Restaurant Date
Bellacino's 2003-01-21 C- D B C C- C-
Penn Station 2003-02-25 A A B B A A-
Reggie's Bakery & Catering 2003-03-11 A+ A B+ A+ A- A
Mr. Gyro's 2003-03-25 B- A B+ C C+ B
Aramark Food Service 2003-03-26 C C C C C C
Union Jack Pub 2003-04-08 C D B A D C
Max & Erma's 2003-04-29 B C- B A A B+
Kelly's Pub Too 2003-05-13 A- A B B+ A A
Shapiro's Delicatessen 2003-05-27 A A A A A A
McGilvery's Pub and Eatery 2003-06-10 B+ B- A A B+ B+
Trafford Pub and Eatery 2003-06-24 C+ C C B B+ C+
Airport Deli 2003-07-22 A- B A A+ A
Einstein Bros. Bagels 2003-08-05 A B- C C B+ C
Perkins Family Restaurant 2003-08-19 B- C- B A+ C C+
Appleby's 2003-09-02 C+ C- A A+ A+ A
Mike's Speedway Lounge 2003-09-16 A A+ A A A+ A
Galahad's Cafe and Spirits 2003-09-30 C B C+ C B- C
Schlotzsky's Deli 2003-10-28 A A A B+ C+ B+
Arni's 2003-11-11 B+ C- A B+ A B+
Jersey Mike's Subs 2003-12-09 A A+ B A- A+ A
Gatsby's Bar and Grill 2003-12-23 B+ B A A A+ B+
Deli Jack's 2004-01-29 C- C+ C C C- C
Apple Tree Restaurant 2004-02-10 A A+ B- A A A
Galahad's Cafe and Spirits 2004-02-24 B A B B A+ A
Bench Warmers Sports Bar 2004-03-09 C D- C+ C D+ C-
Reggie's Bakery & Catering 2004-03-19 A A A A A A+
Champps Americana 2004-03-30 A C+ A A+ A A
Kahn's Delicatessen 2004-05-25 C+ C B+ A+ C+ C+
Ultimate Sports Bar & Grill 2004-06-08 A- A+ A C C+ A+
McAlister's Deli 2004-06-22 A+ B+ A- A+ A A
Green Street Pub & Eatery 2004-08-10 A+ A A A B+ A-
McAlister's Deli 2004-11-09 A A A A B+ A-
Big Apple Bagels 2004-12-07 B B+ A A A A
Kazablanka Grill & Bar 2005-01-04 C- A A B+ A+ B+
Houlihan's 2005-01-25 A B A A+ A- A
Sweet Home Chicago 2005-04-05 A A A C C A
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 2005-05-03 A+ A+ A+ A+ A+ A+
Arby's Restaurant 2005-05-17 C C C B- C- C
Loughmiller's Pub & Eatery 2005-09-26 A B- A A A A
Joe's Shelby Street Diner 2005-11-01 A+ A A+ A+ A+ A+
Alcatraz Brewing Company 2006-02-21 C+ D- A B A C
Culver's Restaurant 2006-03-14 A- A+ A B A B
The Rathskeller 2006-04-04 A A A A A A
Big Dave's Deli & Meats 2006-08-01 A A A A A A
Eagle Creek Coffee Company 2006-11-16 C A B A A B
Tie Dye Grill 2007-12-11
Propylaeum Tea Room 2008-01-29
Grindstone Charley's 2008-02-26
The Ram 2008-05-14
Broad Ripple Tavern 2009-07-21 A- A A B A A-
Marble's Cafe 2009-08-25 A- A+ A+ A+ A A
John's Famous Stew 2009-09-22 B B+ A A+ A+ B+

Bellacino's : The toasted bread was nice--but mozzarella?

Penn Station : Toasted bun--mmm. The sandwich was different, but enjoyable. I will return in the future. Nothing beats having a young girl bring your food to you. The water was carbonated. Bonus: free cookie!

Reggie's Bakery & Catering : The brine pickle accented the sandwich nicely. The grilled toasting really set off the corned beef. The sandwich was somewhat sloppy, yet "finger-licking good."

Mr. Gyro's : The service was somewhat random, and I got my order after people who ordered after me. The sandwich was warm with toasted bread. The swiss cheese was melted into the corned beef, making it difficult to add thousand island dressing, so I left it out. The sauerkraut had a distinctive beef bouillon aftertaste--not unpleasant, just unusual. The overall taste was good. I ordered the 'platter', which came with more fries than I can eat. I would like to try a gyro on the next visit.

Aramark Food Service : It was actually better than I had expected from institutional fare. I think I'll go for the calzone next time.

Union Jack Pub : It took entirely too much time to slap together a simple sandwich. The bread tasted too hard. When cut diagonal, the meat ended up on one half, and sauerkraut on the other half--the sandwich had no flavor. I understand that the pizza here is super--perhaps they should drop their Reuben from the menu.

Max & Erma's : Crispy kraut, lightly toasted rye: actually fairly good. The potato salad served on the side complements the thousand island flavor in the sandwich. It was enjoyable without being too heavy. Great lunch, if a bit pricey.

Kelly's Pub Too : Fairly good--I could distinctly taste each ingredient. The pub was a good place to "yuck it up" a bit. The sandwich needed just a little more kraut.

Shapiro's Delicatessen : The next best Reuben after Reggie's Bakery. I would come back any time for any entree.

McGilvery's Pub and Eatery : Very crispy fries; Swiss cheese was somewhat mild. The flavor of sauerkraut overpowered the overall sandwich taste.

Trafford Pub and Eatery : Clean, quiet, friendly atmosphere, with TV channel tuned to emergency vets. The sandwich was very saucy, but kind of shy on meat. The bread was lightly toasted--still soft. The taste was okay, just not exciting.

Airport Deli : Since I had personal commitments, I could not eat with the group. I chose to go early and take one to go. The Reuben was quickly prepared in 2 minutes. When consumed at my desk, I noticed it was lightly grilled such that the bread, while brown, was still soft. The kraut was placed between layers of beef. The amounts of ingredients were well balanced. The sandwich comes with potato chips, but I chose to also get a serving of mustard potato salad. Its taste goes quite well with that of the sandwich. I hope we return again soon.

