This is Part 14 of my Bermuda road trip/cruise series. If you’ve made it with me this far – you’ll be relieved to know that there are only two more to go after this one, and it’s only taken 4 months to get this far. My last installment covered our trip down the Historic National Road, a trip that took about a day and a half. You may recall me briefly mentioning a lunch stop at the Cornerstone Pub in little Stilesville, Indiana on the second day of our journey down the highway, which is the subject of today’s post. I had originally thought about having a picnic lunch, since it was such a beautiful spring day, but one thing we hadn’t done much of on this road trip was stop in at dive-y establishments for some good local fare (the exception being the exceptional Lobster Shanty in Salem, Massachusetts). As we headed west of Indianpolis, we saw a billboard for the “world famous” Cornerstone Pub in the upcoming town of Stilesville, so we decided to drop in.
For a primer on our entire trip, head over to my Bermuda trip report introduction and index.
The Cornerstone Pub
- 6067 W. US Highway 40, Stilesville, IN
- Hours – Sun-Thurs 11 am-10 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am-1 am
- Price – $10-15 per person, no alcohol
- Directions – you can’t miss it, no matter how directionally challenged you are. It’s at the southwest corner of the only traffic signal in town on US 40. Approximately 30 miles west of Indianapolis.
Like many establishments along the National Road, the Cornerstone Pub is tucked away in a repurposed historic building, though the restaurant itself doesn’t have much of a historical connotation. As the sign shows, it only opened in 2005. Our waitress told us that the building used to be a bank, built in the early 1900s. Stilesville itself is a tiny town, home to only 316 people. We rolled in a little after 12:30 on a Sunday, and figured the Pub would be busy. However, there were only a few other people inside. Our waitress later told us that the owner runs a limited quantity “Chef’s Special” for lunch on Sundays, and many locals come in early to order a plate – meaning we had just missed the crowd.
This place definitely had a small town feel to it, right down to the country music playing in the background. There are separate “bar” (pictured) and “family” sections (on the other side of the bar). The family section is supposed to be quieter, though in an empty restaurant, I doubt it would have made a difference. It took a few minutes for the waitress to notice us, but once she did, she provided friendly, personal service (including the history lesson).
The menu here is pretty short and simple, which is to say, burgers and other standard American favorites.
Not the entire menu, but a good representation of what’s here
We started off by sharing an order of beer-battered onion rings.
These rings had a good flavor, sweet but with batter that wasn’t too thick or doughy (a big problem with beer-battered onion rings, as it causes the beer flavor to overpower the dish). They were crisp, but not too greasy. A good start to our meal.
For the main course, I had a petty melt, and my wife had the french dip. I ordered the patty melt with a side of mustard potato salad, and my wife had potato chips (homemade according to the menu).
The Cornerstone Pub says that all of their breads are sourced fresh daily from The Cinnamon Girls Bakery down the road in Coatesville, Indiana. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had a patty melt on fresh rye, and it does make a difference. The beef was well-seasoned and cooked perfectly medium just as I ordered, and the bread was very nicely toasted to a golden brown (and just like the onion rings, not too greasy). I can’t put my finger on it, but something seemed to be slightly off, with a bit of bitterness in each bite. I couldn’t tell if it was the bread or the cheese. Not a huge deal, though, as I still ate the whole thing. I prefer mayonnaise potato salad, but this one was good. The potato chunks were properly cooked (i.e. not crunchy), the salad was creamy, and the helping of paprika enhanced both the presentation and the flavor. I didn’t try any of my wife’s food, but she ate almost the whole thing, and it certainly did smell delicious, especially the au jus.
We didn’t order any desert (same reason as all of our other driving days – didn’t want to overstuff myself with a long drive to go), but after reading a few reviews of this place online after getting home, I wished that I had. Apparently they have fresh german chocoloate cake, and I love some good german chocolate cake.
Rating: 4 stars. Good food, interesting location in an old building – and a bargain at $26 for two people.