Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mug N' Bun

Having heard for years from our Speedway friends that they have the greatest drive-in around, FLOE eventually succumbed to our need for grease and made the drive up to 10th street.  Just off 465 right before the industrial center of Indy, it's a genuine throw-back to another era.  We decided to stay true to the drive-in vibe and stayed in our car.  As the signed helpfully explained, you turn on your lights (day or night) to signal that you'd like service.

Deciding that we basically wanted to order the entire menu, picking only a "few" items was a challenge.  After much discussion, we decided we would share everything and graze our way through the menu.  The lil' reviewers came up front with mom and dad to share in the bounty.

As soon as we rolled the window down for our tray o' health, that wonderfully familiar fried drive-in smell wafted into the car.  This was going to be good!!! To start, we ordered one regular root beer and one diet, unwisely choosing the 24 oz size, missing out on what we later learned was a frosty mug for the 16oz or a collectors cup if you order the 32.  Dag nabbit!  Rookie mistake.  After several sips of each, we were happy to find that we actually preferred the diet.  It's much heavier on the root beer flavor and visibly darker than the regular.  Not that anyone enjoying Mug N' Bun is watching their figure, but at least we wouldn't have to add even more calories to the meal next time...

Fred's first pick, the catfish sandwich, was spectacular.  It had a great fry on it with no hint of fishiness.  Even Stella's eyes perked up with a quick taste.  Of course the Oz would have none of it -- Boy just doesn't know what good is...

Libby decided for two "main" dishes, a single burger with cheese and a regular dog with sauce & cheese.  The burger, while basic with only ketchup& mustard (lettuce or tomato are $.40 extra), was exactly what a greasy spoon should serve.  Nice 80/20 patty straight off a flat-top.  Perfectly cooked and juicy, it made Fred openly wonder how the fast food restaurants can stay in business serving patties from a factory.  There's just no comparison.

The dog was also simple.  Either boiled or steamed, it was nothing special but still solid.  Libby would have liked the sauce/chili to be a little sweeter, more like a coney.  But it was just right for Fred, who prefers a chili dog to a coney. 

For sides, we chose the Buffalo chips, seasoned fries, zucchini sticks, hot pepper cheese balls, and mac & cheese wedges (Ozzy's, of course).

The mac & cheese wedges were really the only miss for the entire meal.  Ozzy just didn't get it and ended up picking out the macaroni from inside them and then moving on to the rest of the deep-fried evil.  The rest of us agreed that they were edible, but certainly not up to the level of the other greased up grub.

The fries were solid as were the buffalo chips (battered &fried silver-dollar sized slices of potato).  The hot pepper cheese balls were interesting, especially with a quick dip in some ranch sauce.  They had a nice heat that only hit you at the end.  But seriously, how can deep fried cheese be bad, especially if there's some spice to it?

The real star of the sides had to be the zucchini.  The fry was much lighter than the other items and they still had a hint of crunch to the veggie itself.  Perfect in the horseradish sauce!  Unfortunately for mom & dad, Stella found these to be her absolute favorite, finishing off 3 of the 6 sticks.  Rats!!

After dinner we decided we couldn't do a review of a drive-in without sampling the shakes.  So on went the headlights!  One vanilla, one chocolate please! No idea the level of prep, we decided again, these are solid shakes.  Not over the top, but definitely the sweetness you crave after a savory trip down memory lane.  Next time, must do the float action and try the tenderloin!

Wrap Up

Price-$,-Definitely cheap eats.  Our smorgasbord came to a grand total of $35 with a good tip.
Atmosphere***-Just what you expect and remember from any drive-in...only thing missing was roller skates!
Service***- A fast, feisty waitress told Ozzy how it is..."Life lesson--Mug N' Bun=Fried"
Fred- A, Dammit, now I have to try each and other every one of the frieds on the menu.  Excellent zucchini!
Libby- A-, Good burger, good dog, excellent catfish, great root beer.  I like my fries a little toastier and I was jonesin' for a coney sauce rather than a chili.  The menu just says "sauce." Really enjoyed this and look forward to a future family date with carry-out Mug N' Bun at Tibbs Drive-in!
Ozzy- A, Other than his confusion with the fried mac, Ozzy was a happy camper.  While enjoying his vanilla shake, he exclaimed,"This is soooooo good!!!"
Estelle- A, Daddy is still kinda peeved that the girl scarfed down half of the zucchini. ;)  She happily sampled whatever we would let her try.

Mug-n-Bun Drive-in on Urbanspoon


wibia said...

Amazing....this is the worst drive in food that I have ever had. The only thing they make there is the Root Beer...everything else is bought in pre made. It is a fast food counter with car hop service and a slap in the face to a true drive in.

Fred, Libby, Ozzy and Estelle(Stella) said...

