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Ryan’s Steakhouse review May 13, 2011

Posted by Kenny Norman in south.
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OK so tonight I was on US-31 down on the South side. I was on the way back from Greenwood Park Mall when I stopped in for dinner at Ryan’s Steakhouse.

The one on the north side of town at 65th & Keystone closed years ago in 1999, so it’s been a while. The last two in Indy are on US-31 and Stop 12 road and 10th & Shadeland. (Why do all the businesses that fail on the other sides of town survive on the South side?). I went and had dinner with my dad there since I had a $7 coupon. Ryan’s Steakhouse is owned by the same company as Old Country Buffet. So I’ll be making a bit of a comparison here.

The food at Ryan’s isn’t quite as flavorful as Old Country Buffet, but there is a lot of selection and the buffet is much more comprehensive. There’s also a cook who can grill steak right in front of you like at Golden Corral. And Ryan’s also serves grilled ham…how many restaurants can you find that at? The employees are also very attentive and keep the place clean- it’s easy to tell by the lack of spills and food on the floor, as well as the slickness of the tables.

Also, the employees are very nice and considerate. They won’t take your plate unless you clear it with them first, and they’ll hand you a dessert if you go up to get one but they already deconstructed the place. I’d recommend the US-31 location over the Shadeland location, because the Shadeland location has a parking space up front “reserved for officer,” and that’s a sign of trouble…


Lafayette Square vs. Washington Square May 6, 2011

Posted by Kenny Norman in east, west.
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Alright so it’s finals week (Week of May 2nd)…and to unwind, I’m hitting Circle Centre, Lafayette Square, Greenwood Park Mall, and Washington Square…in that order. (Castleton Square if I have time, but it’s on my side of town, so no biggie if I miss it.)

Anyway, so I went shopping in Lafayette Square for a cheap polo to wear to my internship in a few weeks. This is the first time I’ve gone shopping there at a store that wasn’t going out of business. Needless to say, it was quite annoying. I walked into Burlington Coat Factory and the gate to the door was half-closed, and it was 2 in the afternoon! At least I found a Spider-Man T-shirt for $10. No polos though. I then went into Max 10, located on the site of the former Old Navy. I honestly went in there mainly to see how extensively you can gut an Old Navy. The same wall racks, dressing rooms, and cash registers were used, but that’s about it.

But Shelby was right- Max 10 isn’t my store. I walk in and immediately the cashiers are offering to check in my bag from Burlington. And I wanted to use the dressing rooms, which require a key that only the cashier has. So I had to go up and get the cashier to let me in. I found out that half of the dressing rooms were walled off, and the restrooms have become “employees only.” Oh, and they smelled like wet dog, too. I found only one polo for $10, so I went up to pay. If you’re paying with a credit card, be prepared to whip out an ID. I swear, this is the only mall in town to do this.

I walked all the way to the Shoppers World at the other end of the mall, noting that at least 65% of the inline stores were vacant, and what remained was almost entirely Urban clothing stores. Also, the former Macy’s and Sears have not been filled since those stores closed, so the anchor stores are 40% empty. At least I got a polo for only $3 at Shoppers World (cheaper than Goodwill!), but as with Max 10, they expected an ID with my credit card.

Now Washington Square, on the other hand, is not like this at all. It has 4 stable anchors (Dick’s, Sears, Target, and Burlington Coat Factory), and they actually got a fifth anchor (Indy Wholesale Furniture) to fill the void left by Macy’s! I went into Target to buy a polo for $10 and some Juicy Juice (hey, I was thirsty!), and guess what?

No ID required with credit card. Isn’t it great? And I walked through Washington Square, back to the Sears at the other end of the mall that I parked at, and noticed that only 15% of the stores were vacant, and they were all inline stores. (Sadly, one of the casualties was Old Navy.)

But this mall is pretty decent, with a good quantity and variety of stores. I mean, I prefer Castleton, Greenwood, and Circle Centre (in that order), but I’d give this place more than a second look. It’s better than Lafayette Square, in my opinion, and it’s recovering nicely. No wonder SIMON is keeping it.

East Washington Street Run, 5/5 May 6, 2011

Posted by Kenny Norman in east.
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So I decided to go down East Washington Street since it’s the only side of town I hadn’t been to lately. I got off at the 465 South Ramp. At East Washington Street Plaza, there’s the International Buffet, built on the site of the former Old Country Buffet. However, there’s a pancake house there that I figured out used to be a Perkins. So there used to be an Old Country Buffet AND a Perkins (2 of my favorite restaurants) in the same strip mall!!!! Epic FAIL, East Washington Street. I headed to Washington Square and noticed that gas was only $4.09 at a Route 66 Gas Station just west of Post Road.

