On a cross-country tour along Route 80, we took a considerable detour in order to have lunch at Nick’s Kitchen in Huntington, Indiana, possibly the site of the original breaded pork tenderloin [BPT] sandwich. We are neophytes in this food genre. I had a long stint in Michigan which, for reasons unknown given its proximity to Indiana, is almost entirely a BPT-free zone. So the siren song of Nick’s Kitchen, and the pictures we found on the Roadfood review, made it irresistible. We wanted to post this review in case other hapless travelers, like us, finally managed to find Huntington and the original Nick’s Kitchen only to realize that it had closed at 2 p.m. The existing review of Nick’s Kitchen provides all the information you will need about the brilliance of the tenderloin and Indiana pies. Still, we had a great dinner at Nick’s Country Café and wanted to let people know there is another way to get that signature sandwich after the lunchtime rush. We tried Nick’s Country Café hoping to slake our BPT obsession, and were not disappointed.
Our extremely friendly waitress informed us that the two restaurants (and a third, as well), are owned by the same family, if managed by different people. Still, the photos here and on the original post show a delicious degree of consistency in the preparation of the tenderloin and desserts. The specials board included turkey meatloaf and Chicken Manhattan, and the menu included some seafood and burgers. We had tunnel vision, though, and ordered one BPT platter and one BPT sandwich. The tenderloins were thin and crispy, with a pleasantly mild pork flavor unmarred by greasiness. The traditional presentation, we think, is to place the tenderloin on a simple white bun with pickles and onions. We had only pickles at Nick’s Country Café, but it may simply have been that we didn’t know to ask for anything else. After the haze of BPT-euphoria passed from our eyes, we were able to see other tables tucking into promising cheeseburgers and slices of fruit pies.
For dessert, we ordered the sugar cream pie, a concoction we must have seen in the post about Nick’s Kitchen, but didn’t remember, and found it to be somewhat like a custard pie, only more brown sugary than eggy. It was delicious, sweet and cinnamon-speckled, with a flavor subtly reminiscent of burnt sugar and caramel. We also had the homemade apple dumpling a la mode, which had a wonderful crust and pleasantly soft, warm apples intermingled with the vanilla ice cream.
We imagine that Nick’s Kitchen is probably still the best way to get the full BPT experience in Huntington’s classic American downtown (not far, evidently, from a museum dedicated to Dan Quayle). But if you find yourself there after closing time, know that you only need to travel the short distance to the Country Café to revel in these delicious local specialties.