Let me show you around my beloved hometown of Auburn, Indiana, giving you the inside scoop on the culinary treasures that lie within.
I've spent years savoring the flavors of this city, dining at the hidden gems you won't find in any tourist guide.
Whether you're craving a classic American burger, an exotic Thai dish, or a delectable vegan feast, Auburn has exactly what your taste buds desire.
As you stroll through our charming streets filled with cozy bistros, bustling diners, and elegant eateries, you'll truly experience the heart and soul of our community: it's through our food that the rich tapestry of Auburn's history, culture, and warmth really comes to life.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular eateries but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city's diverse culinary landscape for yourself
Sandra D's Italian Garden
The first time I visited Sandra D's Italian Garden, I came in with my friends on the spur of the moment.
I started off with their homemade jalapeno poppers, and let me tell you, they were mouthwateringly delicious.
The jalapenos were sliced in half and generously stuffed with a heavenly blend of cheeses, breaded, and cooked to crispy perfection.
But the real star of the night was the Fettuccine Alfredo.
Fresh, creamy, and packed with flavor, it was like nothing I'd ever tasted before.
Bentley, the maestro behind the sauce, revealed that it's made fresh for every order.
The next time I visited, I couldn't resist ordering the Fettuccine Alfredo again.
Yes, it was just that good!
I also tried their bruschetta, and it was equally divine, loaded with the perfect balance of garlic and fresh toppings.
It's not just the food that makes Sandra D's so special.
It's the warm hospitality and the personal touch that Bentley and Sandra add to every dish, every interaction
Hangar 9 Bar & Grill
I still remember the first time I walked into Hangar 9 Bar & Grill.
It was a typical Friday night, and the place was buzzing with people, the chatter and laughter filling the air.
It was loud, yes, but the good kind of loud makes you feel like you're part of something special.
The first thing you'll notice about Hangar 9 is the welcoming atmosphere.
It's a place where the locals gather, and if you're lucky like I was, you get served by Joe, the bartender.
With a charisma that's hard to ignore, Joe keeps the energy high and the drinks flowing, which I find really adds to the place's vibe.
The food at Hangar 9 is nothing short of amazing - they nailed my order every single time.
One bite into their beef taco, and I promise, you'll be hooked.
Their wings might not be for everyone, as some find them a bit tough, but the flavor is spot on!
Don't even get me started on their chicken quesadilla - it's simply to die for!
But that's not all; Hangar 9 really knows how to keep the crowd entertained.
More often than not, there's a band playing, and boy, do they know how to light up the house!
It's the perfect end to a long day, just sitting back, savoring good food, enjoying the music, and soaking in the ambiance.
Bo Doogie's BBQ
Ever find yourself driving down the highway, stomach growling, and you're just tired of the same old fast-food options?
That's when I stumbled upon a gem called Bo Doogie's BBQ.
This quirky BBQ joint is a beacon of comfort food in our humble city and far better than any grab-n-go meal you're used to.
I cannot rave enough about their Burnt Ends - tender and smoky; these little beauties are absolutely phenomenal!
And if you're in the mood for more, their brisket and ribs are lip-smackingly good too.
The food explodes with flavors and leaves everyone around the table satisfied and eager for their next visit.
I heard some grumblings about the drink selection lacking iced tea.
Well, fret not!
On my first visit, I made the cardinal mistake of not getting there early.
The line was soon out the door!
So, take a tip from a local - get there early to snag the best seats and enjoy your feast without the bustle.
And let me not forget about their sides!
Choosing among their delicious options is the toughest decision you'll make all day.
North Main Street Diner
There's nothing quite like the comforting buzz of my local haunt, North Main Street Diner.
This is the place where iced tea could use a touch of freshness, but the community's warmth more than makes up for it.
When you walk into NMSD, the first thing you’ll notice is the real sense of community.
You see, it's not just a diner; it's a place where everyone knows your name, and they're always glad you came.
