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Breaded Cheeseburgers, Coneys, & Spanish Dogs in Indiana

Breaded Cheeseburgers, Coneys, & Spanish Dogs in Indiana
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  • Breaded Cheeseburgers, Coneys, & Spanish Dogs in Indiana

    Post #1 - May 28th, 2015, 2:19 pm
    Post #1 - May 28th, 2015, 2:19 pm Post #1 - May 28th, 2015, 2:19 pm
    Cant let the best faux food holiday out there go by without a burger post. I was in the middle of Indiana last year and stopped into a local fast food place I had been to before. The purpose of the stop was a quick soft drink but it turned into more when I glanced over the menu. I saw a breaded cheeseburger on there and decided it was time to try one.

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    Breaded Cheeseburger at Penguin Point Drive-In

    First impressions? These might do well in Bridgeport. The patty itself tasted like a breaded steak minus the sauce. Everything else about it was similar to a breaded steak as far as texture and likability factor and I don't write a sports column for USA Today, so I wouldn't be the one and only person in America who thinks the breaded steak is the best sandwich in the country. I also don't think the breaded cheeseburger is anywhere near the best style of burger out there. Though I felt the need to try another to be ever so sure.

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    Columbia City, IN

    I said I'd make it back. The Nook is your typical Coney Island Hot Dog restaurant and if it seems like I say that every time I post about a Coney shop it's because they're all pretty much the same style with views like those seen below.

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    a peek inside

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    Dogs and a pot of Coney Sauce on the flattop

    I chatted it up with the waitress at the counter and I cant quite remember what year she told me they had been open since but I believe it was in the 70's. I guess at some point after that many of the Coney Shops across across the country started closing down so it's always nice to find one still going strong. They serve a respectable version with the sauce being the standout. Not as wet as a Detroit style Coney though not as dry as those from Flint. Somewhere in between with the spicing combination found in most other offerings. Coney stands outside of Michigan most always use cheap wieners.

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    Coney Dog

    This visit was in the Fall so chili was available and since it's a totally different recipe than the Coney sauce, as it should be, I decided to try a bowl of that as well. This was a very thin version with some hunks of tomatoes inside with minimal traces of ground beef. Very soup like.

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    Bowl of Chili

    Then there's the breaded cheeseburger which I also had to try to see what if anything was different about the one here than the one tried at Penguin Point the day before. The answer? Nothing, except better placed toppings. Turns out these are a popular snack in the area due to a regional butcher shop that freezes and then packages them for restaurants and the public to purchase. I'm not sure who's responsible for their creation but there's little doubt that whoever started the trend did so in the idea of a cheeseburger mixed with a tenderloin.

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    Breaded Cheeseburger

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    The Insides

    Sometimes I'll put 'no highways' in my GPS when headed home from elsewhere and with it I get to roll thru some random towns and maybe come across a random spot. In this area of Indiana there's still a ton of B&K Drive In restaurants. According to Wikipedia the first one was founded in Michigan City in the 1940's and at one point they neared 250 locations. The ones that are left today are all independently owned and operated giving each one it's own character as far as looks and feel. The menu at most are the same with the longtime signatures of the establishment being the homemade root beer and Spanish Dogs. The latter being a type of hot dog sauce, different than the Coney style, that I guess originated with the first B&K. If you google around there's a couple blog posts recollecting this regional eat and even a few copycat recipes. Unfortunately all of the B&K's I passed by had closed for the season but I still snapped some photos of some of them as it seemed each town in the area had one. FYI this is the part of the state about 2.5 hours southeast of Chicago and right in-between Lafayette and Fort Wayne.

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    B&K Root Beer Stands across Middle Indiana

    Though I didn't get to try one from a B&K the Spanish Dog seems to have spread out to other establishments in the area. There's still lots of Drive In's in Middle America and plenty of them are in these parts. One popped up in the form of Mr. Weenie in Peru and I popped in.