Einstein Bros. Bagels : Although advertised as a Reuben, it's no Reuben. It has mustard on it and this tends to mask the dressing and kraut. It's an okay sandwich, but if you're looking for a traditional Reuben, go elsewhere (Reggie's for example). Great pickle, good coffee, unusual turkey sandwich.

Perkins Family Restaurant : The sandwich was neither hot or cold, and had ample ingredients. The sauce was served on the side. The cheese was melted and made putting the sauce on inconvenient. We were served in a private dining area due to the size of our group. The sauerkraut was crisp, yet somewhat tasteless. The service was a big improvement from a previous visit some time ago.

Appleby's : Great place to eat a Reuben! If you go for lunch, you'll end up in the lounge. Nice padded chairs encourage conversation and laughter. The Reuben itself is a bit pricy, but the service makes up for the price. The sandwich contained fresh sauerkraut that tended to be the dominant flavor. If it had a little more meat (few more slices), it would have gotten a better rating. Comes with either chips or fries. The fries are still crispy even after they go cool.

Mike's Speedway Lounge : Don't let the initial appearance of the establishment fool you; there are high quality Reubens to be found on the premises. When joining the Reuben group, I instantly thought of this place. Finally, Mike's was on the schedule. Admittedly, I hadn't been to Mike's in 8 years or so. I remember going there for the salmon patty a few times. From 16th street, Mike's looks like one of those places Mom told you to avoid. Mom, of course, probably never went here to get her Reuben, otherwise she would bring you along on the next trip. Upon entering, you'll find a bar that has been at this location since at least the 1940s. Rumored to have opened shortly after prohibition ended, Mike's is one of Speedway's many neighborhood watering holes. A quiet place (a least at lunch), somewhat dimly lit except for the sunlight filtering in through windows curtained with racing posters featuring ads for all the major breweries. Here and there are signs and pictures of racing personalities. Some of them are signed, presumably by the famous themselves. A large art deco bar (probably original) holds all the ingredients needed to mix any concoction requested. The aroma of an old bar and stew slowing cooking completes the transformation to another world. The service was quick and efficient. The sandwich appeared in no time at all. It was warm, toasted and slightly buttered. A genuine Reuben with all the proper ingredients in good proportion; just enough to taste each, none particularly overpowering. The sandwich came with chips and a pickle. A sandwich that was not too sloppy or dry, in fact quite enjoyable. You'll want another when you're done. Try instead a piece of key lime pie if available. Yummy!

Galahad's Cafe and Spirits : Nestled smack dab in Park 100, Galahad's probably attracts a lot of white collar types. Its warm, dim, interior is inviting and the chairs are comfortable. While it has smoking and non-smoking sections, the restaurant is open and occasional smoke drifted to our location. A large screen TV playing a soap opera is quietly ignored by most of the patrons. I watched for a moment to see the Erica (played by Susan Lucia) get married for the umpteen time. The opposite wall had a much smaller screen tuned to CNN. Fortunately for the patrons the sound is turned down as the commentator was excitedly blathering on about the crisis du jour. Several video game machines are seen in the corners of the room. I think they are there for atmosphere as the $1.00 a play probably guarantees that they will see no use at all. The service was fairly quick and the Reubens arrived in an average time ( 15-20 minutes ). I got mine with Galahad's version of onion rings. The onion rings were very finely cut and were very crunchy. Reminiscent of the kind you find in the every present green bean casserole at Thanksgiving. The sandwich can be best described as the Big Mac (tm) of Reubens. It tasted like anyone would like it. The ingredients arranged in proper amounts are all in there. The Reuben is made with Galahad's special sauce. The waitress said 'its not secret, but it is special'. It tastes curiously like thousand island however. I found myself searching to taste something special, but it was not there. Don't get me wrong, it's an edible sandwich, but it lacks a personality (if a foodstuff could have that quality). This sandwich can probably be found conspicuously hanging out with vanilla custard, vanilla pudding, vanilla ice cream, etc.....

Schlotzsky's Deli : Schlotzsky's doesn't have that much parking; we parked behind the Thai restaurant next door. We queued up in line inside the door. While waiting, I could see that this was a typical franchised establishment. There were standard issue tables designed to fit two comfortably, positioned along the wall of the corridor that led to dining areas in the back. It is somewhat dimly lit, but perhaps the grayness of the sky outside took away from the lighting. As I approached the counter to order, I looked at the neon sign on the wall beside the cash register. Some of it was burned out; it read "Schlotz". I ordered and chose the Reuben (of course) and water. We managed to push together a number of tables. There was a larger than normal group this time and we passed the short wait time meeting and greeting the ones we hadn't seen in a while. Schlotzsky's gives you a ticket with a number on it. When your number is called, you go to the kitchen counter and retrieve your order. The PA system could be a little bit louder as I missed my number being called. I noticed that one of our group (who ordered after me) was returning to their seat with a sandwich. I went to the kitchen counter and asked about my order. The kitchen said someone had already picked it. Tip: Listen carefully for your number. Eventually we all ended up with Reubens. As Reubens go, this was a good sandwich. There was cheese on the upper and lower sections. This probably prevented juices from the meat and sauerkraut from soaking into the bread. The meat was finely sliced and tasted mild and juicy. It was shy on sauerkraut, but then I like a little more than normal. A sufficient amount of sauce capped off a great eating experience. If I'm ever in the neighborhood again, I'm stopping in for another.

Arni's : As far as Reubens go this was probably the most unusual. It resembled a pizza more than a conventional sandwich. I ended up eating like a pizza since this turned out to be easier than trying to cut it with a knife. Predominant flavors included the cracker-like rye bread, cheese, and tomatoes. The flavor of the meat was so mild it was nearly non-existent and could only be discerned at the margins of the cheese. The potato salad that comes with the Reuben pizza is top notch. It left an almost effervescent after taste that left you wondering what was in it. I'd go back to eat something else as long as the potato salad was included.

