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John's Famous Stew

1146 Kentucky Avenue, Indianapolis, IN - (317) 636-6212
Posted By Michael Stern on 10/19/2012 2:40:00 PM
It was my lucky day in Indianapolis. I arrived at John's Famous Stew mid-afternoon, when Pauline, who has been a waitress in this dark, adults-only tavern for a few score years, had some time to chat. She clued me in to the difference between stew and goulash (the latter has more vegetables) and warned in no uncertain terms that I did NOT want the hottest of the three degrees of stew available.

When Pauline told me her name, she noted that it almost rhymed with Paula Dean, the TV chef. "I can outcook her any day," Pauline declared, noting that she is from the Smoky Mountains, where people really know how to cook. She is especially peeved with the TV show because she believes that Paula makes her recipes look too easy when, in fact, she has assistants to do the grunt work that any home cook would have to do.

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Scorecard

3 - Overall: Excellent - Worth a Detour
Overall: Excellent - Worth a Detour
Hot Stew
Medium Stew
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

John's famous stew here is augmented with a few extra vegetables and butter beans.
"John's famous stew here is augmented with a few extra vegetables and butter beans."
Michael Stern





The portion size is on the small side, but the peach cobbler is a satisfying way to end your meal.
"The portion size is on the small side, but the peach cobbler is a satisfying way to end your meal."
Cliff Strutz


From my perch on a barstool I saw Pauline (obscured on left) coach Phoebe about making the stew just-hot-enough.
"From my perch on a barstool I saw Pauline (obscured on left) coach Phoebe about making the stew just-hot-enough."
Michael Stern


A part of John's for decades, waitress and cook Pauline is a great conversationalist, especially when it comes to matters culinary.
"A part of John's for decades, waitress and cook Pauline is a great conversationalist, especially when it comes to matters culinary."
Michael Stern


While dining at the bar, you can watch TV. But conversing with Pauline was much better than the boob tube.
"While dining at the bar, you can watch TV. But conversing with Pauline was much better than the boob tube."
Michael Stern


We noticed a few places in Indy that serve stew.  John's is one of the oldest.
"We noticed a few places in Indy that serve stew. John's is one of the oldest."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


A sign at each door warns that customers must be 21 to enter. John's is as much a place to drink as to dine.
"A sign at each door warns that customers must be 21 to enter. John's is as much a place to drink as to dine."
Michael Stern



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