Sidebars: Restaurant built on lifelong family traditions

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SidebarsAs a kid, I used to love breakfast-for-dinner dinners. Of that meal, my favorite was the waffles which my mom made on an old, square, electric waffle maker that made the traditional, thin waffles perfectly. It was such a special treat for dinner and now you can enjoy such a treat for lunch at Maxine’s Chicken and Waffles, which is attached to the downtown Citgo at the corner of East and Ohio streets in Indianapolis.

Fred and I, and the most important person in our legal lives, our paralegal, Gina, ventured out for chicken and waffles. We knew that it is not necessarily a quick in-and-out type place, so we allotted a full hour for lunch. A very clean and casual atmosphere welcomes a diverse customer base of businessmen, students, families and blue-collar folks.

The story behind Maxine’s creates the charm of the place. Maxine, may she rest in peace, cooked at St. Francis Hospital for 30 years while her husband, Ollie, worked a different shift at Chrysler for 33 years. Their coordinated efforts in raising their 10 kids resulted in a variety of culinary feats over the years. In 2007, the kids and grandkids joined forces to open Maxine’s with the menu-base being the recipes, with more than a dash of love, of Ollie and Maxine over the years. We, your customers, thank you for sharing the love!

There is a lot on this menu. We started with chicken wings coated with a buffalo sauce that contained just a hint of pepper or garlic or something to distinguish it from the traditional buffalo sauce. The heat was manageable. We also munched on some onion rings that retained a bit too much grease, but who really complains about that? Other starters include Max Fries – get this – french fries with cheese sauce, fried chicken chunks, diced tomatoes, onions, green peppers, topped with cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream – OMG. Also to munch on is the southern tradition of fried green tomatoes with “southern sauce.” Oh, also, corn bread patties with peach butter are offered up to whet your appetite.

I had to indulge in Maxine’s signature dish of chicken and waffles, which is a big ol’ rounded waffle and three jumbo chicken wings fried to perfection, served pipin’ hot. You get the peach butter (or you can ask for traditional butter) and warm syrup for your waffle (of which there are a variety of types of waffles – i.e. chocolate chip or strawberry.) I tell ya, it is the warm syrup that seems like a personal hug from Maxine herself. Fred tried his patience by ordering the pan-fried chicken for which you should allow about 35 minutes to cook. The process cooked in the juices and treated Fred with flavorfully spiced breading that can only come with pan-fried chicken as opposed to the deep-fried method. The only disappointment was the generic french fries he had with his chicken. The barbecue chicken sandwich impressed Gina with it being so juicy for grilled chicken and this was despite them forgetting to put the barbecue sauce on it! She described her side of macaroni and cheese as creamy and very homemade.

Other notables are the omelets (one a six-egg omelet), pancakes, a waffle sandwich, and Shirley’s Biscuit (pieces of fried chicken smothered in gravy, served with two eggs, grits or potatoes and a biscuit). Leaning more toward lunch (really supper) entrée? Check out the tilapia or catfish dinners, the smothered chicken dish or the slow-baked chicken dinner. As far as salads and sandwiches, Maxine’s menu has numerous selections of each, including many burger offerings, a smoked sausage sandwich, and fried or blackened catfish or tilapia sandwiches. The dinners come with two sides and the sandwiches come with one side. There are too many sides to mention but this will encourage return trips to try each of them at some point!

I would grant Maxine’s three gavels on the food but four when it comes to the motivation of those honoring Maxine and Ollie’s obvious love for their children who now are sharing it with us. Check out their website at and visit them at 132 N. East St., Indianapolis.•

Fred Vaiana and Jennifer M. Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn & Paul in Indianapolis, focusing in criminal defense. Vaiana is a 1992 graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Lukemeyer earned her J.D. from Southern Methodist University in 1994 and is active in the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indianapolis Inn of Courts and the Teen Court Program. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.