Jersey Mike's Subs : From my vantage point at Jersey Mike's, I can survey the Marsh parking lot next door. All the major restaurant chains are lined up next to 38th street and the interstate ramps. Like spiders that set their webs in their prey's path, the restaurants hope to snare a stray hungry shopper or two. Jersey Mike's is a chain sub shop like Blimpie's or Subway. Located at the edge of the parking lot, Jersey Mike's snares the hungry that somehow escaped Friday's and Chili's. It was a quiet place to reflect on the morning activities and catch up with cubemates. The bright and cheery staff are more than happy to serve you; you can see it in their faces. The Reuben is number 20 on the menu. Number 20 is the Pastrami Corned Beef, but in really, really, small letters in the margin around number 20 is the word "Reuben". It come in two sizes, large and "the sleeper". I label it "the sleeper" because if you can finish 18 inches of sandwich, you'll be ready for a nap. I choose the more normal size, some chips and a small drink, and join my friends at the table. A TV tuned to CNN hangs from the ceiling in a corner. Jersey Mike's slices fresh corned beef, takes it to the kitchen were it is shredded and mixed with kraut. This mixture is heated and added along with cheese and dressing to a room temperature bread loaf. The loaf tends to absorb the juices like a sponge. While this keeps stuff from running out of the sandwich, an occasional shredded piece of kraut or meat will fall out. I unrolled it from its wrapper and it was so hot it was steaming. I waited a moment while the heat dissipated somewhat and took a bite. At last, a Reuben with an adequate amount of kraut! I practically gobbled the sandwich down and ate the kraut and meat bits that fell out. Only rye bread could have improved it. Definitely a good value for the price. If you can make it past Friday's and Chili's, go to the west end of the parking lot and get a decent Reuben. If your tastes are for something else, I understand they make other sandwiches too.

Gatsby's Bar and Grill : The office was slowly becoming a ghost town, most of the workplace and clients' offices were slowing down for the Christmas holiday season. I drove the crew this time to the restaurant on another rainy (now winter officially) day, the roads were filled with last minute shoppers and travelers hoping to get a jump on the rush that will appear on Christmas eve. We drove into a fairly busy and crowded parking lot. As luck would have it, someone was leaving an empty parking spot in front of the restaurant just as we pulled in. It's a typical sports bar with TV's positioned so everyone can watch some screen at any angle. Most of them are tuned to the same channel with the sound turned completely down; no CNN this time, only football news. A new jukebox played patron-selected hits close to the bar. Being born prior to 1985, I am at a loss to recognize any of the tunes. Smoke drifts on the air as a mostly office worker crowd relaxes for lunch. We sit in bar chairs and share stories of the day. A new Reuben eater relates the finer points of corporate dumpster diving, while enraptured we listen on. A waitress appears and after 4 people order Reubens, she is curious and asked if we are the people who 'travel the country' rating Reubens. Either the website or the other restaurants in the area are passing along legends of our exploits. The sandwiches begin to arrive in reasonable time. Most of the group orders onion rings; being the odd man, I ordered fries with mine. The meat on the sandwich is cut rather thick (.125 inch or roughly 3 mm for the metric types). The effect of the thickness gives the meat a somewhat rubbery texture; it's not bad it's just different. There is plenty of kraut placed between the meat and the bread, sauce is placed on the side. Other than the funny meat texture, it's a good sandwich. I had to place dressing on the sandwich by removing the bottom. I noticed the bread on the bottom was kinda soggy and the top was toasted hard. While not officially part of the competition, I thought I might note that the fries were cooked until crunchy (too much) instead of crispy. Everyone else agreed that the onion rings were great. We all leave satisfied and stuffed.

Deli Jack's : I was running a little late on this day. I had slipped into the restroom to wash up for lunch and discovered when I got out that my Reuben Buds had disappeared. Undaunted, I hurried to my car and gave chase. The day was typical of an Indiana winter. The cold was especially biting and the clouds mostly gray. It had snowed somewhat earlier in the week, and the brief warming of the previous day had only glazed the already slick surfaces to a polished sheen. When I reached the deli, my companions had already ordered and were waiting for their food. I stepped into line behind a familiar Reuben eater, Aimee. She had arrived just before me and was in line. Surprisingly, when asked her order, she chose a turkey laced Reuben! Being the purist that I am in these matters, I chose the Reuben made with pickled beef, full-strength. We waited for what seemed forever, passing the time talking with other similarly hopeful eaters. Due to lunchtime I'm sure, the place was packed with people searching for a respite from the cold. The man behind the counter called an order, and a happy smile came to the face that matched the name. At last, my name was called and I took my sandwich to a free chair with the group. The sandwich came with no dressing. Chris had to ask for it and we shared. Some chose no dressing, but I added to mine. I don't think it was the traditional Thousand Island though, it was more like mayonnaise with chopped pickles. Our group was so large, the deli had run out of sauerkraut. Some people had warm kraut, but mine was still a bit chilled and fresh from the can. I wasn't entirely impressed with the flavor either; it was sorta bland really. While I didn't try it, the beef stew smelled particularly inviting, so if you are in the neighborhood try it instead. The Reuben is not their strong point.

Apple Tree Restaurant : We set out to find Java Town / When arriving, we found it closed down / We traveled in haste / To Apple Tree, (another place) / The food, its fare doth abound. This was my first visit to the Apple Tree. I remember before shopping of any sort existed in Plainfield, you had to travel to Indianapolis to buy anything fashionable. I think that the Apple Tree was once a Waffle House restaurant. My wife and I would sometimes eat here many years ago when we shopped at a nearby store. The place was nearly full; the patrons were engaged in quiet conversation. No big screen color TVs or loud music blared from corners. A home-like dinner place, really. Wall to wall windows let in the blue sky (a hint of spring to come). The shades were drawn mindfully to keep the sun from blinding the diners along south wall. As you walk in there is a refrigerated glass case showing various cakes and pies. They also have eclairs if you just got to have one. We were seated and handed menus. Our waitress turned out to be a former fellow employee of our company. She took our orders (mostly Reubens, but a few heretics chose other food items). The wait time for food was surprisingly quick considering how busy they were. One thing you need to consider when you come to Apple Tree, how much can you eat? You had better loosen your belt a notch. The portions are big. I guess my only complaint about the food was that the fries are piled on top of the sandwich. I had to move them to the side to get at the sandwich; maybe a bigger plate would help the problem. My first bite was a big surprise. The kraut was hot; steam billowed forth when I peeled the bread back. I waited a few minutes to let the heat dissipate somewhat. There were loads of kraut, meat, and cheese. It was quite delicious. It was all I could do to finish the sandwich; I left most of the fries behind.