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    Peru, IN

    "A classic drive-in with a gigantic grinning hot dog for a mascot. From his stand on the soaring highway sign, the friendly frank--dressed in a bowler hat and bowtie, holding the words "Mr. Weenie,"--has lured diners since the '60s. Local and long distance dog lovers pull up to the covered drive, where they're met by a carhop and a choice of 12 different types of weenie, from the standard plain pork version to the Chicago beef dog with mustard, relish, onions, pickles, tomatoes, and hot peppers." - Indianapolis Monthly

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    The Menu at Mr. Weenie

    A quick glance at the menu and you don't have to look hard to spy a Spanish Dog on offer. It's the second one listed which means it must be popular. Also on there is a breaded cheeseburger which I'm good on forever. Don't expect this thread to reach Burgers of Wisconsin status. Just one Spanish Dog for me, for documentation sake and to see what they're all about. Upon trying one I felt like I had eaten one before and it's possible I have in the form of Jaenicke’s Root Beer Stand in Kankakee. Maybe they started off as a B&K? Or maybe there's a different connection or maybe what they call a Red Hot in those parts is called a Spanish Dog in these parts. Who knows but you probably had to have grown up on these tomato tasting cheap wiener treats to really love them but I'll stop into a B&K next time I'm driving by and enjoy one with a frosty glass of root beer. See ya next time.

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    Spanish Dog at Mr. Weenie

    Penguin Point

    The Nook
    223 W Van Buren St
    Columbia City, IN 46725
    (260) 248-8700

    Mr. Weenie Drive In Restaurant
    600 N Broadway
    Peru, IN 46970
    (765) 473-6564
  • Post #2 - May 29th, 2015, 6:10 am
    Post #2 - May 29th, 2015, 6:10 am Post #2 - May 29th, 2015, 6:10 am
    The breaded cheeseburger and Spanish dog are both interesting and yet so unappetizing -- the team appreciates your efforts. :) That said, I'll be passing through Indiana next month and, though I can't promise to seek them out, if we pass a drive-in, I'll stop and see if I can snag one of these Hoosier specialties.

    The name "Spanish Dog" is funny. Kind of like "Spanish Rice." Does anyone in Spain eat anything like these dishes? Unlikely.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #3 - May 29th, 2015, 12:23 pm
    Post #3 - May 29th, 2015, 12:23 pm Post #3 - May 29th, 2015, 12:23 pm
    Da Beef wrote:Turns out these are a popular snack in the area due to a regional butcher shop that freezes and then packages them for restaurants and the public to purchase. I'm not sure who's responsible for their creation but there's little doubt that whoever started the trend did so in the idea of a cheeseburger mixed with a tenderloin.

    That’s simultaneously very interesting and somewhat disappointing. When I first encountered the breaded cheeseburger a couple years ago at Magic Wand in Churubusco IN (Turtle Town USA), I assumed that the burgers were made in house. That sign taped up by the window is more than a little misleading.

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    The main thing that impressed me was the neat assembly. I didn’t realize they were simply dropping a frozen disk into the deep fryer.

    A few months later I met the beast again, this time at Nick’s in Huntington IN.

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    I didn’t feel compelled to try it again, but I assumed Nick’s was using their vaunted schnitzel skills to make another similar item. I didn’t realize I was in the heart of Indiana’s pre-fab breaded cheeseburger belt. I wonder if anyone is making them in house, in Indiana or elsewhere.

    Da Beef wrote:The menu at most are the same with the longtime signatures of the establishment being the homemade root beer and Spanish Dogs.

    Interesting. I didn’t know most of the remaining B&K Root Beer drive-ins still have similar menus. The only one I’ve eaten at (presumably an exception), in Van Wert OH, doesn’t serve Spanish dogs. Instead, they make a creamed chicken sandwich that was one of the most repulsive things I’ve sampled in the last five years.

