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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Only in Elkhart…

Thursday, April 7, 2011 @ 07:04 AM

020So as much as Adam and I love to travel around and eat out at these famous “hot spots” we feature on PCC from around the country, it is nice when we find a few that are close to home; and from the minute we moved back to Elkhart, Adam kept mentioning a place we needed to hit up that has been around for years, and it so happens to have more recently been featured by hamburger author and film writer George Motz.

Heinnies Backbarn Restaurant has been serving up great steaks for 56 years.  Owned and operated now by the 3rd generation of the DeShone family, it has continually been voted one of the “Best Steaks” and “Best Prime Rib” in the area.  Most recently, however, it was Motz who added the “Heinnies Cheeseburger” to his list of top burger spots to visit around the country; and while I’m sure many of you have likely never heard of him (I know I hadn’t), he has written a pretty substantial book on the subject of hamburgers titled Hamburger America. So if that isn’t Pop Culture Worthy love, I don’t know what is.

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Although this restaurant is literally like 5 minutes away from our house, it took us a little bit to get there. Luckily when my parents were in town for a visit we were all able to try it out.

If you are familiar with Elkhart, you will understand when I tell you that this isn’t a fancy shmancy steak joint…, rather a really unique good ol’ comfortable spot.  What I’m saying is if you are looking for upscale ambiance, this isn’t where to go get it. However, if you want a good steak, cold beer, a fun and truly unique atmosphere, and friendly people…, this is your place.

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Going in I knew that since I had never eaten there, I was going to get a steak…knowing that is what they are truly known for. Adam, on the other hand, wanted to try this “Top” burger and give his honest take; and since it is the burger that puts this place on the PCC map….I guess I should feature that (although I will tell you that the steak is very good and I would definitely recommend it to my fellow omnivores out there!)

Now since I didn’t order the burger nor try a bite, I’m going to have to give way to Adam’s two cents here, and according to him…it is nothing to write much about. But since this is a blog…I figure we have to write a little. To be honest, from the looks of it, I thought it looked pretty cheesy and tasty, but he said it was pretty uneventful with not a lot of flavor. Also, he mentioned that the accoutrements were pretty dull which only added to the lifelessness of the burger all together. All in all, he’s definitely had better burgers although he still swears by their steak…which I’m sure he’ll only be ordering from here on out.

So although this isn’t our favorite restaurant in Elkhart, Heinnies Back Barn is a great spot to hit up when you are in the mood for a good comfortable evening with simply good food.  Also, it doesn’t hurt that it is in town and a great down home atmosphere!

SIGNATURE DISH: While they are truly known for their steaks, their burger is also a stand out on the menu, especially thanks to its new literary notoriety.  Having not tried it myself, I may have to pop over one day and give it a fair shot.

TASTE: Having ordered a steak, I was very happy with my dinner.  I have had more exquisite steak meals, but as far as a good standard steakhouse, this for sure ranks up there, and you can’t go wrong with good Midwestern Angus.  Unfortunately, Adam didn’t really enjoy the burger, but I know for a fact he has other favorites on their menu.  Still, I am going to have to give the burger a try for myself!

AMBIANCE: As I mentioned before, this is no ritzy downtown Chicago steakhouse where you are truly paying for the experience. Rather, this is a neighborhood kind of place, where people know you, the bar tender serves up a good cold beer or cocktail, and you can get a great meal at the same time.  This is a factor about Elkhart I LOVE…., non stuffy attitudes, yet still great meals.

SERVICE: We had 6 people dining that night, two of which have food issues that have to be dealt with….that alone can give a waitress a headache. However, ours was super sweet, attentive, and got all of our order correct and in a very timely fashion. She was great!

PRICE: Although we didn’t pay for this meal, from looking at the prices, it is clear that not paying for that stuffy atmosphere also helps.  Their prices were extremely reasonable and for the food we got, I thought deserved.

Overall, we truly enjoyed our experience and I am glad that we live so close enough to enjoy the experience whenever we want.  And for those times when we want a simple, comfortable, and tasty meal…we know where to go. 3 ‘Little Piggies’

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