What sets North Main Street Diner apart is how they turn simple dishes into memorable experiences.
The eggs are always cooked to perfection - they've got it down to a science.
The most basic meal of grilled cheese and tomato soup is transformed into a gustatory delight, thanks to their homemade bread.
My son can vouch for their BLTs; he can't stop saying 'mmm' every time he takes a bite.
Cricket's 7th St. Bar & Grille
There's something magical about a warm evening at Cricket's 7th St. Bar & Grille.
When the sun casts long shadows, and the band plays on the backyard patio, it feels like the whole city has gathered to enjoy the music under the open sky.
There I was, savoring my cocktail, just as the band started their set.
The music was simply incredible; it seemed to carry the promise of a beautiful night, turning the air sweeter.
The backyard patio was a vision, a perfect backdrop to the melody, making the day even more beautiful.
I chatted with him for a bit—his passion for the place was evident.
I also found the bartender to be extremely attentive and friendly, making me feel right at home.
Perhaps what I love most about Cricket's is the friendly and professional vibe.
It's a pleasure to experience such warmth and camaraderie in a local bar.
It's one of those places where you walk in for the first time but feel like a regular.
Joanna's Family Restaurant
If you're ever in Auburn and your stomach starts to rumble, there's only one place you need to head to - Joanna's Family Restaurant.
Let me tell you, their Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich is a piece of heaven on earth.
Don't let the bustling crowd deter you; it's just a testament to the popularity of Joanna's.
Sure, the tables are placed close, and the background noise might be a tad too much, but I assure you, you'll hardly notice the flavorful food drawing all your attention.
Parking can be a little tricky, but once you take a bite of their food, you'll forget about all the minor inconveniences.
And if you're in for breakfast, their all-day breakfast menu is a lifesaver.
Be it their Belgium waffle meal or the French toast - they're all simply divine.
So, if you ever find yourself around, do drop in.
It's always a busy place, but the quick service, friendly atmosphere, and amazing food make it all worthwhile.
Imagine walking into a small, cozy restaurant after a long day and being greeted by friendly faces, tantalizing aroma, and the comforting familiarity of a family-style Italian setup.
That's exactly what you will experience at Salvatori's Auburn.
It's always busy, indicative of its popularity, but the service is quick and efficient, never compromising on the quality or flavor of the food served.
I often joke that unless you have an enormous appetite or you plan on sharing your meal, it's best to opt for the smaller servings.
My personal favorite is the salmon salad, a hearty dish that never fails to satisfy my hunger.
Another aspect that makes Salvatori's stand out is the dessert.
The cinnamon roll, in particular, is a sweet treat you wouldn't want to miss.
It's unique, mouth-watering, and worth every calorie.
The Italian Grille
I remember that Thursday evening like it was yesterday - the chill in the air, the feel of anticipation, and the aroma of authentic Italian cuisine wafting through the parking lot of our little strip mall.
Tucked away in this unexpected location is a gem known as The Italian Grille.
The moment you step inside, you're wrapped in a warm, friendly atmosphere, akin to entering your grandmother's kitchen on a Sunday afternoon.
I ended up bringing home a free, perfectly packed Calzone!
The size of the portions is another factor that never fails to impress - they're so generous you'll find it hard to finish your meal.
Their menu, a delightful array of pizzas and other Italian bites, is enough to tantalize anyone's taste buds.
Once, a friend mentioned their coney dog pizza which intrigued me.
Though they'd run out of it by the time I got there, I wasn't disappointed.
I tried their sausage roll, and while it was just okay, it sparked my curiosity about their other menu items.
One thing that makes The Italian Grille stand out is their weekly specials.
It's always exciting to see what unique dish they'll serve next.
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to take a culinary journey around the world without leaving the city?
Well, you don't need to wonder anymore because Paradise Buffet is the answer.
At this incredible place, every meal is an adventure.
