The Willard offers history, food and drink, and a ghost

Franklin, Indiana is south of Indianapolis and is the county seat of Johnson County. One of the most noteworthy places in Franklin is The Willard, now a family friendly restaurant housed in an historic brick building a block north of the courthouse. Originally a home, the property has seen several uses and additions over the years. Check The Willard website for a detailed history.

Main entrance of the restaurant

We were in Franklin for a dental appointment and decided to try out the American cuisine at The Willard. There was a decent crowd when we got there, and as we ate there was a constant stream of customers coming in to the facility. We were seated in the main dining room, while lots of folks took advantage of the outdoor seating.

Vegetarian pizza, stuffed w/veggies

Outdoor seating visible left, background









One of Willard favorites is pizza, and Sher did order the small vegetarian pizza. As you see in the photos it was packed with veggies. I had to try the breaded tenderloin and fries. The sandwich breading was different and not as “crunchy” as most recipes. It was tasty however.

Full service bar past the arched brick wall

From the lobby, curved staircase visible

At the top of the main stair

Passageway past the bar and bistro tables














The building has been around since 1860, and quite a few old details make the place very interesting. The main curved staircase has a beautiful stained glass window at the top landing. The marble fireplace and original Willard Hotel sign compliment main dining room where we ate. And even though there is no prominent mention of her, a ghost named Eliza, a former love scorned owner of the property can be seen moving about the building in a rage. Seems she caught her fiancé in a compromising situation with her sister on a table in the kitchen.

A relaxing Sunday luncheon date

It’s been really hot and dry for the past week, high’s in the upper 80’s and low 90’s with pollen alerts and air quality warnings. Welcome to Indiana in June. Sher and I decided that a nice leisurely Sunday lunch date was in order for today. We enjoyed our last trip to the Blue Agave so off we went for a second visit.

We started with margaritas, chips and salsa!

The Burrito Boom is huge

Beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, onions, beans and rice! Whew!

Veggie Chimichanga filled with grilled onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and served soft or deep-fried. Topped with cheese sauce and red sauce. Includes rice, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole

Blue Agave Mexican Grill and Bar is on the north side of Shelbyville, Indiana. Good food, great drinks, lots of TV screens and great service make this a good place to grab a meal.


Displays at Ford’s Garage

Ford’s Garage in Noblesville, Indiana is one of a chain of 24 restaurants. The lion’s share, 18, are located in Florida with others in Texas, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky. The first one opened in 2012 in Ft. Meyers, Florida. It was a mere mile away from the winter residence of Henry Ford himself.

The outside, patio seating is behind the 4 openings

The overall ambiance and décor of the Noblesville establishment, like all of the locations, is based around a 1920’s service station. You have to have cars at a service station, thus you are immediately seeing vintage Ford Model A cars on the outside of the facility.

The entrance

Front door handles

Shop rag and hose clamp for tableware!

Ford Garage branded on the bun!














Once you’re seated, and even on the way to your table, your eyes are filled with all kinds of Ford and automotive items. The more you look, the more you’ll see! Ford memorabilia and 1920’s pictures and car items are everywhere.

The way to the restrooms

Unique RR sink

The quote on the back wall is Ford’s “any color as long as it’s black”

Nice old race car











This is a wonderful and fun place. The food and drinks are great. The whole Ford theme is most interesting. If you want a unique dining experience Ford’s Garage is the place for you.


Antique cars and gourmet burgers

Ford’s Garage in Noblesville, Indiana is not a place to have your car repaired or serviced. No, it is one of a nationwide chain of restaurants that features vintage Ford cars and an overall historic automotive theme giving the feel of a 1920’s service station.

Touted as a gourmet burger and craft beer establishment, our table was in the open air portion of the seating areas. We had already looked at the menu online, and had a good idea what specialty drinks we were interested in trying. Sher ordered the Lincoln Punch and Maj had the Model Tea. (Note the Ford auto name connections!)

” Lincoln Punch” made with Mount Gay Rum, Blackberry Puree, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, and Lemon Juice

“Model Tea” made with Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Lemon Juice, and Sweet Tea










Looking at the menu for the large number of gourmet burgers available was kind of a wow, what to order moment. All of the burgers are made with a 1/2 pound of Black Angus beef. A bison burger is also on the menu. When Maj mentioned to our server that he was looking at the burgers, she immediately recommended “The Estate Burger”.  That was a good choice as it turned out.