Galahad's Cafe and Spirits : It's another gray, cold, windy winter day. Crocuses begin to peek at the sun. Tulips, having better sense, decide to hold off a few more weeks before testing the above ground world. Robins, entirely bird brained, have shown up too early again and now sit here and there, all puffed up, and looking out of place and uncomfortable. There is a bright spot however, the Reubenators are returning to Galahad's. Boasting of new management and improved menu, they have thrown caution to the wind and asked that we return for a second opinion (see first opinion). We walked into the family dining area. The blinds were tastefully closed, blocking what wimpy sunshine could burn through the clouds. The management had reserved two tables for us. I began to feel our celebrity status, not on the same level as say--the governor, but somebody nonetheless! I recognized our waitress as the same as the last visit. She took our orders as the last time, not surprised at all at the homogeneity of the group's culinary habits. As a bonus, she invited us to partake of the snacks setup in the bar area. Both TVs are now turned to CNN, but thankfully, no sound emanates from either. I noted with surprise, that smoke was not drifting over from the bar area. There were not more than five patrons in the area, so maybe the lack of smoke was proportional to the lack of smokers. The snacks consisted of peanuts in the shell, cucumber slices and dip, and two other items I can't remember. The peanuts were great. I was instantly transported in time to a baseball game at Indianapolis' old Bush Stadium. We drank beer, ate peanuts, laughed, and didn't care a wit if the Indians won the game or not. Back to reality---the Reubens were different this time; they possessed a certain character. The Swiss cheese had holes. The corned beef was quite lean, and the sauerkraut was layered in between slices. The sauce was not special, just regular thousand island. The bread was toasted a bit too much, but not bad. When you bite into the sandwich, you have to fight it somewhat to bite through. You can taste each of the ingredients, as they stand out slightly from each other. It was delicious. I chose the potato chips this time and have to agree with my fellow eaters; the chips are good. Definitely not like the last time, and in fact, better. The only improvement I can suggest at this time is to use homemade bread and back off on the toasting process. The service was top notch, our waitress made sure we had all we needed and checked frequently to top off drinks. Try the "new management" Reuben, it's improved.

Bench Warmers Sports Bar : It was cold, but it was apparent that spring had clearly bested old man winter. I saw a red wing blackbird last week in a field near to where I work. Strange creatures, their calls remind me of someone strumming a stretched rubber band. Apparently aware of winter's recent defeat by spring, they sang of glory and joy. Hopefully, the ladies they wish to attract will be enamored by their talent. It was in this mindset I started out to enjoy yet another adventure in eating. The trip to the airport eatery was uneventful. Traffic flowed easily on 465 despite it being lunchtime. Turning left on to High School Road from the Airport Expressway was tricky, but our driver, Chris, deftly performed the maneuver. Bench Warmers is the hotel restaurant for the Holiday Inn at the airport. It was warm inside, but not stuffy or uncomfortable. The lighting was somewhat dim. We chose couple of tables near the middle of the room in front of a large screen TV. An infomercial touting the advantages of a motorcycle mechanics school droned nearly silent four feet away. Our waiter approached with menus in hand, took our drink orders and quietly disappeared. When our companions showed up, they did not get menus. We shared them so they could decide their order (I'll have the Reuben). Meanwhile, I consider a career change as a motorcycle mechanic. The Reuben arrived on a elevated plastic plate with a cone shape design so that the contents of the plate tend to fall to the outside rim. The sandwich comes with french fries and a pickle. The sandwich was small by comparison with others. The first bite told the tale for the rest of the meal. It was tough and I had to bite clean through to get a chewy mouthful. The cheese may or may not have been Swiss; it so mild I could not tell. Sauerkraut was either non-existent or sparingly used. Upon inspection, I found that no more than a tablespoon of kraut could have been used for the entire plate. The meat was chewy and bland. The trip wasn't a complete waste however; the fries were quite tasty! If you're stuck in the airport area, Bench Warmers is an okay place to pass the time. Skip the Reuben for something else on the menu.

Reggie's Bakery & Catering : Everything I had envisioned from the first time. Homemade thick sliced Dark rye with just a hint of sweetness leftover from the baking process. Meat so tender you will think it is pre-chewed (kinda gross if you think about it!). Don't forget to tour the town of New Augusta across the street. Town was built at a time when Indianapolis was miles south of there. Still has many of original structures. MMMM Reggies......

Champps Americana : Kinda pricey, but considering that Champps is in the center of Yuppiedom, maybe it's priced according to market forces! Sandwich is great! Staff bent over backwards to make lunch a super experience.

Kahn's Delicatessen : Kahn's sells wines and wine accessories. I think the deli is a sort of side business. You can get sushi too (if you're into that sort of thing). In a sense, Kahn's is a kind of snack heaven; except, there are no free samples. You order your Reuben in the back of the store and wait until your name is called. You pay at the counter and find a seat in the store or you can eat outside if you like. There are incredible selections of cheeses, snack meats, crackers, chocolate, and nine types of olives (I thought that there were just green and black types). If you're looking for quality finger food to snack on while you sample wine, you'll find it here. Therefore, you have a lot of stuff to look at while you're waiting for your Reuben. The Reuben itself is okay, I guess, but lacks zip (or enough sauerkraut). There is ample very thinly sliced beef piled on firm rye bread. The Swiss cheese is the finest I have tasted. The cheese is the dominant flavor and nearly hides the flavor of the almost nonexistent sauerkraut. They use Russian instead of the usual Thousand Island dressing. This aberration makes the Reuben somewhat sweet, and may bruise your sense of tradition. They also break with tradition by not grilling the sandwich. The pickle that comes with the order is the largest thus far delivered with any sandwich I've ordered. It was all of 1/2 a cucumber, fresh and crunchy. While I was not particularly impressed by the Reuben, I am curious what a 5-dollar pack of hot dogs tastes like.

