Question of the day

We lived in Indianapolis for five years before deciding to move back to New York state. When our 10-year-old was asked by a teacher why we were leaving, she said: “There are no diners here and the pizza isn’t good.”

Ah, it makes a dad proud.

While that certainly wasn’t THE reason, it was a factor. Indy is a great city that has started to come into its own. It’s also chock-full of chain restaurants.  Cities like Indy and Columbus, Ohio, often are used by marketers to test their products. A slice of middle America, right down the middle. Food can be pretty boring and pretty bland. Not a lot of unique kinds of places.

We were talking the other day, though, about a place about 40 miles north of Indy called Bonge’s Tavern. It’s in Perkinsville, and has been around since the 1930s. It suffered a major fire in 2000, but recovered.

We learned the hard way that our daughter wasn’t allowed in the dining room because you could view the bar from there, a weird regulation of the Midwest. But we went back several times, sans child, and thoroughly enjoyed the quirky restaurant/tavern.

Tomato soup is the speciality, and it’s tremendous. A huge Red Gold tomatoes sign adorns an outside wall, a homage to the Indiana-grown variety that are done right in Bonge’s. The ever-changing menu is written in chalk on a blackboard behind the bar, and it leans to New American.

It has been several years since we’ve been there, of course, so things change. But we were reminiscing the other day and I was thinking about Bonge’s. 

It’s these kinds of restaurants and experiences that linger in the cerebellum. I can’t remember any of the chains, but I remember this one.

I also remember how flat and boring a ride it was from Indy to Perkinsville. Now we remind ourselves all the time how beautiful CNY is.  We’re so glad we’re back.

Now if we can only reform state government and remove every legislator who “works” in Albany next election day, we might have a chance to make this region as vital and livable as it is beautiful. Big obstacles to that, I know. But we can’t continue to allow this dysfunctional state government that is a national laughing stock to continue.

Change has gotta come.


4 thoughts on “Question of the day

  1. I found your blog today thanks to Sean Kirst’s column. I’m a relocated Central New Yorker who has been living in Cincinnati for almost 29 years, and before that, for 13 years in Connecticut. At least we have hills here (unlike most of Indiana and the rest of Ohio) and some interesting local fare. Most of it, however is Cincinnati Chili, something I think you have to grow up with to appreciate.

    I remember a great diner somewhere near Hiawatha Boulevard that my dad used to take us to, and a fish fry somewhere south of there that featured great fried haddock. There were a myriad of family-run restaurants that we frequented on our trips north to the St. Lawrence in summer (one near the road to Sandy Pond had great fried chicken, if I remember correctly).

    I’ll be back in CNY later this week, and a diner visit (as well as a trip to Heid’s in Liverpool) is on the agenda. I’ll be looking for some steamed clams and salt potatoes, and I’ll be bringing back a case or two of Grandma Brown’s beans, too.

    • I never did get used to Cincy chili, to be honest. though i loved going up to the restaurants and bars on Mount Adams. i thought they were interesting, lively, and fun. we would go there before heading to a Reds game. we also ate at a longtime German restaurant, that was not too far from Xavier. i can’t remember the name, but it was great food, though the neighborhood was kind of dicey.

      it’s so interesting how important it is for former CNYers to make sure a visit to a favorite diner or restaurant is on the agenda during a return visit. it really speaks to “home” for a lot of people. enjoy your visit!

    • Heids is always fun,was my first stop when i moved back north,however I did find a small stand just east of Midler on james that sells a great hoffmans dog,cooked on a grill for only $1.25,once a week make the trip from Tipp Hill to have a couple of whacky rays dogs

  2. glad to know there are more people who believe that we have to get rid of everyone from the NY State senate. The problem is that so many senators will say, it’s not me, it’s the other guys that stink, and knuckleheads will vote for the same fools. sigh.

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