Half Moon Restaurant & Brewery, Kokomo, Indiana

Anita and I were recently in nearby Kokomo, Indiana, spending a day at some of the antique malls in town. We decided to eat an early lunch at the Half Moon Restaurant & Brewery, located right off Highway 31. I was looking forward to our lunch after reading some of the reviews.

Half Moon Restaurant & Brewery, Kokomo, IndianaWe were greeted by a friendly host, and seated in the dining area. As we came in, we walked by the beer making vats. Sadly, it was a little early in the day for me to have a beer. I’ll have to save the tasting for another time.

Our waitress was very friendly also. Throughout our meal she was attentive and pleasant.

I ordered the brisket sandwich, substituting beer-battered onion rings for the house chips. The brisket was great. It had a nice light smoky flavor. The meat was tender, juicy, and not fatty at all. I liked that it was served on a rugged kaiser roll, holding up to the meat and sauce just fine. Half Moon also has the BBQ sauces on the table, something I am a big fan of.

Half Moon Restaurant & Brewery, Kokomo, IndianaThe beer-battered onion rings were to die for. They come with a lightly-spiced dipping sauce that is somewhat similar to that at Buffalo Wild Wing’s, but oh so much better and made fresh (like everything on the menu). I’ve never had a batter so light. I asked the waitress later if they use that same batter on other menu items and they do, like on their fish which must be absolutely awesome. The onion rings were the star of the show.

Half Moon Restaurant & Brewery, Kokomo, IndianaAnita had the class tenderloin sandwich and fries. She loved the sandwich. It was not fatty, breaded perfectly, and cooked correctly and evenly (sometimes a problem with tenderloins). The toppings were very, very fresh. The tenderloin is also served on a kaiser roll so you don’t have to worry about it not holding up to the toppings. Anita substituted fries for the chips, which were also great.

The only disappointment was the small side of slaw that came with our meals. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t exciting. In all fairness, it’d be hard to wow me with a slaw after eating the brisket and the onion rings. I would’ve liked a little zing to the slaw, but I lean towards the spicy, and I know not everyone would agree. It certainly did not detract from what was a great lunch.

We’ll be stopping by Half Moon again the next time we are in Kokomo. I am going to have the beer-battered fish-and-chips and more of them onions rings. And a beer.

'Mater Rater

I’m a big fan of brewpubs. Also check out Black Swan if you’re in the Indianapolis area.

Jose’s Restaurant and Cantina, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Sadly, Jose’s has closed. Now where do I go for a golden margarita in Fayetteville?

Any time we’re in Fayetteville, Arkansas, we have to swing by Jose’s for a bite to eat and the best margaritas around. After all these years (I’ve been going to Jose’s since it opened 25 years ago), the golden margaritas on the rocks are still just $3 at Happy Hour. Man, you can’t beat that!

Jose's Restaurant and Cantina, Fayetteville, Arkansas

We’d had a long drive that day, and we wanted a good-sized meal. We both ordered the Jose’s Special Enchiladas, and we weren’t disappointed! Everything was tasty.

Jose's Restaurant and Cantina, Fayetteville, ArkansasI usually have the steak or chicken asada, but I figured I’d change things up this time. That and they’ve removed them from the menu (big mistake in my opinion!). Oh, and check out my attempt to recreate the steak and chicken asada here. They came out great!

On the ‘Mater Rater I give Jose’s high marks.

'Mater Rater

Ole for Jose’s! And if you’re in the Fayetteville area, stop by my other favorite spot, Tiny Tim’s Pizza.


Scotty’s, Caryville, Tennessee

Whenever we’re traveling, we try to stop at only non-chain restaurants along the way. That’s pretty hard to do sometimes, since all there seems to be along the interstates are fast food restaurants.

We were on our way from Indianapolis to Gatlinburg, TN, when we found Scotty’s on our GPS. The reviews (though there weren’t many) were positive, so we stopped on in. From the outside, you might be a little hesitant to go in if you’re used to those shiny, brand new fast food joints. Don’t fret, get yourself in and grab a seat at the counter and order up some sliders or a hamburger. You won’t be sorry.

Scotty’s apparently was a chain from Dayton, OH, to Alabama. It was very popular for its sliders. I believe this is the last one remaining. It was full of locals, which is always a good sign. The waitress (and cook.. one and the same) was the epitome of efficient. Our burgers were cooked on a flattop, and came out with the little crusty edge that you can only get from a good, seasoned, hot griddle. The toppings were fresh, and the fries were good. The patties were seasoned well and tasty.

I’d stop at this place again in a heartbeat. It’s not even a block off the interstate, so you don’t have an excuse for not going there! On the ‘Mater Rater I gave it high scores because I love diner food!

'Mater Rater

At the totally other end of the spectrum in Tennessee is the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. They have great food and great sites, but no flat-top grilled burgers!