Ultimate Sports Bar & Grill : We walked out of the office into the warm humid heat. The very air laden so heavy that it was like walking through a thick fog. In the haze, I spotted my car; normally I ride with others, but today I have some business to attend to after lunch. I took a couple of riders with me. Upon opening the car doors, the oven like heat escaped slowly into the noontime. We embarked to Avon, my puny air conditioner trying its best to take us there in comfort. Isn't summer great! We arrived in Avon in minutes (it's not far from our avocation). The Ultimate Sports Bar and Grill occupies a storefront built at the same time that a large discount grocer sparked the economic growth spurt in Avon. The grocer has long since went bust, but the rest of the strip mall struggles on. We climbed out of the car onto the parking lot and walked slowly into the bar. The first impression of the place was of darkness. As our eyes adjusted to the change in light, booths, pool tables, and a large bar in the back of the room appeared. Venetian blinds shielded the interior from the sunlight that managed to leak through the slats in places. The scents of tobacco smoke and stale beer wafted mildly in the air. Lights over the pool tables and the bar were the only artificial light sources in the room. Tire-shaped ceiling fans wobble as they turn and lightly wave the beer posters and flags that hang limply from the ceiling and walls. Except for our group, the bar was mostly empty. An enthusiastic waitress seated us and took our drink orders. After bringing our drinks, she informs us they have the finest meatball sandwich and its equal can not be found. Despite her charm and persuasion, we each choose the Reuben instead. One of our group, in a moment of weakness, chooses the meatball sandwich. The waitress insists we will all be sorry. She leaves to set the order in motion. We chat and wait, and wait, and wait. Still waiting, we wonder (as eagerness breeds a vivid imagination) what could be taking so long. The waitress appears at our table to inform us, the cook doesn't have enough rye bread to make all of the sandwiches. Would one of us accept alternate bread? In a fit of hunger, another of the group decides on the meatball sandwich. The food arrives several minutes later. At last! I ordered my sandwich with fries. They appeared to be hand cut. With a ketchup bottle close by, I settled into the work at hand. The bread was buttered and lightly toasted/grilled just right. The sandwich was cut diagonally with decorative toothpicks holding upper and lower slices together. The first bite revealed an excellent sandwich. The meat was sliced somewhat thicker than we normally encounter. It was grilled to just short of crispness and gave it a somewhat chewy texture. At last, enough sauerkraut to satisfy even my fussy tastes. In fact, the sauerkraut quite nearly masked the flavor of the cheese. I couldn't taste the Thousand Island dressing and remain convinced that it may have been left off mine. No matter however, it was still a good sandwich. The heretics of the group (those eating the meatball sandwich) seemed to be satisfied with the waitress's suggestion, though not in a gloating manner. Each finished; we filed in order of height to the checkout. The cost of the meal was incredibly low. The waitress was still expounding on the excellent meatball sandwiches as we left the bar to reenter the summer heat, patiently waiting all along for our arrival.

McAlister's Deli : It was a stunning beautiful day. The sky was partly obscured by occasional clouds that wisped across the blue. The temperature hung in the mid 70s and it was time to eat Reubens once again. We headed for McAlister's Deli in Carmel. We managed to get a parking spot right up front for a change. Some of our northside team had already arrived and had grabbed several tables outside. In honor of Chris's 50th Reuben Review, they had already ordered his sandwich. The rest of us went inside to queue up. It took me several minutes in line to size up McAlister's. Most of the patrons were well-dressed in casual manner. Women in the latest fashions with flashing jewelry chatted with each other in line. Freshly scrubbed teenagers on summer vacation manned the checkout counters, taking customer orders and passing them to the kitchen. I ordered the Reuben, accompanied by potato salad and some sweet iced tea. I walked back outside to join my fellow eaters. A slightly cool breeze drifted on the air. We joined in conversation about our usual topics. The sun shone bright on the hillside beside the cafe. Small finches flitted about on the perimeter of the eating area. Occasionally one would dart onto the patio to grab a small bite of food that the breeze placed there. The birds appeared to have no fear. Other than my mom's, McAlister's iced sweet tea has no equal. It was sweet without losing the flavor of the tea. My Reuben arrived shortly after relaxing with my thoughts on the morning. The bread was slightly toasted on the outside leaving the middle still soft. The first bite was quite pleasing. An adequate amount of sauerkraut accents the flavor of the meat moistened with just the right amount of Thousand Island, just a little sloppy. Each subsequent bite was just a good as the first. The potato salad is top shelf; it's a southern variety with a little mustard for bite. The sandwich disappeared a little too fast, or maybe my hunger was too great. Whatever the problem, the sandwich was gone. While I sipped the remnants of my iced tea, I looked around. Our group is usually an anomaly at the restaurants. We all eat the same thing and we're a larger group size (6-8). Here we stood out even more so. Most of the tables outside were populated by small groups of women. One table had only pregnant women laughing it up and having a good time. One table had a group of much older women quietly talking too low to hear the full subject. A few tables had couples, gazing at each other, lost in thoughts only known to new relationships. There was our group, two tables pushed together, with all the spare chairs we can find; debating on the finer points of corned beef and if the bread was truly rye. Despite our strangeness, no one seems to notice or mind.

