The Indy Burger Guy visited Gatsby’s Pub & Grill on Friday, September 30, 2016.
The first time I went to Gatsby’s, I wasn’t terribly impressed. The place was very much a “dive bar” and not the kind of place I’d generally want to spend time. So, I was more than a bit surprised the first time my father recommended the place for a weekday lunch.
“Isn’t that kind of a dive?” I asked him.
“Not at all,” he replied.
I was skeptical, I’ll be honest. But I can now rightly say that Gatsby’s isn’t the dive it was when I first went about seven years or so ago. Yeah, the bar and the pool tables are still there, but the it looks more like a neighborhood sports bar now. If it weren’t so obviously a bar, it could almost be confused for a family restaurant. From the flatscreens adorning the walls to the sports-themed banners hanging from the ceilings, it’s clear that Gatsby’s has “cleaned up” a bit since my last visit.
This has become something of a weekly lunch spot for my father, who doesn’t work too far away. Faced with a day off from work, I suggested lunch and Gatsby’s was the place. It was crowded – most likely due to the proximity of the weekend – so it took some time for the food to come out, but I can hardly fault the kitchen or the wait staff. It was busy.
I went with the Stand-By Burger – Gatsby’s name for a classic cheeseburger. These are big burgers, too – a half-pound of ground beef cooked to order. I ordered mine medium (as usual) and was not disappointed. Well-cooked and expertly-seasoned, the beef is far and away the standout of this burger – as well it should be!
In one sense, Gatsby’s Stand-By is an ideal burger – it serves as a means to celebrate beef. All the ingredients – the melted American cheese, the ripe tomato, the shredded iceberg lettuce, the sliced red onion, the dill pickles, and even the mayo – spotlight and elevate the beef in such a way as to give it prominence. That, my dear reader, is what a burger should do and what Gatsby’s accomplishes almost perfectly.
I say ‘almost’ because, alas, this is not a perfect burger. (I’ve yet to find one but, rest assured, if I do, you’ll read about it here!) The main problem – as with so many burgers I try – is with the bun. It’s kaiser-style, which I’ve tried before and seldom been terribly impressed with. Typically, a true kaiser roll is going to have a crusty exterior, which would definitely hold up to the moisture coming off of your average burger. But these kaiser-style buns are generally larger-sized hamburger buns topped with semolina. These aren’t able to contend with the juices of a burger, which leads to a flimsy and soaked-through bun.
This is the essence of what I refer to when I talk about ‘bun integrity.’ When I eat a burger, I want to know that it’s going to hold together until I’m done. A burger that falls apart on someone cannot ever truly satisfy. Unfortunately, it’s a problem I encounter far too often, and Gatsby’s is really just the latest in a long line of offenders.
That said, I would visit Gatsby’s again for a burger. The atmosphere vibes well with any sports bar you’ve ever been to and the burger is tasty enough to warrant your time. Any burger that spotlights beef like this is does is a burger worth revisiting.
FINAL RANKING: 8.0/10
Gatsby’s Pub & Grill
6335 Intech Commons
Indianapolis, IN 46278
Cost Range: $$ ($7-$12)