Well done, Indy’s Best voters! You’ve picked The Workingman’s Friend as Indy’s Best Burger.
“I don’t really know. I don’t do anything special. I don’t buy anything different than anybody else would,” remarked owner Becky Stamatkin about being continually recognized. “I think a lot of it contributes to the old grill I have back there.”
The Workingman’s Friend, located at 234 N. Belmont Avenue on the west side of Indianapolis, has a grill that dates back to at least 1960, when the restaurant bought it used.
“When we started, my grandfather opened it up as the Belmont Lunch,” said Stamatkin. But then during a railroad strike during the 1920s, Stamatkin says her grandfather opened up the restaurant to the railroad workers and let them eat and drink when they weren’t getting paid.
“So they dubbed him Louie, the workingman’s friend,” explained Stamatkin.
You can eat one of their legendary smashburgers as a single or double, but no matter what, bring cash — and leave the kids at home!
“I’ve been smashing them for 40 years, so I probably have a few more secrets than the others.”
The bar is also home to a tasty tenderloin.
“I get those cut and cubed fresh every week, and then I get my own breading on it,” said Stamatkin.
If you like ham sandwiches, the Big John is a popular item on the menu.
“My mom and a waitress in the early ’50s came up with this,” said Stamatkin. “In the day and age of when they made this, the number one song was Jimmy Dean’s ‘Big Bad John’, so that’s where the name came from.”
Workingman’s Friend is open from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Fridays. It will celebrate its 105th anniversary in January.