With a name like The Legend, expectations run high. Luckily for us, The Legend Classic Irvington Cafe; (5614 E. Washington
St., 536-2028) met them.
Our final Urban Spoon
query led us to the cozy, classy east-side eatery, nestled in the heart of one of Indianapolis’ first
suburbs. The lunch crowd was sparse on our first visit, but the place was bustling during a return trip—enough
so that the kitchen had run out of the popular macaroni and cheese.
The white tablecloths in the main dining room give the restaurant an upscale feel, but the friendly
servers and classic menu—think meatloaf and grilled cheese—conjure up an appealing family
atmosphere. The booths in the small bar area are even more welcoming.
We kept it simple on our first visit. The Ellenburger—Irvingtonians get the insider reference
to a nearby park—was a veritable bargain at $7, especially since it’s served
with two side items that cost $2 each on their own. The burger was flavorful and easy to hold, if not
as juicy as some might like. The side of mac and cheese was just creamy enough and topped with a satisfyingly
Three Cheese Grilled Cheese on
peasant bread ($6) perfectly married the crisp bread and gooey goodness. The $3 side salad also was a
solid choice, offering up fancier-than-iceberg greens that went well with the dill ranch dressing.
It wasn’t until days later that I realized how boring our choices were,
so I made another trek with adventure in mind. I ended up with a variation of the N.Y. Sloppy Joe ($9
whole, $5 half) because the lunch rush had 86ed one of the ingredients.
They call it sloppy for a reason. Served on pumpernickel bread, this cold sandwich comes with
mounds of sliced turkey, corned beef-or in my case, roast beef-Swiss cheese, coleslaw and Thousand Island
The salad dressing and mayo-laden
coleslaw keep the sandwich from becoming dry, and the hearty bread keeps it from falling apart. I needed
a fork to scoop up assorted droppings, but I ate every bite.
For dessert, I opted for a made-from-scratch Three Chip Cookie ($1), which featured white chocolate and butterscotch chips
in addition to the standard semi-sweet. It was tasty but cold, making me think how much better it would have been fresh from
the oven instead of the fridge.