All Good Things Must Come To An End
By Bob Burchfield, Editor
All good things must come to an end. Or so they say.
I was disheartened last year when the El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant on State Road 9 in Greenfield burned to the ground. It was my absolute favorite place to take the family for a delicious meal at a reasonable price.
So imagine my dismay this week when I discovered that my other favorite restaurant, the Frosty Mug, across the street from Riley Park in Greenfield, has been foreclosed upon by PNC Bank and will be sold at a sheriff’s auction on January 7, 2014. Built in 1955 and for years known as the A&W Root Beer stand in Greenfield, it’s been a tradition for countless Hancock County residents for more than 50 years.
You can call me a sentimental old fool if you like, but there was something special about going to the Frosty Mug. It was a throwback to another era, place and time, a vestige of the past, the last of a dying breed, a nostalgic retreat to days gone by. It was a place to sit and relax, exchange a little banter with the car hops, listen to some oldies over the loudspeakers, and enjoy the best breaded tenderloin in Indiana.
Let me say that again: the best breaded tenderloin in Indiana. Honest.
Patsy’s Jumbo Tenderloin covered an entire dinner plate (see photo above). It was meaty and cooked to perfection, not your frozen fritter out of a box. And served piping hot. What a concept! I could name a lot of central Indiana restaurants that claim to have a great tenderloin. Only a couple came close: the Tie Dye Grill, Bourbon Street Distillery, and the Gas Light Inn (all in Indianapolis) come to mind. There was simply something about this breaded tenderloin that set it apart from every other one I ever tried anywhere in Indiana. My biggest regret is that I never got the Tenderloin Connoisseur Rick Garrett, who publishes the All Tenderloins, All The Time blog, to come out to the Frosty Mug and give this tenderloin a try. I’d love to have had his opinion on this version of the Hoosier delicacy. The only way to get one better was to make your own at home, in my opinion.
Oh, the burgers were nothing special. They were OK, but nothing to write home about. If the burgers and other menu items had been as good as the tenderloins, I don’t think we’d be having this conversation. But in an era of fast food and instant gratification, I just don’t think the average person was willing to sit and wait 10-15 minutes for ordinary food. The Frosty Mug was a victim of competition, technology, progress, changing times–all the cliches that spell doom for a small, family-owned business. They didn’t even have a Web site or social media presence. And I’m sure that it didn’t help to be open only from late spring to early fall.
Still, I’m going to miss sitting in one of their three booths (that’s all: three) and playing spin-the-quarter with my grandkids. I’m going to miss waving at friends driving by on Apple Street. I’m going to miss those amazing Flurries. I’m going to miss the Frosty Mug: yes, I was the mayor on Foursquare for more than a year. And I’m going to miss the simplicity, peace and solitude of this small neighborhood restaurant that served Greenfield well for parts of seven decades.
The public auction is scheduled for Tuesday, January 7, 2014, at 10:00 am, and includes the adjacent 1479 square foot residence and all the restaurant equipment. The location is 117 North Apple Street in Greenfield, Indiana. I’m hopeful that a philanthropist will snap it up, hire a management team to spruce up the place, overhaul the menu, and make it a successful and ongoing business. If such a miracle should come to pass, I have but one request: don’t change the tenderloin.