    Da Beef wrote:Just one Spanish Dog for me, for documentation sake and to see what they're all about.

    I’m more than a little surprised you didn’t see fit to follow your Spanish dog with a Mexiburger. What the heck is a Mexiburger?
  • Post #4 - May 29th, 2015, 1:25 pm
    Post #4 - May 29th, 2015, 1:25 pm Post #4 - May 29th, 2015, 1:25 pm
    The breaded cheeseburger reminds me of what is translated as a "Polish hamburger" at various Polish restaurants. They're usually fatter and don't contain cheese (that I've had), but the same idea of ground meat, breading, and frying them. Here's an example of one with bun and all. It is known as a kotlet mielony (ground cutlet) or simply sznycel (schnitzel), which I guess gives credit to the Austrian schnitzel as inspiring it. They are quite delicious.
  • Post #5 - May 29th, 2015, 2:28 pm
    Post #5 - May 29th, 2015, 2:28 pm Post #5 - May 29th, 2015, 2:28 pm
    Rene G wrote:I’m more than a little surprised you didn’t see fit to follow your Spanish dog with a Mexiburger. What the heck is a Mexiburger?

    Basically a sloppy joe or chili sandwich. Had one in the middle of Indiana, I swear it was the same place.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #6 - May 30th, 2015, 3:29 pm
    Post #6 - May 30th, 2015, 3:29 pm Post #6 - May 30th, 2015, 3:29 pm
    Da Beef wrote:

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    Breaded Cheeseburger

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    The Insides



    I don't think I'm seeing any cheese here?
    fine words butter no parsnips
  • Post #7 - May 30th, 2015, 3:48 pm
    Post #7 - May 30th, 2015, 3:48 pm Post #7 - May 30th, 2015, 3:48 pm
    If a breaded cheeseburger were offered to me as my last meal before execution, I'd prefer leaving earth on an empty stomach.
    Mark A Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University/Vienna Beef
  • Post #8 - May 30th, 2015, 4:22 pm
    Post #8 - May 30th, 2015, 4:22 pm Post #8 - May 30th, 2015, 4:22 pm
    I'd eat it.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #9 - May 30th, 2015, 5:37 pm
    Post #9 - May 30th, 2015, 5:37 pm Post #9 - May 30th, 2015, 5:37 pm
    I tell ya, what the hell would this board be, without Beef?!

    Onward, Beef!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #10 - May 31st, 2015, 10:07 am
    Post #10 - May 31st, 2015, 10:07 am Post #10 - May 31st, 2015, 10:07 am
    David Hammond wrote:The breaded cheeseburger and Spanish dog are both interesting and yet so unappetizing -- the team appreciates your efforts. :)

    The name "Spanish Dog" is funny. Kind of like "Spanish Rice." Does anyone in Spain eat anything like these dishes? Unlikely.


    JoelF wrote:
    Rene G wrote:I’m more than a little surprised you didn’t see fit to follow your Spanish dog with a Mexiburger. What the heck is a Mexiburger?

    Basically a sloppy joe or chili sandwich. Had one in the middle of Indiana, I swear it was the same place.


    Haha while I cant say with 100% certainty I was pretty sure by looking at the price of one that it's Spanish Sauce on a hamburger bun maybe with some toppings added on. In the same way many of the coney spots serve their burgers which is about as Mexican as the sauce is Spanish. JoelF's description seems to point to this being the case.

    Rene G wrote:When I first encountered the breaded cheeseburger a couple years ago at Magic Wand in Churubusco IN (Turtle Town USA), I assumed that the burgers were made in house. That sign taped up by the window is more than a little misleading.

    Image

    The main thing that impressed me was the neat assembly. I didn’t realize they were simply dropping a frozen disk into the deep fryer.


    I think Magic Wand might of been touting their regular non-breaded burgers as fresh because theirs looks an awful like the two spots up above and nothing like this which I'm guessing is more of what we were separately hoping for. As opposed to this.

