I took a ride down to Nashville to celebrate at my cousins bachelor party this past weekend. After scooping a couple folks we took off for good from Beverly and after getting nabbed for a ticket in NW Indiana, guess where my last one ten years ago was in
We were finally off around 9a Thursday and arrived in Louisville about 130. It was a pretty easy albeit boring drive down 65. Aside from the windmills in the town west of Indianapolis theres not much going on and even so after 5 seconds those are boring too. Only when you you get to "Kentuckiana" do things start getting a little more scenic in the views department. We had planned on doing the Louisville Slugger bat factory tour but also wanted to get into Nashville at a respectable hour. We still had a three hour drive to go, so it was a stop in at the popular roadfood rec Lynn's Paradise Cafe before getting on the road again.
If you haven't been to or read about the place before it's a pretty quirky little spot in a old school turned hippie like neighborhood with art supply shops and bong shops sharing the block with an old time family hardware store and more. It's pretty big and at first it looked like we were going to have to wait because there was a big party standing and sitting around outside but they were just finishing up. There's a bar area (liquor is served) along with a good amount of tables inside and an outdoor patio as well. Inside as you first enter theres a large store area with all sorts of those things you buy someone for a quick laugh, haha, then its never seen nor thought of again. Although they did have some cool books including a Southern biscuit book with a tour and recipes of places that serve them up down there. I got a good Nashville rec' from it while waiting for the rest in my party to finish up.
Inside and outside dining
A bloody way to start the meal
I chose a Bloody to start my meal and was expecting something big time with the double digit pricetag and the mention of 36 ingredients it takes to make it. Not that I was really buying the whole ingredient thing I found the Bloody to be average at best. You can get a better one at practically any bar in Wisconsin where they at least put some meat and cheese and in many cases shrimp cocktail on the skewer. So I'd stick with the local bottled beer options. I wasn't sure if the entire gimmick was why people love this place but it was all good from there. My second option would of been the fried green tomato BLT and thats was got by the three others with me.
Fried Green Tomato BLT
I enjoyed my half of a half sandwich that I tried and thought the sides of which they give you a choice of with your sandwich order were pretty good too. The cheesy grits and onions rings that is. But I couldn't go thru Louisville and not try one of their famous signature 'Hot Brown' sandwiches
. Created in the 1920's at the Brown Hotel the original was concocted as an alternative option to the typical late night ham and cheese offering of that era. Its a take on Welsh Rarebit that consists of bread layered with fresh sliced of turkey layered with mornay sauce and cheese served with bacon and in some cases tomatoes and iother things on top. They offer their own version at Lynn's with sourdough bread on the bottom and fresh roasted turkey in between locally made cheese.
The Paradise Brown "Sandwich"
According to the menu this was named the "best sandwich in America" by Alton Brown and while I'm not sure if that's due to the name connection I am sure it takes a knife and fork to eat it so its not really a sandwich anyway. But eat it I did. I thought it was pretty damn good and loved the bites where I could get some bread, turkey, tomato and bacon up in there. I'd get it again if I ever stop in and I just may when I find myself back out this way. On the way back, also along I-65 we stopped in at another popular roadfood rec Zaharkos in Columbus, Indiana the town that gave racing fans the gift that is the great Tony Stewart y'alls. Ha I keed and am not a NASCAR fan but you know they take that serious in these parts.
Well Zaharkos takes Ice Cream parlors serious and that's why I had always wanted to stop in to the historic landmark in downtown Columbus which is about a five minute ride off the highway. Originally founded in 1900 the place is as well upkept as any old time ice cream parlor I've been too and just like Lynn's Paradise Cafe is, it's a nice stop while with kids.
As we enter
Zaharkos also doubles as a museum and has some very nice old school fountains and other soda shop memorabilia on display throughout the place and a candy/ gift store too. You can take a seat at the fountain or sit a table with waiter service. The picture up above is of only one room with there being another with an old school no longer in use full soda fountain display and tables for larger parties to sit at in between the old soda fountains they keep in display.
The place was very nice inside and def. brought me back into another era sitting at the soda fountain. I'm not a big ice cream guy and since we still had a little bit of a ride back I only went with a real soda fountain style made Green River. Service was a little spotty but it wasn't awful either, just a few miscues and some stuff that needed to be cleaned up. The signature food item of the house is the 'Gom Sandwich' which is Zaharkos version of a Sloppy Joe served on thick toasted white bread. II liked the idea of making a grilled cheese with Sloppy Joe meat but didn't think the $7 (w/ cheese) pricetag on a sloppy Joe with chips in Central Indiana was accurate but whatever, it was tasty. The pork tenderloin even though it was homemade was just ok. From my experiences thus far, Iowa handles Indiana pretty easily in that game. If you like old school Midwest towns with the long gone independent movie theaters (theres a cool one here) and ice cream parlors like Zaharkos stop in Columbus, Indiana if you get the chance. I can also agree about everyone else when it comes to Arnold's as being well worth it (more to come in the Nashville thread) and John's and Shapiros along with a handful of other places in Indianapolis
Gom Sandwich & Homemade Indiana Tenderloin
Lynn's Paradise Cafe
984 Barret Avenue
Louisville, KY 40204
Zaharkos Ice Cream Parlor & Museum
329 Washington St
Columbus, IN 47201