HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) — Starting in October, fans of one of Indiana’s most iconic dishes will be able to travel across the state to dine at locally-owned restaurants and possibly win small prizes during “Porktober.”
The Tenderloin Lovers Trail features over 75 restaurants in Indiana known for their pork tenderloin sandwiches.
One of the restaurants featured on the Tenderloin Lovers Trail, Nick’s Kitchen in Huntington, is widely considered to be the birthplace of the sandwich.
According to Visit Indiana, Nick Freienstein opened the restaurant in 1908 after originally selling hamburgers out of a cart, and after settling into 506 N. Jefferson St., the iconic sandwich has been a mainstay at Nick’s Kitchen and in Indiana.
“For 115 years, the breaded pork tenderloin has held the hearts and touched the taste buds of Hoosiers,” said Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “The pork tenderloin stands as an icon in Indiana’s culinary scene.”
Jeananne Bailey, who retired in January after owning Nick’s Kitchen for 33 years, said Nick’s Kitchen only uses the white meat of the pork loin for the sandwich on top of hand-breading every sandwich.
“We treat them with care, every one of them,” Bailey said.
Bailey said she has seen customers come from all across the country to try the restaurant’s famed pork tenderloin.
“[A customer] said they were from Rochester, New York, and they drove here after they watched the Travel Channel special just to get a tenderloin that day, so there are lots of stories like that,” Bailey said.
Bailey said she hopes people who visit Nick’s Kitchen through the Tenderloin Lovers Trail get to enjoy a sandwich and also appreciate the history and other features of the restaurant.
“Our slogan is come for the tenderloin and stay for the pie, so it’s really good food and really good people,” Bailey said.
Those interested in “trekking” the Tenderloin Lovers Trail can find a full list of participating restaurants online.
A few other northeast Indiana restaurants included in the event are Ivanhoe’s in Upland, The Brown House in Auburn, Grains & Grill in Fairmount, and Greazy Pickle in Portland.
The first 100 diners who check in to two restaurants on the Tenderloin Lovers Trail will receive a Porktober-themed piggy bank, and diners can check in by using the Indiana Culinary Trails passport on Visit Indiana’s website.
As Lt. Gov. Crouch described it, “a visit to Indiana isn’t complete unless you’ve tried a local pork tenderloin.”