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Big Time Burgers + Brew

May 15, 2023

  • >2454 Promenade Way
  • Portage, IN 46368
  • (219) 841-9984
  • Website
  • Menu

Living so far away from where I grew up, we don’t get to see my nieces very often. The kids, of course, want to see their cousins but it’s hard to get together. We’re only about three hours away (before the time change) but life gets in the way. My kids are really in to ice skating. My brother’s girls are really in to travel softball.

I went to a White Sox game with my brother a couple of weeks ago. At one point he said his youngest daughter was playing a tournament that weekend in Portage, IN. We didn’t have plans on Saturday so I asked J if she wanted to go. I have never gotten to watch that niece play softball so I was excited that J said it was a good idea.

The trip to Portage, IN is only about an hour and a half. The team played at the Portage Jr. Miss Softball fields. They won their first game which meant they got to play a second a little later that day.

We stuck around for both games. The second game was done around 4:30 CT. We hung out in the parking lot and said our goodbyes. The niece we were there to watch was shocked we showed up. No one told her it was a possibility so when she looked over and saw us, it was a nice surprise.

We left the softball fields and started heading home. We had gotten snacks at the concession stand but hadn’t really eaten. I asked if anyone was hungry. J said yes. The kids grumbled…but that’s what they do when we eat out.

I found a place not too far away that was right up our alley.

Big Time Burgers + Brew is on Founders Square near Central Avenue in Portage, IN. The restaurant is part of a newer looking mixed used residential building with businesses on the ground floor. Founders Square is a park in Portage, IN (yes, I’m going to write “,IN” every time I write Portage (,IN) so there’s no confusion) with a large playground, a splash pad and a lot of open space. We found a spot right in front of the building to park which is across the street from the park.

We walked in right around 5:00 on a Saturday night and were pretty surprised to see the place pretty empty. A host had menus in his hand when we walked in and took us to a table in the dining room. The space looks pretty new with faux wood tiles on the wall and a painted concrete floor underneath us. The space is pretty big and looks to be able to accommodate several different party sizes.

The bar area had a few more people hanging out there. I think Indiana is still pretty weird with their arrangements allowing kids in a bar. The bar area is kind of shut off from the rest of the dining room. We didn’t even really see it until I had to take B to the bathroom.

I picked this place because they had two things I really like. Burgers and beer. I quickly looked over the taplist and instantly found one I had to try. I love 3 Floyds Brewing but we don’t get much other than the mass produced stuff up here in Kalamazoo. I picked Zombie Ice. This beer is a Double IPA made with “an unholy amount of Citra hops.” My favorite kind of hops in a beer….and it was tasty. I hate that it isn’t a full pint but that was fine. I made it last through dinner.

J did their Drink of the Week. It was just a few days after Cinco de Mayo and the drink of the week was a Blood Orange Hibiscus Margarita. Her drink was served in a pint glass which made me a little jealous.

The food at Big Time was pretty fantastic. I’m just going to start with that. I knew I’d be happy with it but I’m always surprised when everyone else is too.

I picked the Big Dog Burger. This sandwich comes with beef that is ground in house topped with Cheddar cheese, beer braised brisket, bacon jam, BBQ sauce, onion strings and an over easy egg. It’s served on a brioche bun with choice of side (I picked the fries). The burger was something else. The meat was so good and so tender, it would have been delicious with nothing on top of it. The brisket was chopped up and covered in BBQ sauce giving the sandwich a little bit of smokiness. The yolk from the egg and the BBQ sauce created a unique sauce on it’s own. The brioche bun was trying to hold it all together but there was so much juicy goodness that it didn’t stand a chance. This burger was amazing. The fries served on the side are some of my favorite kind of fries. They’re fresh cut, double fried and have a little bit of a greasiness and a little bit of crispiness among the floppiness. I make this at home and I love them.

J went the appetizer route and it was a really good route to take. She picked the Beer Battered Cheese Curds and Pickles appetizer. The plate came with both so she didn’t have to choose. The Wisconsin cheese curds and house made pickle chips are covered in a thin, crispy tempura like batter. It’s served with a Chipotle ranch to dip them in. The plate was too big for one person. We ended up taking half of them home and refried them in the air fryer. They were just as good on day two.

L also did the sides thing…which isn’t unusual for her. She picked the Big Time Soft Pretzel. This huge house made soft pretzel comes with salt and dipping cups of beer cheese and honey mustard. She ate about half and that also came home with us. I was able to sneak a bite before we boxed it up and man, was it good.

Both J and L got side salads to go with their appetizers. The side salad was simple with croutons, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, onions and cheese with choice of dressing. I believe both did the house vinaigrette which L said was delicious. Both had leftover salad too…so we boxed that up and took it home for another meal.

B picked the chicken strips off the kid’s menu. These chicken strips also appeared to be house made and they were delicious as well. Big, tender, juicy white meal with a crispy, golden brown breading. He ate one and a few of the fries that came on the side. So we took those home too. I ate them a couple days later after a quick trip through the air fryer. He has no idea what he was missing out on with this chicken. I would have happily ate an adult portion…or two.

Our bill for dinner was right around $100 before tip. It was an expensive dinner but we also walked out with four to-go containers of food. I got two meals out of what we ordered and J and L both got an extra meal out of their dinners.

After eating at Big Time Burgers + Brew, I’m really confused why the place wasn’t packed at 5:00 on a Saturday night. More people came in as we were eating dinner and it did start to fill up. Maybe we were just too early. The food was legit. We can’t do a $100 meal every week so maybe that was it…I felt like it was worth the money though. When things are made in house, it may cost a little extra, but everything we had was worth it. The freshness and the home made craftsmanship really shined through the meal.

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