Side note about stories:
Sometimes writers visit locations with the specific reason of reporting a story or writing a review about their subject.
Not me, I’m a very big planner who sometimes flies by the seat of her pants. I don’t always go into somewhere whether eating, shopping, or just visiting with an agenda to gather information to write a story.
Last night was just that. Matter of fact last night’s impromptu visit to this article’s subject, was just that, impromptu.
I may go somewhere as I did tonight walking away with the thought of “wow, I need to do a story about that place” and so I do.
A lot of the times it doesn’t hit me until later on. I will get quotes sometimes from those involved or sometimes I will just write on my own personal experience giving as much detail as I can.
I like to surprise my subjects with my stories too. I like for them to read about my experience and take from it a feeling that they have really done a good job at their venture.
Now some may ask does my opinion really matter, I don’t know, but I don’t care either. If I can do a feel good story and it makes one person happy then my job is complete….. for that day.
Ever heard the old saying “Been There, Done That?” Well that usually refers to something or someplace that has been hyped up and thought to be really fun, neat or good and then you do it and its like well “Been there, Done That” and probably won’t do it again because the hype was just that... hype. Nothing great, nothing to write home to mom about, well that is not the case with Pete’s Bar and Grill in Albany.
For anyone who has recently visited the restaurant, that has held the names of The Green Duck Inn to Pete’s Duck Inn to now Pete’s Bar & Grill, you have noticed quite a change.
In 2017, Phil Peterson longtime owner of Pete’s Duck Inn, decided it was time to hang up the hat and pass the baton off to fresh blood. Jumping at the chance were chef Caleb Churchill, Clyde Shaffer, Jr., and Josh Shaffer who quite literally rebuilt the restaurant from the ground up and re-christened it Pete’s Bar and Grill in honor of the original founder.
Churchill originally from Warsaw, came to Muncie to attend Ball State to play football. Thanks heavens he found his calling as a chef. After culinary school, holding different cooking jobs in different locations, he came back to Muncie to become head chef at the Horizon Convention Center for the previous five years before opening Pete’s.
The Shaffer family are proud longtime entrepreneurs in a thriving family owned genetics company now with Clyde Shaffer III, Josh Shaffer, Cassandra Irwin and Jordan Shaffer back at the farm helping make the transition to the 3rd generation at Shaffer’s.
Now that you know the players lets see how they teamed up to become driving force in the restaurant landscape in east central Indiana.
Churchill was handing the food service at Horizon when Clyde Shaffer Jr., a Monroe Central grad and longtime hog producer, asked the chef to use his pork while catering his daughter’s wedding dinner.
A friendship formed between the Chef, Clyde and Josh and one thing led to another and they decided to be the trio to take on the new venture together ….re-inventing Pete’s.
Fast forward to April of 2018, the new owners changed not only the look of the building but the food offerings as well. As an obvious foodie, I will say they did a magnificent job! They have also done so by keeping the prices reasonable and the food portions, well huge! One will definitely get their money when eating here.
Located on Walnut Street, just on the edge of town, stands the newly renovated building, freshly paved lot and very inviting restaurant, serving some very good food.
Outside, you’ll find a windmill serving as Pete’s new logo. Inside, you’ll find Pete’s Wall” featuring pictures and past newspaper articles about Peterson. Another wall featured family shots of the Shaffer’s and the Churchill’s.
Some of the old features of Pete’s were kept like the booth tables in the dining room were saved and restored from Pete’s previous look.
The restaurant area will seat 65 to 75 diners. When the weather is nice, there will be outside seating for 40 more. As for the full bar, there will be seating for 20-24.
Beer lovers will be happy to know there are 12 draught taps. Of those taps, three or four will feature domestic brews, while the others will tap craft beers, including one always brewed in Muncie.
I recently met up with an old football mom friend, Tammy Sofronko, for dinner. We had been to Pete’s before the change and it was good. But I had not visited since so I talked her into meeting me there. What a change! The appearance, the menu, everything was so nice.
Tammy and I both scoured the menu for what they offered, she had been there once or twice since the change and was giving her advice on what she had enjoyed before.
First thing on the menu was “Polish Mistakes”. These were a dish first introduced to me over 25 years ago. I loved them but never really had them much since. Tammy liking them as well, we decided to split an order. They were delicious!
For those of you who don’t know what they are here’s the rundown….Polish Mistakes are made by spreading rye cocktail bread with a concoction of sausage and ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and, alas, Velveeta cheese. Yes Velveeta cheese. Sound yummy well they are! They are reasonably priced too, six loaded pieces for $8!
