Quirky Monon a familiar landmark in Putnam County
The Monon Restaurant has been a familiar sight for over 50 years near the railroad tracks that carried freight and passengers from Chicago to Louisville.
Originally called the Monon Grill, the quirky 75-seat restaurant still retains the railroad theme that was the reason for its existence when the Monon railroad stopped at the once adjacent Greencastle station.
Owned by Bev and Jerry Monnett, the building is essentially the same as when it was built of white enameled steel and fed carloads of train passengers.
It's a sweet spot, filled with antique kitchen and farm equipment hanging from the ceiling. A full-size cutout of James Dean next to an authentic jukebox greets customers as they enter the room. The homey walls are decorated with photos of stars from Shirley Temple to Clark Gable.
There is train memorabilia everywhere, including a life-sized conductor dummy in a rocking chair near the cash register.
The clientele is as eclectic as the building. On weekend mornings, a line forms as DePauw University students and their families mix with locals as both wait to order biscuits and gravy or fluffy three-egg omelets with sides of pancakes and bacon.
Nearly any time of the day, a group is gathered around the "Liars Table" enjoying a cup of coffee, a piece of homemade pie and catching up on the local gossip.
Breakfast is not the only meal folks come by to enjoy. The tenderloins are legendary and come in two sizes. They offer soups, salads and sandwiches as well as a complete dinner menu with country fried steak and manhattans. Sides include everything from mashed potatoes to three-bean salad.
There are appetizers like fried dill pickles, and the meringue on the pies is a mile high. Daily specials include all you can eat fish, crab legs, spaghetti, ham and beans and beef and noodles.
Even better than the home-style food and the quirky decor is the friendliness of the staff and owners who always greet you with a smile.
The Monon is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and is located at 814 N. Jackson Street in Greencastle. Call them at 653-8012.