I am a bit of a foodie and believe it or not, Paradise Buffet is my go-to spot for a variety of delectable dishes.
From the Hitachi and sushi bars that transport me to the heart of Tokyo to the exotic frog legs and crayfish that give me a taste of the bayou, there's always a new flavor to explore.
And if you think this is all about Asian cuisine, think again.
Here, gastronomic delights traverse borders.
The prime rib is tender and delicious, just the way I like it.
Their American-style mac & cheese is comfort food at its finest.
And don't even get me started on the cheesecake – it's the best I've ever tasted.
The buffet price may seem a bit steep at first glance, but I assure you, it's worth every penny.
Besides, where else can you find a baked crab that tastes like it's fresh from the sea?
That alone is worth the price of admission.
You know that feeling when you stumble upon a hidden gem in your own neighborhood?
That's exactly how I felt when I discovered Mimi's Retreat.
This place is more than just a restaurant - it's like coming home.
The first thing you notice is the friendly ambiance.
Staff are not just welcoming; they're genuinely happy to see you.
And when they say they're too busy to do carry-out orders, it's honestly because they want to give their in-house diners the best experience possible.
Their menu is full of heartwarming, home-cooked meals.
A standout for me is their homemade soup - it's like a warm hug on those chilly evenings.
And let's not forget the fried pickles.
They're so good that they'll make you question why you haven't been eating fried pickles your entire life.
But it's not just about the food.
Mimi's Retreat also boasts an impressive beer selection.
They always have something new and exciting on tap.
It's a great place to explore and discover new favorites without breaking the bank.
For the main course, I highly recommend the Turkey Club with avocado.
Pair it with their seasoned fries, and I guarantee you'll be planning your next visit before you've finished your meal.
Hangar 9 Bar & Grille
As the sun starts to set on the horizon, the lure of Hangar 9 Bar & Grille becomes irresistible.
It's a place where familiar faces gather, where the thrum of friendly chatter fills the air, and where a warm welcome is always guaranteed, even if you're new to the city.
Their menu is a gastronomic delight, always hitting the right spot.
My personal favorite, the Hangar 9 fries, is something to write home about.
Best fries ever, I tell you!
Each bite sends a rush of flavors that makes the taste buds dance.
And don't even get me started on their wings.
A perfect balance of crunch and flavor, it's no wonder they're a crowd favorite.
And what's a night without a little fun?
The American Idol karaoke sessions are a hoot!
Even the bathrooms are worth mentioning.
Spotlessly clean, with great flooring and design work.
There's something comforting about a tried-and-true favorite, and for me, that's the Oriental Gourmet.
You can find their menu here.
From my childhood, this place has been a staple; my parents often picked up dinner from there, and it's hard to beat their chicken lo mein.
I can't remember having better anywhere else!
I've been known to drive all the way to Auburn to get my hands on their food.
Even after the 45-minute ride back home, the food remains piping hot and as delicious as ever.
There's more to Oriental Gourmet than just their lo mein, of course.
They boast a variety of dishes from Crab Rangoon to Sesame Chicken.
Every time I step into Peking Buffet, I am transported to a food haven.
It's not just any ordinary restaurant; it's one of the finest Chinese buffet spots in Auburn that has managed to captivate my taste buds time and again.
With a buffet brimming with a range of mouth-watering dishes, every visit feels like a treat for the senses.
The variety of the buffet spread is commendable.
Peking Buffet has nailed the buffet game, debunking the myth that buffet food usually lacks quality.
Everything served is fresh and well-prepared.
What adds to the allure of this place is the excellent and professional service.
The restaurant is family-run, and it reflects in their attentiveness toward their customers.
It's really a place where you feel welcomed and at ease, and that's something I value a lot.
The pricing is another aspect that keeps me coming back.
With approximately $14 for a dinner buffet and unlimited drinks, it feels like a steal deal.
Auburn's Town Tavern
Every town has its heart.
In Auburn, that heart beats strongest at Auburn's Town Tavern.
