Why the Mug Proves that Springfield May Actually be Greenfield

During the Simpsons’ long run, there have been numerous questions and speculations about what state Springfield is in. A few years back, creator Matt Groening revealed that Homer’s hometown was inspired by Springfield, Oregon, a city about 100 miles south of Groening’s hometown of Portland.   There are, however, a number of references in the show to suggest that this iconic town could in fact be anywhere in the continental U.S. For this reason, I may push the envelope even further and suggest that Springfield may not even been a Springfield and may, in fact, be Greenfield, Indiana.  Although I don’t have a lot of evidence to back this claim, note the following:

  • The words Springfield and Greenfield could easily be mistaken for each other in a conversation
  • In the show, Shelbyville is Springfield’s hated neighbour.  There is a Shelbyville 18 miles south of Greenfield.
  •  In the Simpsons movie, Homer befriends a pig which assumes the personas of both Spider Pig and Harry Plopper.  There is also an iconic pig in Greenfield.  Although I’m not sure of its name, it graces the sign of “The Mug”, a roadside drive-in restaurant on Apple Street.

On my way from Cincinnati to Indianapolis I stopped in Greenfield to try out the Mug. A few years back, it replaced the Frosted Mug, a family business around for 5 decades. The change in ownership maintained the small town feel complete with a drive-in option and plenty of outside seating. The difference now is what the owners call farm to curb; meaning most of the meat is single sourced from the Tyner Pond farm and anything else comes from local sources.

At the request of my daughter, we drove into the parking lot and awaited the car side service.  A few minutes later a friendly guy showed up and took our order.  Shortly after, he apologized and said he’d be back in a minute.  He proceeded to run into the restaurant, came out with a bag, hopped in a car and sped down the street, presumably to do a delivery.  This action was reminiscent of Homer screeching away in a car in the background after forgetting a birthday, once again reminding me that my hunch may be right. A few minutes later, a different staff member arrived with the grub.

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The Drive-in Menu

I went with the original burger for just shy of $5 and teamed it up with some fries in a combo.  I finished it off with a brewed root beer. The burger was simple and a reminder that things were good long before the days of patties being slathered in aioli or topped with pulled pork or dare I say it…..a fried egg.

As part of the order we also had the mac and cheese ($1.25), coleslaw ($1.50) and the bacon and sweet bowl for $2.50.  The first two are self-explanatory.  The last is a bacon topped bowl of corn salad flavoured with a bit of leek.  It’s one of the few instances in my mid-west dining experiences  where I can honestly say the portion size was small (thus the equally small prices).  That said, it was more than enough and pretty decent.  Although not the best mac and cheese I have had, it held its own.  The slaw was good but the corn salad stood out as the winner.  Maybe it was the nostalgia of eating corn in Indiana couple with the fine pork of Tyner Pond that made it even better.

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Original Burger $5 plus an array of sides

Speaking of sweet corn, I had a chat with the incredible staff after and was tempted with their famous 16% milk fat ice cream.  The richness of the fat combined with the sweetness of the corn was plain addictive and an ideal finish to a roadside experience.

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Corn Ice Cream and a Facebook Acknowledgement

My Take

In the farm to table concept, simplicity is sometimes lost among the pickled ramps and broiled beef cheeks.  The farm to curb concept of the mug maintains the commitment to proximal provisions without the convolution of the latest food trends.  Single source meat and local dairy highlight a menu that demonstrates that simple and classic can be just as exciting as trendy.  Add the old school car side service  and it makes for a good outing. Between the delivery guy’s screeching tires and a possible Harry Plopper sighting you may buy into my theory that Green/Springfield may be smack dab in America’s heartland.

The Mug Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

 

DDD:Baltimore:Chap’s Pit Beef

Part of the difficulty of ranking DDDs, or any restaurants for that matter, if the fact that they are so different.  Take Chaps Pit Beef for example. It’s a humble abode with a simple concept; charcoaled meat on bread but can it compete with likes of sausage gravy and Maryland’s own blue crab cakes?

The directions are straight forward.

1.Get on the Pulaksi highway.

2. Look for Gentleman’s Gold Club.

3.  Enter parking lot. Park. Leave car.

4.  Follow smell of smoky goodness to small, stand alone shack.

5.  Enter.

6. Got to counter, imagine any combination of meat possible (beef, sausage, ham, turkey and corned beef).  Many are named after famous people, teams etc.  Put pointer finger and thumb on chin and stare blankly at the numerous choices.

7. Order.

8.  Move to the other side of counter and wait.

9. When food comes proceed to condiment counter and dress accordingly.

I felt a pang of betrayal not ordering the The Guy’s Triple D, but decided on the Richwich, a corned beef, beef, turkey and sausage which pays homage to Man vs Food host Adam Richman (sorry Guy, but it had two kinds of beef!).

Having just eaten at Sip and Bite, I took it to go and drove toward Pennsylvania with a side of tiger (horseradish) and house made BBQ sauce. I had every intention of waiting until I drove a reasonable distance before digging in, but as I said on yelp, it spoke to me, asking me over and over to eat it. I really had no choice, so I finally had to succumb, pull over for safety reasons.  I slathered it with the sauces and indulged.  I must of looked like a cross between a rabid dog (complete with dripping tiger sauce) and a fat kid in a pie eating contest. I swear a state officer did a double take making sure I wasn’t wrestling a ruffed grouse.

Chaps is a straight forward sandwich and burger shack set up in the parking lot of a strip bar. Chaps offers a fantastic sandwich, highlighted by the tender beef, corned beef and turkey.  The sausage was so-so and a bit awkward, so I would likely go with the Raven (beef, turkey, corned beef ) next time.   As for the sausage, I’ll  leave it for the Gentleman’s Gold Club.

Verdict: 5  Guyz

Richwich- Undressed
Richwich- Undressed
Richwich- Dressed with Tiger Sauce
Richwich- Dressed with Tiger Sauce and Attacked

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