I went ahead to the mall and decided to explore. I entered in the Sears door and grabbed a phone book when I got into the mall hall. I looked up the address for Plato’s Closet, since I knew there was one around there that I hadn’t been to yet and had T-shirts I wasn’t wearing. Turns out I just missed it. So anyway, I continue through the mall. I see an Aeropostale, which is also located at Castleton, Greenwood, and Circle Centre, but I’ve bought enough T-shirts from them lately. My room can’t handle any more! I looked for a store called ‘This N That”, located on the site of the former Steve & Barry’s. I went there looking for a polo to wear for my internship in a few weeks.

One of my favorite places to go on the east side!

No luck, but since they had a lot of stuff, I may go back there someday. It was like a Big Lots. I wandered around and noticed that this is the ONLY mall in town without a food court. SIMON really needs to work on that. I went into Target and got a polo for $10 and some Juicy Juice…I was thirsty. I also saw the place where Old Navy (and then Max 10) used to be. Being the Old Navy addict that I am, it was kinda sad. And I noticed that Washington Square got a fifth anchor to go in the former Macy’s! Looks like Indy Wholesale Furniture is filling the void.

It’s nice to see this mall, and actually this whole street, recovering. Washington Square is pretty decent, with a good quantity and variety of stores. I mean, I prefer Castleton, Greenwood, and Circle Centre (in that order), but I’d give this place more than a second look. On the way back, I headed to Plato’s Closet, thinking that I would have had time to check that store out had I not spent so much time at the mall. No such luck, since unlike the other two locations in town (96th street and US-31), it closed at 8, so I never had a chance. Oh well. At least I know where it is. And also on the way back, I noticed a Japanese Grill & Buffet in Cherry Tree Plaza on the site of the former Frank’s. I then got gas at that Route 66…it’s not this cheap near school or my house! Between this, 86th & Michigan, Downtown’s wholesale district, and US-31 & Madison Avenue, I really am getting out of Castleton these days. I love it.

Old Navy at Traders Point May 2, 2011

Posted by Kenny Norman in news, north, west.
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Well, this Old Navy is one of the new ones they’ve been advertising on TV. It blew me away when I walked in. They have a huge selection of EVERYTHING- Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s! Jeans, Khakis, Shorts, T-Shirts, Polos, Dresses, Flip-Flops, Sweaters, Hoodies, Fleeces, and Sportswear are all stocked deep. There are “quick change” stations for customers who don’t have time for a dressing room or need a place to change when dressing rooms are full. Displays fill the entire wall and the registers are all in one line for a faster checkout! It’s hard to find something you won’t like here. I think I was drooling when I walked in. As an added bonus, the employees are very helpful, knowledgeable, courteous, and attentive! This blows the Old Navy stores at Keystone at the Crossing and Greenwood Park Mall away. It’s like an outlet store! Check this place out- I think exit 123 on 465 is a good way to get there. Anyway, it’s located at Traders Point plaza off 86th Street (8600 N) and Zionsville Road (6000 S).

“Ocean” review May 2, 2011

Posted by Kenny Norman in news, north, west.
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There’s a great new Chinese place off 86th & Michigan Road called “Ocean.” It’s a Chinese buffet and has a very extensive selection of Chinese food and it also has an elaborate sushi table. Dinners are $13 apiece. It’s not cheap, but it’s reasonable. And in my opinion, the food is worth the price. It’s tasty and worth savoring, and the cooks keep everything fresh. The waiters and waitresses are also very attentive and ready when you need plates cleared and drinks refilled.  This place just opened in the middle of March, so they could use all the publicity they can get. Check it out- it’s good food for a reasonable price!

Beware of Construction!!!! May 2, 2011

Posted by Kenny Norman in news, north.
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Just a heads up- anyone who wants to go to Castleton Square should avoid the area of 82nd Street between Allisonville Road and Knue Road. There is construction going on to widen the 465 Bridge and traffic is constricted to two narrow lanes. Drivers are slow and taking this road can add another 5-8 minutes to your travel time. Best to take Allisonville to 86th street and go in the back way by Dick’s. Or instead of taking Allisonville, take Binford and approach Castleton Square from the east. But don’t let the construction derail your night out!