When ordering food, I always watch what is coming out of the kitchen to other tables and see if anything just jumps at me. Well when we were ordering there wasn’t much coming out so we both leapt at the chance and tried the three cheese macaroni and cheese with pulled pork. It came with two sides as well. I ordered the tater tots (per her advice) and a salad. She got the tots and sautéed brussels sprouts.
Waiting on our order, I looked around at all the carefully handpicked decor depicting a good old country barbecue flair. They even had a now famous “sliding barn door” hung outside the rest room hall.
Most people think Bar and Grill, no kids allowed, not the case here. On the wall, behind where we were sat, was a large blackboard with chalk for kids to draw on. The shelves in the bar, from which hang gleaming copper mugs for serving Moscow Mules, are made from 120-year-old barn wood.
Although the menu contains good old fashioned home cooked American dishes, the highly experienced Churchill, provides some interesting new dishes on the menu. The Indiana Risotto is made with creamed risotto, creamed corn, pulled pork, coleslaw and grilled tomatoes. And when was the last time you ate Coconut Curried Mussels as an appetizer? Yeah me either.
Although trained in French cooking, its said that the Chef’s love is barbecue, and meat in general and you can tell.
On the menu is pulled pork, pork belly, smoked prime rib and then there are the Pork Belly Bites, which are like the burnt ends of brisket. It’s sweet, its smoky and its got a big flavor. And don’t about the Candied Praline Bacon that you can get as an appetizer too.
But don’t fret you crazy long time frog leg lovers. Pete’s used to be one of the few places in East Central Indiana to serve the dish once described to me as “tasting like chicken” delicacy. I gladly stick to my “chicken tastes like chicken” motto. Never have been brave enough to venture to the frog leg fad, I’ll gladly take their word for it so moving on…..
While waiting a short time for our food, Tammy being from the western part of the county earlier in life, seemed to know everyone in there. See pointed them out and told me who they were as they came by and spoke.
Low and behold in came Clyde and Sandy Shaffer themselves. Before that was Clyde’s mother, Ginger and her grandson, who were there to also enjoy some good food too.
Speaking briefly to Clyde about various things, Monroe Central sports included, we had a nice word and went on.
(At this point doing a story was not on my mind as Tammy and I were catching up on all the news between our families over the last few months. Now I wish maybe my epiphany would have came to me a little sooner!)
Out comes our food and goodness was there food. The dishes were extremely hot from the kitchen. The portion size was huge, big and more than enough!
The bubbling mac and cheese with the pulled pork on top was absolutely to die for. The pork had no bbq sauce on it and that was perfect as its own flavor was enough to make anyone’s taste buds jump for joy. The three cheese mac and cheese tasted like a ten cheese variety. There are not words for a cheese and pasta lover to express the flavor of this dish so I will leave it at that.
The tater tots didn’t disappoint either. They were more than enough as was the whole meal. Now owners, that is not saying I think you need to make your portions smaller by any means.
My lunch box and pocketbook thank you as today’s lunch is ready and waiting in the fridge to be enjoyed for the second day in a row.
When asked did we leave room for a lemon dessert of some kind we both said no way.
From the booth behind us, Ginger reminded us that she had some last night and it was delicious! We both looked at each other and regretfully declined again. Maybe next time!
As for operating hours, Pete’s Bar and Grill is closed on Mondays but will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Don’t forget, Pete’s popular catering service is still available, and will continue to be ran under the direction of Peterson’s daughter, Jill Seals.
In early April, just as the new owners were just beginning, Pete’s Bar and Grill was already winning. Winning as best appetizer at the 32nd Annual Taste of Muncie with a fantastic Pork Belly Bite appetizer!
They provide a complete catering services for a variety of events. Using only the freshest of ingredients in their original recipes, they create an experience that is memorable, affordable and unique.
From business luncheons to wedding receptions the catering will not disappoint and will be talked about for years.
Catering services are available for all meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. With pricing per person including table service and some beverages, you can have Pete’s cater a simple continental breakfast with fresh fruit up to a gourmet dinner with meat choices and side dishes that are described with such detail you want to try them all.
Having had some experience in planning bigger dinners, looking over the menu the prices do not seem to be out of line and actually pretty decent.
Having said all this I plan on venturing back to that part of the area very soon and I’m bringing people with me!
I have a few family members that feast on a good bbq meal and will come well prepared to eat. Trust me the big 6’6” son of mine will make a nice dent in a slab of ribs, pulled pork and whatever else you put in front of him.
But next time I will leave or make room for that Pumpkin Cake Skillet dessert that I noticed on the menu—or at least take it to go.