Green Street Pub & Eatery : It was a remarkably pleasant day for early August. The temperature hovered in the mid-70s. The oppressive mugginess of summer, characteristic of the Midwest, was noticeably absent. Large puffy clouds drifted lazily across a spectacular azure background. A more optimal environment for Reuben eating could not be had. It's been at least a month since I had been off the road long enough to eat a Reuben with my fellow eaters. I waited for a train to pass a crossing in the road and let my mind wander in anticipation of a fresh Reuben. The Green Street Pub and Eatery is a rather curious name for a neat and clean family restaurant. The pub section will greet you as you enter the door. It's off to the right and bears a sort of sports theme. At lunchtime it is largely vacant. The "eatery" section is down a hall and off to the right again. Its decor has a nautical theme with a few big fish hanging on the wall. A couple of saltwater aquariums complete the theme. Brian's small son was all but consumed in dragging off adults to show them the aquariums. While he was showing Carl the finer points of saltwater wildlife, the waitress came and took our drink orders. While I was asking about the place, the waitress informed us that the owner himself had landed the behemoths hanging on the wall. Since marlins are endangered, he released the beast to fight another day. The replica hanging on the wall reminds us of the epic battle and is comprised of a manmade plastic. The Reuben arrived at length and was placed on the table in front of me. It's an average sized sandwich of flavorful meat and ample sauerkraut with just enough thousand island sauce to announce itself when bitten. The bread is mildly flavored rye and was toasted just enough to stiffen the outside leaving the interior soft. The cheese was too bland to work itself through the sauerkraut. It was a fairly good sandwich. I would have ordered another, but didn't have another hour for lunch. It took forever however to get our checks. The waitress must have been busy with other patrons as it was starting to peak with lunchtime traffic. I left enough to cover the check, a small tip and left to get back to the ho-hum world of software development.

McAlister's Deli : Every time a new restaurant opens in Avon, it seems the whole area turns out the try the place out. Fortunately for our group, we got there about 10 minutes before the rest of the town. I was surprised to meet my son's former fifth grade teacher and husband. She said they had been gone from the area for about 6 years or so. Eating lunch with them was a former manager I worked for in the early 1980s. He was accompanied by his wife. Who knew I'd run into them? Of course I did have my premonitions. Earlier this morning I saw that the Moon, Jupiter, and Venus were aligned top to bottom in the southeastern sky, so I knew something was up. I place no real faith in such coincidental occurrences, but maybe I should have rushed out for a lottery ticket anyway. The sandwich (which is the excuse for this rant) was excellent. I'd have to say it was one of the better ones we've had the pleasure of eating this year. Being somewhat cold today, I ordered some hot tea. The "doe-eyed" girl at the order counter looked me squarely in the eye and replied "Would you like ice with that?" Puzzled that maybe she had mistook my order; I repeated that I would like "Hot tea". She persisted and asked I would like a large or small glass. I replied "No, in a cup." She looked at me strangely and summoned her manager. Her manager looked at me and asked what I needed. I again asked for "hot tea". The manager told me that they did not serve hot tea, but would be glad to sell me their ice tea without the ice, you know, lukewarm. Realizing now that just because McAlister's if famous for it iced tea doesn't necessarily mean they are just as famous for hot tea, I chose "Hot coffee" instead. They happily complied with this "normal" request; I paid the tab and proceeded to my seat alongside my fellow diners. Man, what a sandwich! There was easily enough meat to feed a family of four. There were loads of chips. As with the Carmel location, the potato salad was top shelf! But, alas, the bread should have been toasted more.

Big Apple Bagels : I wasn't able to attend with my fellow Reubenites due to a doctor visit. Chris was good enough to get a Reuben to go. The Reuben as you all know is a grilled sandwich, so putting the same ingredients on a bagel and calling it a Reuben is a stretch. Still, it was a pretty good sandwich. A real pumpernickel bagel is used for authenticity. They layer cheese, kraut, and sauce between the thinly sliced meats. Neat trick! Everything stays in place instead of leaking out the hole in the middle. They also cut it dorsal to ventral to make it easier to eat. I've been to this place before, so I'm assuming the atmosphere and service was great. I have often seen mothers with children here at all times of the day, so it must be a good pit stop in the middle of running errands in the Avon area.

Kazablanka Grill & Bar : The Kazablanka restaurant building started life as a fast food burger chain. Its current reincarnation is a friendly place to meet after work or to bring the family. I've eaten here a few times and can state that the other things on the menu are better than the Reuben. The Reuben is comprised of the usual ingredients, with exception of the meat. If you've ever been in the military then you've seen this meat before. It's the stuff that is sliced paper thin and then pressed back together under pressure and then sliced into steaks. I had seen this method with regular beef, but using the same method for corned beef sort of took me back. Avoid the Reuben, but select something else. The Greek selection are pretty tasty.

Houlihan's : Wow, what a classy joint! The Reuben was top shelf. The sweet kraut was different, but very good. There were many different hot teas to choose from in a felt-lined briefcase. The price is high for a sandwich, but it pays for the service and decor.

Sweet Home Chicago : It seems lately, I'm too busy to go to out to lunch. As was the case today, I had scheduled a cleaning with dental hygienist. Chris, being the great guy he is, ordered a Reuben for me to bring back to the office. I'll just have to trust that the atmosphere is as they say. The sandwich was carefully wrapped and warm to the touch. It came with plenty of napkins (a good thing). Being ravenous, and only weakly able to resist the temptation, I quickly unwrapped the sandwich and totally destroyed the efforts of my fastidious hygienist. What a surprise, finally, a restaurant that realizes that sauerkraut is an ingredient and not a garnish. The kraut was thickly slathered underneath generous portions of melted Swiss cheese. The meat, rather than sliced, was chipped. This may have allowed the melted cheese to permeate the entire sandwich. The ingredients were wrapped with moist buttered marble rye. Not something your cardiologist would recommend for regular fare, but occasional guilty pleasures like this make life meaningful and re-enforce faith in the Almighty. I was left satisfied and yet savored the thought of just one more.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store : Ever been to Lebanon Tennessee? I haven't been there since I was a teenager, but I remember it not being much of anything other than just another sleepy southern town. Cracker Barrel must have been in its infancy those days; either as a mom and pop eatery or just someone's dream. Cracker Barrel is now a ubiquitous restaurant found at nearly every interstate exit in the tri-state area; waiting patiently for customers in search of something the golden arches will never possess. Good home cookin'. Ah, the memories of Sunday breakfasts prepared by my father that even to this day fill one with satisfaction and sleepiness if over indulged. My mother's fried chicken makes my mouth water every time I think about it. Good home cookin'. Cracker Barrel's claim is boastful and humble at once. While I don't remember if my mother made Reubens, her grilled cheese sandwiches sustained me during the summer days of my youth. I bet however if she made them they would be just like these. Lightly toasted, piled high with fresh ingredients, the sandwich contained ample amounts of the usual assortment of authorized substances (enough sauerkraut for my discerning taste). The sandwich was large and could barely be consumed at a single sitting. I had my meal with onion rings that need to be bragged on. They give you at least 1/2 of a large sweet Vidalia, breaded and deep-fried. They were delivered so hot that much blowing was needed to hungrily munch them down. After seriously stretching the limits of fullness, we paid our bills and ambled out the door to our cars. Upon my return to my gray cubicle, I began to plow on with the mundane details of designing software. Software design is not like making sausage, but you find you have lots of pieces left over when you're done. Soon however, the effects of good home cookin' swept over me the way summer rains slowly move across the sky. Gently at first then gradually increasing to a good soaking. I wished for a poach swing or a soft couch to knap out the digestive processing of good home cookin'. The rest of the day was spent in continuous restlessness as I fought the lethargy brought on by good home cookin'. How could you eat this much and get back out on the road and travel hours to your destination?