Smoked Gouda Cheese, Sweet Red Onion Marmalade, Arugula, Tomato, Fried Onion Straws, and White Truffle Bacon Aioli on a Brioche Bun

Sher and our son shared a couple of appetizers. As is true with most menu items, the Ford auto theme is utilized again. The “Giant Funnel Tower of Jumbo Piston Onion Rings” and “Edsel’s Hot Pretzels” were complimented with “Ford’s Fries”. As the photo shows, the onion rings were served on a tall funnel!

Salted Soft Pretzels, Served with Ford’s Beer Cheese and Honey Mustard Dipping Sauces

Jumbo Piston Rings Served with Homemade Chipotle Ketchup and Hidden Valley Ranch®









We had a most enjoyable time at Ford’s Garage in Noblesville. The service was good and the food was delicious and filling, too. The ambiance of the place is very unique and provides a fun dining event for you and your family or group. There is such a wide variety of good stuff on the menu, both the food and drink. Ford’s Garage should be on your dining agenda. Be on the lookout for other Ford’s Garage franchises around the country.

Got lunch at a local Mexican restaurant

Lunch time today led us to a local Mexican restaurant in one of Shelbyville Indiana’s strip malls. This one has has been open for a few years and goes by the name Cholula and bills itself as having authentic Mexican food.

The decor is the first thing you notice when you enter the restaurant. The tables are all decorated in Old Mexico theme artwork. The highbacked chairs are also adorned with brightly colored rustic scenes from south of the border. In addition, there are a couple of vintage black and white  scenes from old Mexico.

Our tabletop art

Chairback art

Awesome old photos

The lunch crowd had pretty well finished when we got there, so immediate seating was no problem. Like most all restaurants of this genre a bowl of fresh chips and a couple of bowls of salsa were soon on our table. We then ordered margaritas.

The margarita!

The typical appetizer









Our food was ordered, and in a short period of time it was brought to our table. The food was hot and delivered on hot plates too. Sher ordered a good vegetarian plate with a bean burrito, cheese enchilada and rice. I had the beef chimichanga with all the trimmings and rice.

Sher’s vegetarian plate

Maj’s beef chimichanga






All in all the food was ok, really about the same as most midscale Mexican restaurants.


An 1890 hardware store turned restaurant

The three story brick building was built in 1890 and housed a hardware store for decades. The locally owned J.G. DePrez Co. was a prominent feature in downtown Shelbyville, Indiana. The building now houses a unique restaurant on the first floor .

Pudder’s storefront

Looking out on the town square






Pudder’s opened in 2019 and was able to survive the pandemic. It has maintained its local patron base, and is beginning to gain a reputation in surrounding areas. The restaurant is spacious, has two bars and interesting interior decor.

Full service bar

Interesting rustic decor






Sher and I went to Pudder’s for a late lunch. We were seated immediately,  there were a couple of other tables occupied. The service staff is very attentive and meets your needs without delay. Sher started with one of the signature cocktails and really enjoyed it.

“Fancy” cocktail menu

Sher’s Pink Drink









Their menu offers an assortment of burgers, wraps, salads, wings and tons of appetizers. Sher ordered the veggie wrap, which was absolutely filled to overflowing with good stuff. I wanted to go with the Fish and Chips. The two pieces of cod were served piping hot, and each piece was very thick and filling!

We had a great lunch

Pudder’s has live music each weekend and a regular schedule of trivia nights. The drinks, food and service is good. Hard to beat that combination, plus for us Pudder’s is close by.

A visit to a new Mexican eatery

The location used to house a craft beer brewery/restaurant, but that business fell victim to the pandemic. After sitting empty for a few years we noticed a new name on the storefront, and shortly after an “OPEN” sign and cars in the lot. That was our cue to go try it out.

The tables have two distinct areas, one for families and one just for 21 plus patrons. There is a large bar with two very big TV’s for sports broadcasts. We went at about 2:30 in the afternoon, and there were only about seven to ten other tables occupied.

Menu book

The bar






Sher and I both ordered strawberry margaritas to start. We decided to go for the medium size. The medium size was what most places have for large! What delicious margaritas they were.

