back in the late 60s or early 70s they changed to factory-made but baked-in-house bread, which wasn't nearly as good.  Not sure when they started with the biscuits, which, as I said, have varied in quality but never been as good as the biscuits you'd get in Kentucky or Tennessee.
 
And another quick note about fried chicken in Indy -- another place that served it was called Hansel and Gretel.  Even though the ad bills it as a "German-American restaurant," they were known for their fried chicken and corn pudding. http://historicindianapolis.com/at-your-leisure-beware-of-the-witch/
 
And the popular cafeteria chains Laughners and its competitor McLaughners (now known as MCL) also serve(d) excellent fried chicken. Laughners is, sadly, long gone. It was praised by Jane and Michael Stern in an article in the New Yorker years ago. Their fried chicken was out of this world, as were their biscuits and sugar cream pie.
 
 
MCL still exists, and I had fried chicken at the one on West 86th Street on Friday at lunchtime. It was very good, but not pan-fried, and therefore not what I'd consider destination dining.  It is now called MCL Restaurant and Bakery, but it is still a cafeteria, with carryout available as well.  The cream pies and the cherry pie were just as I remember them, and it is a very good value for what you get. Their green beans are the old-fashioned kind.
 
 
post edited by rumaki - 2016/06/27 10:41:33
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/27 10:52:17 (permalink)
I'm glad you chimed in Rumaki
I was hoping to hear from you
 
 I looked at one of the earliest Stern's Roadfood Books I believe it was from 1980, and they mentioned yet another Indianapolis Fried Chicken House called the Hill Top On Michigan Avenue.
I know how much you love Hollyhock Hill, but those reviews online about Iron Skillet are just superb. I've got  to try the place because this may be my last "real" visit to Indy. I will be returning to Indy for a quick "in and out meal with Sandra in 2018 for our cross country trip but I have a feeling our only stop will be Gray Brother's Cafeteria.
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rumaki
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/27 11:21:46 (permalink)
The Hill Top!! Haven't thought about that place in years.  It was in a big old house. It wasn't all that close to our home, but one of my high school friends suggested it to us, and my family ate there quite a few times.
 
The fried chicken was very popular, but I thought it inferior to Hollyhock Hill and even Laughners.  What I always had there (after the first time we ate there) was their french fried lobster.  It was served in big chunks (no filler) and was absolutely fantastic.  I also seem to recall that they had great pies.  If you wanted fried chicken or boiled lobster you had to order it when you made your table reservation -- and reservations were mandatory.  I remember the hostess always met guests at the door with a rather peremptory, "What is the name on your reservation?" and if you didn't have one, you were turned away.
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hatteras04
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/27 11:34:22 (permalink)
Sorry I can't help with the chicken places, but I did want to ask if you will be going through or near Bloomington.  That's where i grew up and there is a regional specialty there that I like to recommend to out-of-towners.
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/27 11:39:51 (permalink)
hatteras04
Sorry I can't help with the chicken places, but I did want to ask if you will be going through or near Bloomington.  That's where i grew up and there is a regional specialty there that I like to recommend to out-of-towners.




Unfortunately I won't be going through Bloomington. We have a pretty tight schedule already. I'm still trying to finagle a 1:30PM Indianapolis Indians game on Wednesday the 24th, grab dinner (either at The Chicken Inn or Clayton Café and then head to Louisville to catch the Louisivlle Bats game at 7PM
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/27 13:14:09 (permalink)
wanderingjew
hatteras04
Sorry I can't help with the chicken places, but I did want to ask if you will be going through or near Bloomington.  That's where i grew up and there is a regional specialty there that I like to recommend to out-of-towners.




Unfortunately I won't be going through Bloomington. We have a pretty tight schedule already. I'm still trying to finagle a 1:30PM Indianapolis Indians game on Wednesday the 24th, grab dinner (either at The Chicken Inn or Clayton Café and then head to Louisville to catch the Louisivlle Bats game at 7PM




Yikes that is tight but Victory field is very nice and worth going to.  I hope it all works out and you get to see two games and have great chicken. 
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/27 13:35:04 (permalink)
hatteras04
Sorry I can't help with the chicken places, but I did want to ask if you will be going through or near Bloomington.  That's where i grew up and there is a regional specialty there that I like to recommend to out-of-towners.