Arby's Restaurant : The day of mass-produced, homogenized Reubens has arrived. The Reuben so lovingly handcrafted at every other place we've gone is now being made to exacting specifications. Squeaky clean teenagers are now following instructions that enable them to whip up a Reuben in less time than it take for the order to be placed at most places. The bread appears to be pre-toasted and then packaged back in the loaf. When used to create the sandwich, the bread has acquired a curious texture. It's somewhat like cloth, but it's bread. The rest of the ingredients are no longer individual components, but one complete unit. I suppose, if you're really hungry, and new to the Reuben, you know experimenting with new alternatives to the burger world, this could be that first baby step into reality. I can't say I was really satisfied with the Arby's Reuben. Lord knows, many roast beef cheddars have passed through my hands here. Order one of those instead.

Loughmiller's Pub & Eatery : The skies were completely overcast, yet the noontime sun illuminated the clouds brightly. People traveling the sidewalks shadowed by the statehouse were from all stations of life. The sharp-dressed shared the sidewalk with tourists, street people, and me. The "eatery" was a short walk from my parking spot. By chance I was first to get there, though it was only minutes before the rest of the group arrived. We were seated in the rear of the place where they had pressed a group of tables together. The walls are painted a subdued hue of maroon that showed clearly in the light streaming in through the large unobstructed windows. Mementos of each political party and numerous past and present candidates were hung with care on the walls everywhere. Clearly the "eatery" was a neutral establishment that chose not to choose sides; after all, money is green regardless of the owner's political bend. I sat and wondered for a moment on the political deals, tax compromises, laws, and such that had transpired over a drink or two in these very walls. Our conversations drifted between seat belt laws, the 10th amendment (Bill of rights), school vouchers and Reubens. The sandwiches arrived in waves, depending on which of the half-dozen sides you ordered. I ordered mine with fries (what no onion rings?). The sandwich itself is moderately sized, not too large or small and cut diagonally for you. Being an experience Reuben eater, I flipped one side and picked up the other. It arrived almost too hot to eat. After blowing it enough to cool a little, I bit into a yummy delight. Sauce streamed down from a large pocket of the stuff. The meat was slightly salty to the taste and perfectly cooked. The bread was toasted, yet not crunchy on the outside. The cheese was almost so bland the rest of the ingredients overshadowed its presence. There were scant amounts of kraut placed in the sandwich, but on the whole it was pretty good. The second half had more kraut and less sauce, so consistency in construction was off a bit. The service was great considering how many people were in the group. The waitress filled glasses, brought extra napkins and was attentive to our every whim. The experience was kinda pricy given the meal, but then the new taxes to pay for the new Colts stadium were in effect. It's ironic that I get to pay new taxes in a place themed to politics.

Joe's Shelby Street Diner : The diner is a throwback to the older style small restaurants that popped up all over the landscape during the late '50s and early '60s. It reminded me of the first time I ate a hamburger. I was in second grade (I think) and my uncle Leroy took me to the 'HiHo' diner in Greenville SC. It was the kind of place where you sat on a stool at the counter and watched your food being cooked. Sometimes, I can still taste how good that first cheeseburger was. This place is sort of a memorial to all those diners. Although the 'HiHo' diner was fairly subdued, Joe's is a splashy colorful memory of what was fun and happy about the '50s. Coke advertising is garishly displayed in every view of the interior. I especially like the clear ceiling fans with blue neon lighting. A modernized jukebox plays CDs instead of 45s, otherwise it is historically accurate. Legends of the '50s are clearly central to the theme of the place. If you are a male customer, be sure to check out the James Dean memorial john; although females might get a kick out of it too. It looks like a fun place to go and pretend you are a teenager again. Of course you would have to be in your mid-sixties to appreciate the ambience of the joint. No matter however, younger patrons will be swept up in the moment too. So here we were sitting and talking and generally enjoying each other's company while we waited for Elvis' Rockin' Reuben. I had a clear view of the grill and could clearly see what was coming. The presentation was watching that sandwich being prepared. I could barely suppress my joy at what I was seeing. A veritable mountain of sauerkraut was being simmered, the sound of slice after slice of corned beef being thrown on the grill made a sizzle that I still hear in the silence. And then came the Reubens. Most of us ordered onion rings to go with the meal. They were okay, just not like the ones at Cracker Barrel, but good nonetheless. I wished there were more however. The Reuben was unbelievable (just as Elvis liked them I suppose) and finally enough kraut for even my picky desires. I had to eat some of it with a fork; the meat was sandwiched between two thick layers of kraut. The Swiss cheese appeared to be a soft spreadable variety. Its flavor (the cheese) was completely masked by the nearly overpowering flavor of kraut. The bread was darkly toasted, but not burned at all. They provide you with a tear open bag of 1000 island dressing, so you can put on just the right amount. I used up three napkins during the course of the meal. When we left I was completely full. The picture above doesn't give the Reuben justice. If you're driving that way, stop in and get one; just make sure you won't be operating heavy machinery later in the day. These things make you dozy.