Table full of great food and drink

A great margarita









The menu was quite extensive, and was presented in a spiral bound book. I ordered the steak fajitas, and Sher ordered two bean burritos with fixings. The food was very good, derived quickly and served hot. Just about any kind of Mexican cuisine is available, and if our orders are any indication, you’ll probably be pleased with anything at the Blue Agave.

A nice view of a river and an old bridge

This is a very nice facility, and as it is relatively close to our home, we will be patronizing this bar and grill again. There is a very nice outdoor deck that the previous bar used for outside seating. Maybe Blue Agave will offer outside seating soon as well.


Jimmy Johns for supper

Sometimes you don’t want a large supper, often it depends on what you had for lunch that day. This evening was one of those times…

Turkey, ham and provolone cheese

Wonderful veggie sandwich

We decided that a couple of deli type sandwiches would make for a  tasty light meal. Jimmy Johns makes theirs good and fresh, and it was not very far away for a quick in store pick up. And we had a night off from cooking.

Fish and chips, live music and ghosts

We had the chance a few days ago to return to what we like to think of as “our favorite bar” called The Oxford Saloon in downtown Snohomish, Washington. Snohomish is north of Seattle and east of Everett. The Oxford has been a part of Snohomish since 1900.

Inside the Oxford Saloon

The Oxford is known for its paranormal activity. Back in 2020 before the pandemic, we had our own private tour given by Rebecca Caden, General Manager of the place who graciously told us the many stories of hauntings on all three floors of the saloon.

Jalapeno poppers, loaded nachos and stuffed potato skins

Basket of hand cut piping hot fries










The food at the Oxford is known throughout the area as some of the best bar food.

My favorite: 3 piece Fish and Chips w/hand made slaw

Half a French dip w/fries, au jus on the side









We discovered the Oxford back in 2014 when we were antique shopping. We were in Seattle to celebrate the birth of our grandson, and thought the Oxford looked interesting. Thus our enjoyment of the Oxford began and continues every time we visit our Seattle family.

My “Lemon Drop” cocktail

Sher’s Hot Buttered Rum







The Oxford offers live music every evening except Mondays. We checked prior to our last visit and were glad to see that the Battista Brothers would be on stage. The Baittstas are local favorites and perform marvelous acoustic rock music.

The Battista Brothers on stage at The Oxford Saloon

We were certainly not disappointed with our evening at the Oxford. Our Seattle family was with us and also enjoyed the food and entertainment. We have been to several places during our travels that have been very enjoyable and ones where we would enjoy a return visit. The Oxford Saloon in Snohomish is still our favorite place to eat, drink and enjoy live music. This old historic haunted bar is a joy to visit, is always filled with good live music, friendly patrons and an excellent staff.



Classy upscale brunch on the water

A little while back we shared a visit to Arnies Edmonds that we had over a year ago and we stated we were planning a return trip . That trip happened on Sunday with our Seattle family before we went to see The Nutcracker ballet in Seattle.

The restaurant building

Lovely views of Puget Sound

Delicious chilled fresh fruit with creamy yogurt for dipping

We got to Arnies at 10:00 AM to allow us a leisurely brunch before the matinee at the ballet. As usual, our service was wonderful and most attentive. Within a short time of seating our fruit plates were delivered to our table. The yogurt dip in the cup is such a wonderful added touch to the fresh fruit.

Sparkling mimosa

Decadent cinnamon roll







Next comes your choice of OJ or mimosa, included in the brunch meal. Our grandson of course liked his OJ that came in a differentiating  champagne glass. Following on the heels of the drinks everyone is served a warm “fresh out of the oven” cinnamon roll. Can you say delicious?

Sher’s Belgian waffle

Maj’s scramble, including potatoes and Sher’s bacon!







The menu for the Sunday Brunch is remarkably varied. There are three kinds of waffles, many different omelets, salmon dishes, and of course Eggs Benedict. The chefs will prepare them to order, and will even without hesitation change or add ingredients of your choice.

Glad to be back at Arnies

The service at Arnies Edmonds is wonderful. The menu has something for anyone. The chef made a special order brunch plate for our 8 year old grandson and a special order scramble for our daughter as well. Arnies Edmonds Sunday brunch remains one of our favorite dining experiences of all of our travels. We were delighted to have yet another wonderful brunch featuring “Pacific Northwest Favorites”.