We visited Mike Linnig’s in the winter, which is a shame because a seat outside under shade trees at a picnic table by the Ohio River is a near-perfect place to enjoy massive amounts of fried seafood and beer. Actually, inside dining is pretty swell, too. It’s a huge place with cavernous dining space in back, but we relished sitting in the smaller front room opposite the bar where you step up to place your order (table service is available in back). Here the wood-paneled walls are crowded with trophies of animals from land, sea, and air, as well as nostalgic photos, clippings and nick-nacks going back to the 1920s, when this place opened as a fruit and vegetable stand on Mike Linnig’s farm.
The menu includes just about every kind of seafood that can be fried, including sea scallops, crawfish, and salmon, but its highlights are such Indiana fish camp specialties as catfish, white fish, and frog legs. You can have a taste of nearly everything if you order from the “Seafood Lovers” area of the menu, which is huge plates that include some of everything. We were especially fond of the spicy fish nuggets and the freshly-breaded shrimp. The fish, the frog legs, the scallops, and the oysters had a seriously nice crunch to their crust, but weren’t otherwise memorable.
Portions are immense. Each seafood lover platter is enough for two. As we walked towards the front door, we happened to chat with a large couple who were leaving with a plate of leftovers. When we inquired about all the food they were taking home, they explained that the two of them had both had gastric bypass surgery and therefore no longer had the vast appetite necessary to consume an entire Mike Linning meal in one sitting.
Onion rings are a specialty. They are big chunky things, extremely brittle and mostly crust with just a hint of onion flavor emanating from the slick ribbon within. Tartar sauce and cocktail sauce, while served in the sort of individual cups typical of institutional meals, are Mike Linnig’s own recipe, and both are outstanding.
Oh, and by the way, among the beverage choices are iced tea (sweet or not), lemonade (which tasted a lot like the tea), and genuine Kool-Aid, listed on the menu as fruit punch.