So spill the beans, man...what is it?!?
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/27 15:32:18 (permalink)
hatteras04
wanderingjew
hatteras04
Sorry I can't help with the chicken places, but I did want to ask if you will be going through or near Bloomington.  That's where i grew up and there is a regional specialty there that I like to recommend to out-of-towners.




Unfortunately I won't be going through Bloomington. We have a pretty tight schedule already. I'm still trying to finagle a 1:30PM Indianapolis Indians game on Wednesday the 24th, grab dinner (either at The Chicken Inn or Clayton Café and then head to Louisville to catch the Louisivlle Bats game at 7PM




Yikes that is tight but Victory field is very nice and worth going to.  I hope it all works out and you get to see two games and have great chicken. 




Thanks

I've been to Victory Field  3 times before, my last visit was back in 2011. It's a nice little ballpark
I've also been to Slugger field in Louisville twice, however it's been almost 10 years since I was there.
 
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/27 16:06:13 (permalink)
wanderingjew
Davydd
When I grew up in Indiana it was always boiled chicken and dumplings every Sunday afternoon. Never heard of fried chicken until KFC came to town.




So, I guess Hollyhock Hill, Dodd's Townhouse, Iron Skillet and the other dozen or so chicken houses in the Indianapolis area that I don't know the names of but are long closed had it on their secret menu? 
Funny, I couldn't find any places serve chicken and dumplings around the Indianapolis area but I did find lots of places serving chicken and noodles or beef and noodles or both. I thought chicken and dumplings would be more of a Kentucky thing.


Did I mention any restaurants? Like plb growing up the concept of eating at a restaurant was foreign. I lived in a neighborhood surrounded by railroads during the steam locomotive era, heavy industry and the stockyards. I didn't know people who ate at restaurants. My grandfather was from Kentucky and my ancestors had lived in Kentucky since about 1778. So, yes, simple food was the fare.
 
I could probably tell you when I first had fried chicken, at least that I can remember. It most likely was at an awards dinner for Indianapolis Star newspaper boys at the Indiana State Fair (but not at the fair). I was about 12 or 13 and I was totally unaccustomed to a sit down dinner away from private homes. I started eating the crispy fried chicken with a knife and fork.  My father had to set me straight that you could pick up the chicken.
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/28 07:44:13 (permalink)
Davydd
wanderingjew
Davydd
When I grew up in Indiana it was always boiled chicken and dumplings every Sunday afternoon. Never heard of fried chicken until KFC came to town.




So, I guess Hollyhock Hill, Dodd's Townhouse, Iron Skillet and the other dozen or so chicken houses in the Indianapolis area that I don't know the names of but are long closed had it on their secret menu? 
Funny, I couldn't find any places serve chicken and dumplings around the Indianapolis area but I did find lots of places serving chicken and noodles or beef and noodles or both. I thought chicken and dumplings would be more of a Kentucky thing.


Did I mention any restaurants? Like plb growing up the concept of eating at a restaurant was foreign. I lived in a neighborhood surrounded by railroads during the steam locomotive era, heavy industry and the stockyards. I didn't know people who ate at restaurants. My grandfather was from Kentucky and my ancestors had lived in Kentucky since about 1778. So, yes, simple food was the fare.
 
I could probably tell you when I first had fried chicken, at least that I can remember. It most likely was at an awards dinner for Indianapolis Star newspaper boys at the Indiana State Fair (but not at the fair). I was about 12 or 13 and I was totally unaccustomed to a sit down dinner away from private homes. I started eating the crispy fried chicken with a knife and fork.  My father had to set me straight that you could pick up the chicken.




I guess I just have an incredibly tough time wrapping my head around the fact that eating out on occasion was "never heard of" in the mid twentieth century. I recall as a kid eating out on occasion in the 1970's just a mere very short two decades later and we were poor too.
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/28 07:49:45 (permalink)
Most folks who were directly influenced by the Great Depression did not eat out with any regularity.  It was well into the next generation that began to occur.  
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Re: Choose my meal in Indy 2016/06/28 08:13:44 (permalink)
Ralp and Alice Kramden were from that era, and they were poor and even they went to the Hong Kong Gardens on occasion.
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