HANCOCK COUNTY — Long understood to be the Hoosier state’s sandwich of choice, the tasty tenderloin can be found on the menu of many local eateries.
In Hancock County, the mouthwatering recipes vary. Hand-pounded, buttermilk-dipped, deep-fried; it’s all on the menu.
Served with chips, fries, onion rings or even pickled jalapeños, the tenderloin has long been a staple of the Hoosier appetite.
The Daily Reporter recently made its way around Hancock County — using suggestions straight from reader’s comments on social media — and found many restaurateurs are sticking with tradition and listening to some old advice: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Story continues below gallery
“The tenderloin is the state sandwich,” Mike Tambasco said. “It doesn’t seem right to not have one. When you think of Indiana, you think of a tenderloin.”
Tambasco, chef at The Mug in Greenfield, said the tenderloin made its way to the menu because of tradition, but he’s not the only person in town with that opinion.
Rob Barnhart, manager at Strike Force Lanes in Greenfield, said the tenderloin served at the bowling alley is one of the most popular items on the menu.
“It’s Indiana, that’s why,” Rob Barnhart said. “If you’re going to be a bowling alley in Greenfield, you better have a tenderloin.”
That sentiment was one we heard often when talking to cooks, waitresses and owners of restaurants across the county.
Russell Johnson, a line cook at Riley House Restaurant, has been working for 14 years in the same kitchen on Main Street. He makes around 15 tenderloins a day for hungry customers.
“I don’t know if it’s the way we make them, but people sure like it,” Johnson said. “The Riley House was built on this tenderloin. It’s tradition.”
Waitress Barbara Schuyler said that tenderloins are served more than any other item on the menu.
“It’s definitely one of our staples,” Schuyler said. “Everyone loves a good tenderloin.”
Adam Fuchs, manager at Broadway Diner in Fortville, said that his deep-fried pork sandwich is a customer favorite.
“I bet it’s the most popular item on the menu,” Fuchs said. “It’s one of our top sellers. People can’t get enough. Tenderloins are an Indiana thing. We were never going to have a menu without one.”
A tenderloin has long been on the menu at the B&C Hideout in New Palestine as well. Owner Nate Miller said he couldn’t begin to conceive of not serving the state sandwich.
“When we first opened, we wanted to put things on the menu that people loved,” Miller said. “The tenderloin has been our best seller since day one. It’s an Indiana thing. There has always been a tenderloin on the menu, and there always will be.”
The Mug: 117 Apple Street, Greenfield
What makes it special: Made from farm-fresh meat raised in Hancock County, the Mug’s tenderloin can also be made “Mug style” with shredded cabbage, jalapenos and red onion.
The Riley House: 1020 W. Main St., Greenfield
What makes it special: These hand-breaded tenderloins are often the size of a dinner plate. For $1 more, the sandwich comes with two sides.
Strike Force Lanes: 1539 W. Main St., Greenfield
What makes it special: This classic, deep-fried tenderloin rings up at a low price and comes with friendly, fast service. Quick carry-outs are also available.
The Broadway Diner: 426 East Broadway St., Fortville
What makes it special: The most popular item on the menu, this tenderloin has been served the same way, using the same recipe, the restaurant opened 11 years ago.
B&C Hideout: 7242 U.S. 52, New Palestine
What makes it special: Beer-battered and made to order, this tenderloin is served with any side on the menu.
Didn’t see your favorite sandwich featured here? Don’t worry. The Daily Reporter staff might revisit the tenderloin tour down the road. Submit your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.