My experiences there etched a distinct culinary memory that keeps me coming back.
The Tavern's trio appetizer is a crowd-pleaser, especially the cheese sticks, so rich and creamy that they've spoiled me for cheese sticks anywhere else.
The grilled chicken salad remains a staple in my meals.
You can't beat the combination of warm, juicy chicken, fresh, crisp lettuce, and a non-greasy shell.
The blue gill and fish taco are my partner's favorites - a must-try if you ever find yourself in our city.
Sunday brunch there is a comforting ritual.
The familiar faces, the warm welcome, and the mouthwatering food feel like stepping into a second home.
I even bumped into an old friend there once, making the experience all the more special.
It's the kind of place where the cook steps out of the kitchen to receive feedback or simply to say hello.
It's the kind of place where kindness is as much on the menu as the delicious food they serve.
It's the kind of place that goes the extra mile to make you feel special.
Auburn City Steakhouse
A night out on the city square of NE Indiana wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Auburn City Steakhouse.
This locally owned and operated gem, nestled in a beautifully designed historic building, has been a highlight of my dining experiences in the area.
The ambiance sets the stage for the culinary delight that follows.
The cleanliness and the tastefully done lighting lend a touch of elegance to the setting.
My favorite spot is the one by the window, overlooking the quaint local shops.
What better way to end a day of exploring these shops than savoring a meal at the Auburn City Steakhouse?
The prime rib, tender and juicy, is my go-to dish.
I also enjoy the delmonico steak with compound butter melting on top.
The Caesar salad, French onion soup, and bread are all delightful in their own ways.
The thick, lightly breaded calamari, served on a bed of a special sauce (whose name escapes me at the moment), is a delicious twist.
The drinks strike a perfect balance - neither too strong nor watered down.
It's a joy to sip on them as I take in the charm of the city square.
Cebolla's Mexican Grill
I've found my new comfort food spot, and it's called Cebolla's Mexican Grill.
One bite of their Chile Relleno, and you'll experience a burst of authentic Mexican flavors that take you on a tasty journey.
Their guacamole prepared the authentic way, has the perfect zing that seems to make everything tastier.
And let me tell you about the beef fajitas - they're hearty, flavorful, and filling, exactly what you want from a good Mexican dish.
My first visit to Cebolla's in Auburn was after an exhausting day.
I was famished and in desperate need of a hearty meal.
I decided to go for it and ordered their world-famous Carne Asada along with a bowl of Sopa Mexicana, a Mexican Style Meatball Soup.
Every bite was simply a delight.
What made the meal even more enjoyable was the house-made chips n' salsa, which were fresh and perfectly salted.
The Brown House
There's nothing quite like a hot day in Auburn, with the sun bearing down on your back and the sweet sensation of a cold, creamy, chocolate cherry shake from The Brown House.
I have had the pleasure of trying a variety of their delectable treats, from the classic tenderloin to the comforting grilled cheese, each one more delicious than the last.
But the star of the show, for me, has always been their milkshakes.
Halfway through their shake menu, I found myself utterly addicted to the cherry chocolate milkshake, a perfect blend of sweet, tangy, and rich flavors.
One of the great things about The Brown House, apart from the incredibly delightful gastronomic experience, is their straightforward pricing system.
It's simple - the price you see is the price you pay, taxes included.
No extra calculations, no surprises.
So when I have 10 bucks in my pocket, I know I can indulge in a full 10 bucks worth of goodness.
There's also their coney dog, which is, hands down, the best I've ever tasted.
I must say that Auburn offers a delightful array of dining options.
From the fantastic Italian cuisine at Sandra D's Italian Garden and The Italian Grille to the savory barbecue at Bo Doogie's BBQ, there's a spot here to satisfy every taste bud.
Whether you're a lover of global cuisine or a fan of classic American food, the vibrant culinary scene in Auburn, Indiana, promises to leave you with dining experiences you won't forget.