Happy New Year and welcome to 2012!  This year I hope to grow this side project into something useful, share some of my favorite restaurants and food, and learn about new food experiences from my readers (should anyone choose to read these ramblings).

I’m going to begin the year by reviewing a place that is actually located in Upland, Indiana, which is a very small town surrounded by cornfields located bout an hour north of Indianapolis in I-69.  The town only has 2-3 restaurants in it, but one of them is IVANHOE’S, which is truly a worth while experience.

I spent my first 6 years of life living not too far away in rural Muncie, IN (this was back when the only local toy store was when Quality Farm and Fleet got toys for Christmas).  There may not have been much in the area, but Ivanhoe’s was always a special treat.  This remains one of the most distinct memories from my early childhood (which tells you how good it is) and to this day I go back when possible and continue to spread the word to the masses who have not heard about this truly special place.

What sets Ivanhoe’s apart from other restaurants is the ICECREAM.  The flavors themselves are mostly standard, the unique thing is the variety of sundaes and shakes.  The menu contains 100 ICECREAM SUNDAES!! AND 100 ICECREAM SHAKES!!  The portions are huge and the number of combinations is enormous.  The menu can be found here (I suggest reading in advance as choosing a dish can take a while).  Almost every combination imaginable is on the list.  Personally I have always been partial to a good shake over a sundae, and above all else I LOVE peanut butter.  So I highly recommend shake #70, the PEANUT BUTTER CRAZY: Ice cream blended with peanut butter (real peanut butter, not just flavoring) and chopped nuts, topped with a scoop of hand dipped chocolate ice cream, more peanut butter, and spanish peanuts.  I have had more then my fair share of milkshakes in my life, and this shake is beyond comparison.  Peanut butter perfection!

Other popular and interesting items include:(descriptions come from menu)

26. CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY SHAKE: Smooth vanilla shake topped with maraschino cherries and
a scoop of hand-dipped chocolate ice cream.

22. CHOCOHOLIC ANONYMOUS  SUNDAE: If you don’t tell, we won’t either! Hand-dipped chocolate ice cream loaded up with chocolate cookie crumbles, crushed Hershey bar & lots of hot fudge.

48. HIGH NOON SHAKE: We blend orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream and top it with a scoop of hand-dipped French vanilla ice cream, pineapple and a maraschino cherry.

33. CRAZY THE CLOWN SUNDAE: It’s too cute to eat! Your favorite flavor of ice cream topped with a sugar cone hat, a collar of whipped topping, then dressed up with nuts, candies and cookies.

42. GRREAT SCOTT SUNDAE: Frosted flakes, butterscotch over soft vanilla ice cream.

43. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUNAE: Strawberry ice cream topped with strawberries, crushed Oreos and whipped topping. Adorned with a birthday candle.

44. HEALTH NUT SUNDAE: Try our hand dipped vanilla yogurt with sliced bananas and almonds, sprinkled with crunchy granola.

Ivanhoe’s also serves up a standard list of burgers and sandwiches, most notably the pork tenderloin.  These are all fine, but the food is overshadowed by the ice cream.  Be warned that the servings are very generous.  A large shake or sundae is easily a full meal, if not more.

If you are looking for a unique small town Indiana food experience I highly recommend Ivanhoe’s.  The ice cream is outstanding and the experience is memorable.  Over the years (it has been there since 1965) the restaurant has expanded and it always remains packed despite the small town.  So next time you find yourself driving north of Indianapolis on I-69, or just looking for an excuse to drive, go to Ivanhoe’s!!  Its an experience that will stick in your memory for a very long time.

Directions, hours, menu and more can be found here.

Ivanhoe's Drive In on Urbanspoon