    Binko wrote:The breaded cheeseburger reminds me of what is translated as a "Polish hamburger" at various Polish restaurants.


    Those do look good. Any recs in Chicagoland for one?

    Roger Ramjet wrote:I don't think I'm seeing any cheese here?


    It's there but kind of blended in with the breading and mayo. It's just one slice.

    chicagostyledog wrote:If a breaded cheeseburger were offered to me as my last meal before execution, I'd prefer leaving earth on an empty stomach.


    teatpuller wrote:I'd eat it.


    Haha. Wouldn't be surprised if these are served at the local county jail. Curiosity always wins with me, up until my last breath.

    Geo wrote:Onward, Beef!


    All aboard, next stop up is Alton Illinois!
  • Post #11 - May 31st, 2015, 10:42 am
    Post #11 - May 31st, 2015, 10:42 am Post #11 - May 31st, 2015, 10:42 am
    Hey Beef,

    I've spent some time in Alton, and obviously, Fast Eddie's is a big stop. We'll be eagerly awaiting your report! Oh, and BTW, a few miles south of Alton, on Rt. 3 is a marvelous Lewis and Clarke museum, very well worth a visit. And Duke Bakery makes some good donuts!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #12 - July 21st, 2015, 4:37 pm
    Post #12 - July 21st, 2015, 4:37 pm Post #12 - July 21st, 2015, 4:37 pm
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    The Menu at Leon's Frozen Custard in Milwaukee

    On what was my umpteenth trip to Leon's their 'Spanish Hamburger' finally got my attention. I asked the young lady behind the counter what a Spanish was and she told me it's their version of a Sloppy Joe. Figuring it was going to be something similar to a Mexiburger (sweet hot dog sauce on a bun) my curiosity still got the better of me and I went ahead and ordered one. They should call it an Iowan. This is basically a loose meat sandwich, albeit a tad bit wetter than most, which actually helped. I mean I did eat the whole thing and might even order one next time I stop thru.

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    Spanish Hamburger and a Custard before the ride home to Chicago

    Leon's Frozen Custard
    3131 S 27th St
    Milwaukee, WI 53215
    (414) 383-1784
  • Post #13 - July 21st, 2015, 4:42 pm
    Post #13 - July 21st, 2015, 4:42 pm Post #13 - July 21st, 2015, 4:42 pm
    I've always wondered about the food at Leon's. I guess now I know. It's still my favorite custard in Milwaukee.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - July 21st, 2015, 4:55 pm
    Post #14 - July 21st, 2015, 4:55 pm Post #14 - July 21st, 2015, 4:55 pm
    After a couple of Leon's cones, who'd want to eat anyway?? :)

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #15 - July 26th, 2015, 9:53 am
    Post #15 - July 26th, 2015, 9:53 am Post #15 - July 26th, 2015, 9:53 am
    Geo wrote:After a couple of Leon's cones, who'd want to eat anyway?? :)

    Geo

    A COUPLE? :shock: :lol:

    I guess I'm on the other side of the sweet/salty fence. For example I can eat a ton of french fries and think nothing of it (fresh cut, frozen, doesn't matter as long as they're hot and crisp). But when it comes to custard or ice cream, one scoop is usually enough for me. I never understand how people get large concretes or blizzards or mega desserts. But then I think of myself with the fries and realize it's the same thing with a different food. Speaking of Leon's, it's been at least a year since I had it. Oh yeah, interesting post Beef - as always.
  • Post #16 - July 26th, 2015, 10:20 am
    Post #16 - July 26th, 2015, 10:20 am Post #16 - July 26th, 2015, 10:20 am
    I'm with you on the sweet vs. savoury divide, Ram4. But certain people whom I'm closely associated with (!!) come down on the other side. I never had more than one scoop at Leon's, while she always had at least two. :)

    BTW, here's one of my favorite images of Leon's.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)

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