Working Man’s Friend234 N Belmont Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46222
We got some feedback on burger places after our first post. We decided to try Working Man’s after it came recommended from a couple of friends. We were told it is a dive bar (true!), and that many politicians can be seen here having lunch because their burgers are so good. First, when driving from the city, you will miss this place unless you have the address pinned into your gps device. It is a lone standing, deteriorating building that has no signage (coming from the city) that blends right in with the rest of the deteriorating neighborhood. Before entering, you know you are in a bad area when there is a large sign saying “not responsible for lost or stolen items or theft of vehicles left unattended,” and then this sign is posted again inside. The floors are original, in a not nice way—they are chipped, missing, and are the 1940s huge black and white tiles. The seats and tables were probably bought from a liquidation sale of an old cafeteria. This place is CASH ONLY, and there are also no menus, just one that is behind the bar that can only be seen from a couple of tables.
Fortunately, at this place, you know what you are getting before you enter—the Double Cheeseburger ($5.25). Sean got his with jalapeños and pepperjack cheese (and lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo). I got mine standard with the same fixings as Sean did. Before we go into our opinions of the burgers, it is important to note that these double cheeseburgers come with three buns (top, middle, and bottom) and the meat is of the fast food variety—less than 1″ thick. The meat is also very crispy (Sean thinks they fry the meat to get this texture).
Sean had some very harsh criticism about his burger. The only thing he did like was the crispyness of the meat. He doesn’t mind fast food style burgers, he loves 5 GUYS, shake shack, and In-N-Out. But this burger was lacking everything for him. The meat was not seasoned, and was completely flavorless. It did not taste fresh (like Shake Shack) and although he thinks it was fried, it was not juicy (like 5 GUYS). When frying a burger, you need to use a really high fat percentage meat (more than your usual 80/20) so the meat retains its flavor and isn’t dried out, as this was. The burger was lacking significantly on the cheese, and the meat-to-bun ratio was slightly off, despite there being three buns. This was because their buns are the kind that cost $.25, are mostly air, and go flat as soon as you pick it up. The jalapeños were also not appreciated as they were pickled and not fresh (again, like 5 GUYS). The only flavor that could be tasted were the raw onions.
I thought the burger was decent, but nothing to write home about. I got mine with cheese, lettuce, onion, mayo, and tomato. I agree with Sean in that the meat was crispy but was not seasoned. My burger was also lacking on the amount of cheese. We are not sure if there are one or two slices of cheese on the burger, but in any event there needed to be more. The cheese was also not of the best quality; it appeared to be Kraft.
Since there were two of use we ordered both the Fries ($1.95) and Onion Rings ($2.95). Both were pretty plain Jane. There were about six onion rings and two dozen or so medium cut fries. No special dipping sauce came with the onion rings, so it was either ketchup or mustard.
Recommendation: Skip. Better yet, skip this place altogether.
With all the hype we were hearing we were disappointed. Sean is comparing this place to Ben’s Chili Bowl (in Washington, D.C.) because he feels both are over-hyped and not that good. We both left with the same flavor in our mouths—raw onion. There are several chain fast food type burger places than this. Sean thought this was worse than Bru Burger, and I thought it was about the same with these burgers being about 1/3 the price of Bru. Since we disagree on the rating, we are averaging our rating (2 for Sean and 3 for me).
Cuisine: Traditional (American), Burger, Pub
Dress Code: Casual