Big Mikes Cafe AmericanaNestled just south of 465, Big Mikes Caf Americana inhabits a spot once occupied by Linder Ice Cream. For those of you that don’t remember Linders, they were (and maybe still are, somewhere) the company that pretty much introduced the world to the talents of Jim Varney’s character Ernest. Ernest used to tell Verne all about Linders ice cream. But we’re here to talk beef, not ice cream.
Big Mikes was founded about 2 years ago. Mike is a son of Chicago and a lot of the cuisine is based around Chicago-style food. When I read the description online, I was a bit wary. I’m always a bit wary of an Italian beef that says it’s smothered, topped, blanketed, or otherwise molested with cheese. I never try to debate the issue when I order. I don’t like to let people know I’m secretly reviewing their beef. So, when I ordered, I was pleased when they asked if I wanted the red sauce version or the dipped version. The dipped version isn’t actually on the menu.
The sandwich came out with a nice side of fries. I am getting very good at spotting Supremo Italiano giardiniera. I try to remove a bit of beef from the start to get the flavor of it before I bite into the sandwich. The beef itself was juicy and had a very good spice to it. I was very pleased. The bread was a nice French bread with a thick outside and a spongy inside. I cannot say that it was super absorbent because the bread was not dipped to my personal satisfaction. They noticed me taking photos of my sandwich, so they asked what I was doing.I do like talking to the staff. I find out a lot about the story of the restaurant and get a feel for the love of what they do. Big Mikes staff really does enjoy the food. When I asked about the bread, I found a similar answer to other Indiana beef joints- Indiana folk don’t like their bread wet. I feel that Indiana Beef joints need a- dry, wet, and the Chicago wet category for their menus. Overall I would rate it 3 stars out of 5. I would like to see more broth so I can better taste it and a more signature line of giardiniera.
~Anthony Macabre Lillig