Seeing that I had only had one day off this year (back in mid-February when I took a day off to meet the Glee Club at Knockum Hill Bar-B-Q--and I was quickly coming down with a virus), I decided to finally venture out for a day to meet Carolina Bob in Batesville, Indiana for the purpose of exploring a couple of southeastern Indiana restaurants that he took Screaming Chicken (Brad) to a couple of weeks ago. I was only going to be gone a day from home, so I figured I could manage that.
On my arrival, Bob picked me up at the motel. I told him to take me to the same places he took Brad. So on Wednesday night (9-19) he took me to:
Ison's Family Pizza
117 E. George St.
Batesville IN 47006
We each had his favorite offering from this venue: pepperoni pizza. While I have this thing about not recommending restaurants unless they are worth a 100-mile out-of-your-way drive, this was not a bad pizza. The very thin crust had flavor all through it. It was a bit limp when you lifted it, but other than that I can't say anything against it. Bob says it's the best pizza that he's been able to discover since he's been a resident in southern Indiana.
Bob said that the restaurants we were going to visit the next day were the two best places that an individual could discover concerning the wonders of southeastern Indiana fried chicken. The first one he took me to was the best (and I'll come to that in a minute). But the second place he took me to was not too far behind in terms of flavor. Thursday evening (9-20) he took me to:
Wagner's Village Inn
22171 Main St.
Oldenburg IN 47036
This was, as I understand it, Brad's favorite place when he recently visited Bob. I had one-half of a very peppery fried chicken. Indeed, it was much more peppery than any chicken I had ever tasted before. I enjoyed it. It was not as flavorful as the fried chicken at the first (and best) restaurant of my short visit, but it is nonetheless worth seeking out if you want to do a culinary study of this dish primarily offered in the five-county corner of southeastern Indiana.
The best place he took me, though, was earlier that morning. And it was a dilly:
Old Brick Tavern
8969 E. County Rd. 1300 N
Penntown IN 47041
Even though the town is on the map, I don't believe I would have ever found it. Penntown is barely a town--and town is stretching the word considerably. But Bob came through with a stunning recommendation! The chicken they serve here is worth the 100-mile out-of-your-way drive. Every bit of it! This is one that you will have to check out for yourself.
Surprisingly, we were the restaurant's only lunchtime customers during our visit. I only had a leg and a breast, but now I wish I had had an entire chicken! The chicken is not as peppery as it is at Wagner's, but what it lacks in pepper is more than made up for in flavor that runs all through the chicken. The flavor was very well balanced in that not one ingredient overwhelms the others. It was a truly outstanding meal. And the fact that it is in the middle of nowhere should make roadfood antennas pop up; this was literally a wonderful diamond in the rough. I hope to come back.
Bob was a gracious, convivial host, and thanks to him I never would have known about this place. So before Bob leaves southeastern Indiana next spring to head back to Chicago to live, ask him to take you on a fried chicken tour. You won't be sorry.
<message edited by Louis on Sat, 09/22/12 7:33 PM>