Alcatraz Brewing Company : Alcatraz Brewing Company is located downtown at the Circle Centre Mall. As such, it is available to traffic from professionals, business people attending conferences, and tourists. In other words, people with money to burn. It is no mystery why they can charge an arm and a leg for a sandwich. The best thing about the experience was seeing Uncle Larry behind bars. If you are going to have to spend this much money for lunch, go around the corner to PF Chang's. At least the food is worth the price.

Culver's Restaurant : It was typical March weather during this day. The sky was incredibly blue, not a cloud to be seen. A strong cool breeze stormed in from the south; signaling that winter best be getting out of the way. It stood not a chance of staying here. I personally like Culver's and frequently lust after their Philly cheese steak sandwich, but today is reserved for Reubens only. The Culver's is sort of out of the way even if it is just off the interstate. The place was largely deserted; perhaps we were early for the lunch crowd. We chose a sunny corner location to while away the Reuben wait time. I noted that this location has a gazebo positioned for outside dining. With the March weather, it's definitely a summer treat. The sandwiches arrived and we began our enjoyment. Culver's clearly serves the finest fast food in the area. The sandwiches were toasted, hot, and generously stacked with all ingredients. It was a little messy, but napkins were provided in abundance. Be sure to stop in when you get a chance, you won't mistake this for Arby's.

The Rathskeller : According to my friend, Stefan, in Muenster, Rathskeller roughly translates to community "cellar meeting room". It certainly is a nice place to meet with friends to go over a sandwich. While this is one of the most pricey Reubens we've had honor to enjoy, I'd go back again and again. While, I've never been to Germany, I can pretend what it's like by coming here. That being said, let's review: we all ordered and began the wait. While enduring this time, we were given various ethnic breads to enjoy. Hot pretzels with horseradish mustard, dark rolls with butter. This is the place to order a tall beer and relax the day away, but unfortunately we all had to return to work. The Reuben is definitely an American invention, but the Rathskeller made you think it originated in the old country. It was big and hot and satisfying. The meat was tender, the kraut mild, assuredly swiss cheese, sweet sauce, and incredibly flavorful bread. We only need a small excuse to come back. Sehr gut und wundervoll! They also make a good wiener schnitzel, as you might expect.

Big Dave's Deli & Meats : Super value, great Reuben, neat atmosphere, Hot and steaming, just like a grilled sandwich ought to be!

Eagle Creek Coffee Company : The Eagle Creek Coffee Company is nestled in the village area of Zionsville. Unless you are walking, it's pretty easy to miss the place. No garish signs to alert you from the road. However once you're there, it's like your neighbor's kitchen in there. The light filters in a warm glow which illuminates the room from the wall of windows along the front wall. A few couches and chairs invite you to drink coffee and socialize with your friends while the kids play quietly nearby. The coffee company offers a number of fragrant coffees, but keeping with my usual habits I ordered hot tea instead. I ordered my Reuben with pretzels and proceeded to the dining area to help the others push tables together. Once seated, we renewed acquaintances and struck up conversations surrounding our favorite subject. The wait time for the Reubens wasn't really too long and they began to arrive. The sandwich was not grilled, as most Reubens are. It was constructed sort of the way one might create a cold cut sandwich. While the ingredients were pretty good, it really lacked character without the hot steaming grill. This singular fact became a major conversation at the table. The bread was good and tasted and appeared to be fresh baked. Despite the freshness of the ingredients, it was kind of lacking as a Reuben. The staff was obviously interested in why the group had all ordered Reubens and joked that we must be some sort of club. We didn't deny this, but didn't really carry on too much. One of the group appeared late at the restaurant about the time most of us had finished eating. He ordered his Reuben and sat down to wait. When his food arrived, it was apparent that the crew had heard the remarks about the lack of grilling. The latecomer's sandwich was grilled! It appeared to have been cooked on a "George Foreman" grille and not as one would expected from a regular grill. As soon as the group saw this, we, almost in turn remarked about it. The coffee company's Reuben is okay as a sandwich, but really doesn't meet the description for a grilled sandwich. The atmosphere, though, is real friendly. If you're walking though the "village" on a shopping trip, stop in and have a cup of coffee, but skip the Reuben.

Tie Dye Grill :

Propylaeum Tea Room :

Broad Ripple Tavern : Very attentive service. The sandwich was toasty warm when delivered. I could not taste the cheese. There was an airy atmosphere with open windows. The bathrooms were built for throughput.

Marble's Cafe : After ordering at the counter inside we gathered outside at tables set out for this purpose. The skies were mostly overcast on a relatively windless day. The sounds of traffic filtered in on our idle conversations while we waited patiently on our sandwiches to be delivered. I thumbed through a Nuvo (available inside); eyeing the ads/articles to pass the time. The food arrived two orders at a time. The Reuben came with fries which were kinda seasoned a little bit. The fries reminded me somewhat of the seasoned fries you get at Claddagh's. I finished the fries too quickly and silently yearned for more. The sandwich was a triple-decker construction which kept most of the juice from mixing with the meat. This resulted in a juicy yet non-messy meal. It had an ideal amount of kraut. Thousand Island dressing came already applied, but not an overly excessive amount. The cheese was notable, but not overwhelming. The cafe is very easy to get to and convenient to get out of in either direction. We'll stop by again the next time we go to Eagle Creek Park, just up the street.

John's Famous Stew : Walking into the place, the aroma of steaming stew permeates through your senses. While we were here to eat the Rueben sandwich, the stew is what you think of. The general atmosphere of the restaurant is typical of older bars; the walls are well worn, faded from history and homey. Our waitress was friendly and treated us like a doting aunt. She thought it unusual that we all order the Reuben instead of stew, but took the order without a second thought. I personally found it hard to not order stew instead, but duty calls. The sandwich arrived. Careful examination revealed that the cheese appeared to be a kind of Swiss American variety of processed cheese; the type commonly found individually wrapped in plastic in the grocery store. The bread was toasted somewhat, but not crunchy. The meat was very good, slightly seared and thinly sliced. Of course, a little more kraut would have been appreciated too. I was quite sparse for my taste. As sandwiches go it was okay, but the stew is all I thought of. Its scent was reminiscent of grandma's kitchen and made me wish for home. Don't go for the sandwich, go for the stew and let me know what that was like.