While I agree that I've seen those mac & cheese wedges elsewhere (and they weren't good either time), I'd be surprised if that catfish or zucchini was premade. Sure they don't make their own hotdogs, but for a drive-in, I wouldn't expect that. All-in-all, I stand by my recommendation. --Fred

Fred, Libby, Ozzy and Estelle(Stella) said...

You may have a point. If a large portion of our reviews were devoted to venues such as taco bell, hardees, or KFC, then maybe we would know our fast food better.

wibia said...

@Fred. I am just going by what I know is a fact and what they admitted to a national tv show that thought about featuring them. They said that is the only thing they make by hand. After eating there a few times, I believe it.

I don’t blame them for not making their own hot dogs, that doesn’t bother me for a shack of a drive in. I have never had the catfish, so I can’t comment on that. Maybe it is awesome, who knows. However, I just don’t understand the A rating as it is a heat and eat joint.

@Libby – So you are saying that you don’t know what fast food is just because you don’t review it? I think everyone is familiar with the format at this point.

Also, I can’t help but think that you are talking about my site. First, we are well over 150 local reviews, more than anyone else here in Indy. Look at our last 20 reviews, 2 are fast food?

@Both Look, we all have a difference in opinion and that is a good thing. There are plenty of places that I like that other people hate and that doesn’t bother me. My viewpoint is: What is the resto setting out to do and how well are they doing it?

Mug N Bun does nothing out of the ordinary and the burger there is pretty substandard. The way I see it, they are a C-. Then again, the last 8 of your reviews, someone in your family (btw cute kiddos) has given something an A so I am not sure what to make of an A rating.

I enjoy your blog, this is not coming from a bad place… I am just verbally scratching my head on this one.

Erin said...

Wow I can't fathom another local food blogger coming here to argue with a review and hint at disparagement of another blogger's effort. The nature of a review is that it's subjective and open to the interpretation of the reviewer. I don't know these parties personally and maybe there's some history of which I am unaware, but I didn't take the "we would know our fast food better" comment as snide at all...

And speaking of, 89% of reviewers like Mug N Bun on Urban Spoon and it earns 4 out of 5 stars in 28 reviews on Yelp. That's a darn good average. I'd argue preparation of food/ingredients is a often equally important to quality of ingredients. Apparently there are a lot of people who believe M'n'B does a good job of frying up that tenderloin, and that it tastes good, from wherever it comes.

Fred, Libby, Ozzy and Estelle(Stella) said...

WIBIA, I really have no beef with you or what you do on your blog. In fact, I quite enjoy it -- although I never will understand why you review chain fast food restaurants. But since you gave Carlson's drive in a recommendation for doing essentially exactly what Mug & Bun does, I'm a little confused. I mean you speak of them using cheese whiz as a positive, yet you complain that mug & bun doesn't make everything in-house?

Our A-F rating is on overall experience. There were a couple of misses that perhaps we should have elaborated more on, but overall I really enjoyed my trip to Mug & Bun.

Yes, I'd say we've been liberal with "A" & "A-" ratings (especially for the kids) but mainly because we set ourselves up for success. We only go to places we honestly expect to be above-average. What's the point going to crappy restaurants?!

wibia said...

@Erin….I couldn’t fathom that either…I didn’t come here to argue. I just meant to say that there must be something here that I didn’t get. Flo just said above that she didn’t understand fast food/chain reviews….what is the difference?

No history at all, I like this blog. As far as the Urbanspoon and Yelp….Urbanspoon has “The Journey” as #8 on fine dining so that argument is out the window. However I understand the point that you are trying to make - that they must be doing something right…and they are…just not their food.

@Fred or Libby
Perfect, because I have no beef (food blogging pun?) with you. I reviewed a lot of fast food because it made my blog grow like wild fire. $150 at Eddie Merlot’s yields about 400 hits. A $1.00 taco at Taco Bell usually gets 10,000 plus. To be honest, I like readers. However a few months later I got tired of doing that, I didn’t care about stats and now I do what I want.

Good call on Carlson’s and I am flattered that your drew that line. As my review mentioned, straight out of the bag...however, when I look at that chili cheese dog, they make their own chili, the onions are local (at least used to be when friends worked there 15 yrs ago) and they make possibly the best root beer that I have had.

Again, no beef or issues or whatever. I just meant to say, I didn’t get this one…sorry if the way I did it was a little aggressive

Mal said...

As always, good review, FLOE! I was a little surprised Wibia's hostility. I enjoy both of your blogs, but that was disappointing coming from him. People have different opinions; there is no need to be so abrasive. It's disturbing that he thinks his opinion is the "right" opinion, as if there is such a thing.

Anyway...this place sounds right up my alley; a frosty mug sounds so good right now.

Rebecca said...

They make yummy onion rings there, as well. The large gives you a ton, so be prepared to share if you go that route. :)

BigFin said...

FLOE and all - As a long time, experienced M-n-B patron, I, too, appreciate the crispy fry. Since Service is a priority at the Bun, don't hesitate to ask your server to make sure the fries (or rings, etc.) are well done. You won't be disappointed!

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