DINING: At this Fishers find, bacon dominates the menu

April 20, 2009

Bacon—it's not just for breakfast anymore. At the Old Town Ale House in Fishers, in fact, it's practically the main course. What's not to love about that?

The suburban sibling to Broad Ripple's Corner Wine Bar, Old Town (8657 E. 116th St., 841-0800) opened last fall on Fishers' main drag, taking over space that has been home to a bevy of eateries—Papa's Restaurant, The Station and Blue Fin Grille, to name just a few. Not eager to get hooked on someplace that might not be around long, we waited to try the self-annointed gastropub. Our loss.

The late Saturday lunch crowd was sparse, but we've seen enough cars in the parking lot in the past few months to know the restaurant's survival doesn't depend on us.

The entrees were intriguing (Garlickly Mussels in Wit Beer for $16, Sausage Casserole for $11), and we took advantage of the server's almost undivided attention to get some insight on the limited-yet-eclectic menu. She must own a pig farm somewhere. First up was the nearly irresistable Carmelized Bacon appetizer. Seriously. Why try chicken wings when you can have a half-pound of bacon soaked in bourbon, coated with brown sugar and baked crispy? The $9 price seemed a little steep—until we realized we'd be eating it for days. (And we did.)

Our server steered us to the lunch specials, which we were pleased to discover Old Town offers every day, not just weekdays. Five bucks gets you a sandwich, chips and soft drink. For an extra $2, you can add fries, soup or a wedge salad.

The menu is short on description, so imagine our surprise when the Meatloaf Sandwich our server recommended came loaded with—wait for it—bacon. The meatloaf itself was juicy and flavorful, and the bacon added just enough punch that my husband gave it the ultimate compliment: no ketchup needed. Don't tell my mom. Hubby added on the beer cheese soup, which was rich and delicious, if suspiciously bacony.

I just wasn't paying attention when I ordered my sandwich, the Chicken-Bacon-Blue. It married my favorite pork product with slices of tender chicken breast meat and topped it all with a dollop of blue cheese dressing. Yum. I also tried the wedge salad, a simple presentation of iceburg lettuce and shredded carrots that got lots of help from the house-made dill ranch dressing.

Stuffed, we nonetheless couldn't resist the homemade desserts: Doughnut Bread Pudding ($5) and Peanut Brittle Chocolate Cake ($5). A good choice? Let me put it this way: The only way to improve the tasty sweets would be to wrap them in bacon.


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