The Indy Burger Guy visited Arni’s Restaurant on 96th St. on Sunday, May 7, 2017.
For quite a while, I’d heard friends – mostly those who live on Indy’s south side – speak very highly and very well of Arni’s, which is a local restaurant chain here in central Indiana. However, most of the praise I’d heard about Arni’s was focused around their pizza, not their burgers.
This led to an obvious question: were the burgers at Arni’s on par with their pizza? I had to find out!
So, the Mrs. and I headed to Arni’s for lunch one Sunday afternoon. The 96th St. location is very near to a Stacked Pickle – one of the wife’s favorites – but I managed to convince her to try Arni’s. Walking through the doors, you can smell the pizzas cooking, the scent of oregano and marinara heavy in the air. The decor looks like a classic Italian eatery, but on a much larger scale.
We were swept to our table quickly (not sure if we had hit just before or just after the lunch crowd) and, after some discussion at the table, we decided to split the difference – my wife would get a pizza and I would get the burger… the namesake burger.
The A1 Arni’s Burger is quite indicative of an overstuffed gourmet-style burger – lots of toppings and lots of flavor. The toppings seem to indicate a cross between a Western-style burger (with french-fried onion straws and A1 steak sauce) and an upper-crust bistro burger (with grilled mushrooms and “bistro sauce”). (SIDEBAR: Can we have a moratorium on mayo-based sauces that don’t identify at least one additional ingredient? I find it mildly infuriating…)
At any rate, this is a pretty good burger, all told. Not out of this world, but tasty. There are a lot of flavors merging here, but they aren’t as well balanced as I’d like. The A1 sauce, in particular, is overpowering to the point where it overwhelms the meat and many of the other ingredients. The fried onions also stand out… mainly because, paired with the toasted onion roll on which everything is settled, make the onion flavor a close second to the A1.
The sauce issue as well… there are TWO sauces on this burger and, while the bistro sauce didn’t really stand out due to the overwhelming nature of A1, it certainly did ooze out the sides, making for a really messy burger. Also, given that the solid ingredients on the burger (aside from the standard veggies) are all in pieces – i.e. grilled mushrooms, onion straws – the amount of toppings that end up on the plate (instead of in my mouth sandwiched between meat and bread) is staggering.
All that said, the meat was well-cooked and, while overwhelming and all over the place, the flavors are really and truly good. I liked it, but it wasn’t a ‘top ten’ burger. If you’re able to get to Arni’s this week, give it a shot – you’ll be glad you did!
FINAL RANKING: 7.6/10
Various locations across the state
Cost Range: $$ ($7-$12)