WABASH, Indiana: Harry's Old Kettle Pub and Grille

An authentic neighborhood place is what looks to be a former drive-in (as in “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” not the movie venue).

Arriving just after 5:30 one afternoon, the place was already hopping with only a few empty seats at the bar and in the lounge area. Finding one, I slid in and grabbed the “June Drink Special” menu. My server, Jay, came by quickly and took my drink order: a glass of Pinot Noir – for $2! For the price, it was quite nice: smooth with a medium fullness. Not a thin variety, as Pinots so often are.

Perusing the menu, I had to try the “Judy.” Named after one of the establishment’s bartenders who hails from Boston, it’s a tribute to a Philly Cheese Steak. Shaved prime rib, green peppers, onions, and cheese on a large roll, it comes with Kettle chips for $11.99. A little extra salt was all it needed to make me happy.

"The Judy," an homage to a Philly Cheese Steak

I was at a small table so I didn’t get to interact with the other guests, most of whom seemed to know each other. Given its location off the main drag, it makes sense that it’s more of a local haunt than a destination popular with out-of-towners.

That said, everyone was pleasant enough and being the only non-local would not keep me from going back. And given the extensive menu of “hand-helds,” (burgers and other sandwiches), salads and bar bites, there’s a lot to be sampled. Haute cuisine it isn’t, but good food it definitely is. And reasonably priced; I was out of there for less than $15, plus tip. If you’re in Wabash, give it a try.

VERDICT: Not to be missed!

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Photo by Carl Dombek
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