Restaurant Review: Moe & Johnny’s

Writer  /  Marc D. Allan  .  Photographer  /  Brian Brosmer

Owner Chuck Mack will tell you that he wants Moe & Johnny’s to be a friendly neighborhood restaurant, the kind of place where patrons know they can get a tasty, reasonably priced meal in an atmosphere that’s as quiet or loud as they want.

What he wants is what he has – the food is pleasing, the portion sizes solid and the prices are right. As for the atmosphere, you couldn’t ask for more. If you want a sports bar with 20-plus TVs, it’s there. A seating area with tables? It’s there. And if you want to eat in peace, you have the option to dine in their softly lit, nearly silent coffee shop.

Moe & Johnny’s has been a Butler University fan hangout for 20 years now— and it was the Bulldog Lounge for 20 years before that. So the public knows it primarily as a sports bar.

But there’s more to it than bar food. Manager George Hoyt takes the menu seriously, and what he delivers is a cut above bar food with many nice surprises along the way. We sat in the coffee shop and started with a flavorful plate of dill and garlic hummus that came with warm pita bread and a selection of fresh, crisp cucumber, carrots and celery. That’s one of 14 appetizers on the menu, and it’s easily enough for a meal for one.

For the main course, we split a garden burger and an order of ribs, both excellent. The garden burger is one of Hoyt’s specialties—a combination of smoked and dry quinoa, peppers, egg whites and spices—and it came with a side of asparagus. (How many bars serve asparagus?) The ribs are steamed until the meat falls off the bone and coated lightly in a spectacular homemade chipotle barbecue sauce that is both sweet and spicy. They’re served with fries and slaw.

The five-page menu includes a wide variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, chicken and pizza. Almost everything is in the $8-$15 range. We finished with an ice cream sandwich consisting of two fresh chocolate chip cookies with a slice of refreshing vanilla bean ice cream inside— a nice, comfortable way to end a nice, comfortable meal.

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