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DINING: Binkley's Kitchen & Bar reclaims former drug store site

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Dining - A&E

Binkley's Drug Store occupied the corner of Kessler and College from 1928 to the early 1970s. Its namesake now occupying the same spot, Binkley's Kitchen & Bar (5902 N. College Ave., 722-8888), seems equally built to last—a friendly neighborhood joint that glances back without wallowing in nostalgia and stays progressive without being trendy.

Twice before I'd been there for lunch meetings, both times feeling comfortable and never rushed. The open dining room isn't overstuffed with seating, the bar not overpowered by TV screens (they are there, just not conversation-squelchingly so) and the deck along College a viable outdoor option.

We stayed inside this time around, starting our meal with Binkley's Mini ($6.95), the name given to the plate of similar slid ers that have slid onto many an appetizer menu. Decked out with cheese, sauteed onions and a mild chipotle sauce, Binkley's version was unremarkable and didn't leave me craving a fuller burger. A simple House Caesar ($3.99 or a $1.99 upgrade from a sandwich side) fared better, although I wouldn't necessarily recommend ordering it to replace either the fries or house-made kettle chips that are piled on most plates.

The dinner menu features an extensive lineup of hand-tossed thin-crust pizzas, seafood entrees and steaks, but we had only lunch appetites. Fortunately, there's a wide range of sandwich and salad offerings on the dinner menu.

There was no shortage of veggies—julienned carrots, big chunks of cucumbers, red and green onion, juicy tomatoes, and more—in the Thai Chicken Salad ($9.99). And it was topped with an ample portion of Thai pepper-sauced chicken strips. It just took a bit of slicing and dicing at the table to make the whole thing fork-able.

The Fish Sandwich ($8.99), described as "grouper-like whitefish," is offered grilled, breaded or blackened. Sometimes the healthiest choice is the least interesting, as we found with the good-enough grilled. A plus was the house-made tarter sauce—and the fact that the sandwich was already cut in half, making it, unlike many fish sandwiches, actually almost edible on a bun.

More satisfying was the the Crab Cake Sandwich ($7.99), the first bite leading us to push aside the lettuce, tomato and onion to better savor the raison d'etre. Next time, perhaps we'll forgo the sandwich and order the two-cake appetizer version ($11.99) for starters then move on to, well, there are still lots of possibilities I'm looking forward to trying.

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Second in our month-long series of reviews of "possessive" restaurants.

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

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