FOOD REVIEW: Tony's Grillby Amy Wenger on June 18, 2014
Having grown up in Bremen during the 1970s & '80s, I don't particularly recall that there was a vast number of culinary establishments around, but the ones that were here went on to become iconic, still mentioned in occasional conversations as beloved memories for longtime local residents.
There was the A & W root beer diner, one of the very first places my family visited. The Corner Restaurant...the Mint Still...the Dairy Queen when it was still a walk-up, and quite a few others...the names carry on over the years. And if these early days of business are any sort of indicators for Tony's Grill, it will also be destined for greatness in the legendary list of celebrated Bremen restaurants.
Tony's Grill, one of several across Indiana, chose Bremen as the site of its newest location, which opened on Monday, June 16. Quite fittingly, they are uniquely situated in a historic spot that once housed the infamous Kopper Kettle. The restaurant specializes in traditional American favorites, including such fare as pasta, steak, chicken, seafood, and an extensive array of lunch specials. Breakfast selections, of which there are many, are available throughout the day.
I was fortunate to be a dinner guest on Tuesday, June 17 with The People's Paper co-founders Tammy Venable and Les Turner, along with Les's wife, Judy, and their son, Josh. The five of us were given superb service by a friendly and attentive wait staff, who always had a smile for each of us, and answered our questions with a professional manner and ease, as if they'd been there far longer than merely two days.
We started our dining adventure with a platter of appetizers, which included cheese quesadillas, mozzarella sticks, fried mushrooms, and the biggest onion rings I'd ever seen. We were also given a basket of rolls with a divinely sweet honey butter. Everything that we sampled was delicious, and the only reason we remained selective in what we ate was so that we could save room for the main course. That was a wise decision, because I will share with future guests two words of advice. Arrive hungry!
The serving sizes are absolutely enormous, and an exceptional deal for the amount of food that is provided. The five of us tried to exercise variety in our decision making - I went with the shrimp basket, Tammy chose spaghetti, and Josh was up for the Philly cheese steak sandwich. Les, meanwhile, went with an omelette, and Judy opted for a fajita quesadilla. All of us were given side dishes meant to complement the order, such as garlic bread for Tammy, and fries for Josh and me.
I was delighted with the shrimp basket, but admittedly, I was quite taken aback by the large amount of shrimp offered, so I felt a bit overwhelmed and couldn't come close to finishing it all. I'm a little finicky about breading on seafood, but this struck a good balance with me - not too overly crunchy, but not mushy, and a light touch on the seasoning.
Tammy noted, "I'm a picky eater, and I was able to find many things on the menu that I liked. Once I decided on the spaghetti (my favorite food), I was surprised to find the proportions were so large that I ate it for lunch the next day, too. Well worth the money! I can't wait to try the other foods that fit my picky diet. I haven't been this excited about a new restaurant in a very long time!"
Josh had this to say about his meal - "The food was very good, well put together, and the proportions were very generous. Everything about the food was good - appearance, flavor, temperature, and size. I think it will be nice for Bremen to have a restaurant of this type."
All five of us had to toss up the white flag and ask for "to go" boxes, and when asked about dessert, collective groans could be heard around the table. Our minds were willing, for certain, but our stomachs were weak!
The general consensus from each of us was that we would most definitely return again, and we would be bringing friends and family along for the experience. Assuming that others around Bremen come away with the same sentiment, it would be safe to say that Tony's Grill will have a long and successful run in the Mint City.