Edwards Drive-In, Indianapolis
To kick things off, I’ll start with the most recent restaurant I’ve experienced, that being Edwards’ Drive-In in the state capital of Indiana. Edwards is your classic 1950’s diner, known for serving huge portions of Indiana’s beloved pork tenderloin sandwich with a frosted glass of homemade root beer.
For those who have never heard of it, the pork tenderloin sandwich is about as Indiana (and Iowa) as it gets. It’s basically a pork loin pounded thin, breaded and fried, then topped with your standard hamburger toppings. What sets Edwards apart, aside from the 1950’s atmosphere, is the sheer size of the tenderloin. The meat hangs a long, long way off the bun, which makes for more pork for your money. The pork is very good without the bread, cheese and condiments, but it really works well when you hit the inside of the sandwich and all the other stuff combines with the crisp breading and the flavor of the pork.
For your side, having spent 19 months in Idaho, I tend to prefer the potatoes, but you’ve got to go with the onion rings here. They are big and the onions stay crisp, flavorful and delicious throughout the meal. The onions are so good that they really don’t even need the breading, and that’s always a good thing when that’s the case. Don’t get me wrong, the breading is great, but when you’ve got a product inside that’s so good that it tastes wonderful without it, you’ve got an awesome food item there.
That brings me to the root beer. Little-known fact about me, I’m not a root beer guy. I’m a sweet tea, grape soda and diet Mountain Dew/Coke/Pepsi guy. When I bought my home soda maker, I tossed away the root beer packets in the sample pack, because I just wasn’t going to use them.
But this root beer is wonderful. First, they serve it in a frosted glass, just the way a good root beer should be served. It’s ice-cold from your first sip to the last drop. Second, this root beer is homemade, and it’s something special. The taste is wonderful and the cold temperature keeps it that way throughout your meal. It’s good enough to make me like the taste of root beer.
As far as the atmosphere, it’s a 50’s diner and the jukebox does actually work without you paying for it. I found this out when I punched a few buttons and accidentally played “The Name Game”. The other customers probably didn’t appreciate that, but oh well.
Time to go: Lunch
Wait during my visit: Very short, served nearly immediately
Location: 2126 South Sherman Drive, Indianapolis, IN, inside of Interstate 465 but outside of downtown. It’s in the southeastern part of metro Indianapolis, and it’s not really close to a lot.
Cost: Reasonable. I paid about $10 on my visit for everything.
Website: Edwards Drive-In
Signature items: Pork tenderloin sandwich, onion rings, root beer