Restaurant Review: Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream in Carmel Indiana Arts and Design District

We recently had the opportunity to visit Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream, a lively, family friendly restaurant on the Monon Trail in Carmel, Indiana's Arts and Design District.  The Arts and Design District was jam-packed with activity--and a varied group of visitors.  This area has something for everyone--young and old alike.  How did Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream stand up to review with this Mama's family?

We visited this restaurant as part of a media tour courtesy of the Hamilton County Visitors Bureau.  We were not asked for positive reviews--just to come visit and share our experiences.  All opinions are our own and were not influenced by the sites visited or by our hosts.

Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream has a wonderful location.  The upbeat, Carmel Arts and Design District has become a local hot spot for both residents and visitors alike.  Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream is situated in the heart of the district--with easy access to parking, shops, the popular Monon Trail, and activities.  Visitors can expect a bit of a wait at the popular Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream.  We arrived around 5:30--and our girls spent our twenty minute wait people watching (and visiting with walking dogs) as the Monon Trail had a lot of foot traffic.

Have you heard of the Big Ugly burger challenge?  It seems that Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream is relatively famous for its 1-Pound Big Ugly burger challenge--and larger food challenges like the 4-Pound Big Ugly that attracted Man vs. Food to the site a while back.  The walls of Bub's are lined with diners who have successfully completely the 1-Pound Big Ugly challenge.

The atmosphere of Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream is pretty lively.  We visited on a Friday evening--and it was a loud, active place!  There was music playing, televisions going, and diners at every table.  If the weather is good--and you want a quieter dining experience, request to sit outdoors.  Service was a little slow since they were so busy--but, there was never a point where we did not have drink refills or our needs met.  

Okay--How was the Food at Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream? I am amazed by the number of people who have won the Bub's Big Ugly 1-Pound Challenge--my french fries were virtually untouched as I struggled to finish my Settle for Less Ugly 1/4 Pound Burger!

The burger is very well seasoned, cooked to order and served with fresh toppings--and with your choice of cheese.  I chose cheddar--and while it is not a "pretty" burger--it is pretty yummy.

The Settle for Less Ugly 1/4 Pound Elk Burger & Sweet Potato Waffle Fries
Elk is not a frequent menu find, so the husband was excited to try it.  He noted that it was not as "gamey" as he hoped--it wasn't much different than beef.  He added a basket of waffle fries to his burger--and, although the picture isn't the best--I wanted to show the dipping sauce.  Bub's serves a spiced, marshmallow cream style dipping sauce with the sweet potato fries and it was an interesting twist.  One of those, "why didn't we think of that??" moments!

Little Bubs Kids Meals & the Bub's Busy Bag

The girls, who never agree on anything, thought the Busy Bags were a neat change of pace.  The simple hand-colored, paper bags serve up individual bags of Goldfish crackers and fruit snacks to keep antsy little ones distracted until the meal arrives!

Both girls chose corn dog meals from the Little Bubs kids meal selections--one with waffle fries and one with onion rings.  I can say that the beer battered onion rings were really good--I traded a few french fries to convince my youngest to give up one onion ring!

While my girls went for some unhealthy options, there were better choices on the Little Bubs kid's menu--like mixed vegetables and applesauce!

We were all too stuffed for dessert--although there are both dessert menu options and ice cream from the adjoining ice cream shop.

Would I recommend Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream?  Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream is a fun, casual place that is perfectly suited to families.  The prices are reasonable, the portions are huge and the atmosphere is lively and upbeat.  If you find yourself in Carmel and want a really good (or really BIG) burger or hot dog--I would certainly check out Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream.  It does get crowded--and loud--and it's nothing "fancy".  The menu offerings are simple--and they do offer lighter food choices (like grilled mahi mahi or a portabello mushroom sandwich).  It's just a fun, family friendly lunch or dinner spot that I would visit again when we return to the area.

If you go:
Expect to wait during peak meal times--and dress for the weather since the waiting area will likely spill over to the outside.  I wouldn't recommend leaving the restaurant once you have your name on the wait list--they are so busy that you may find yourself bumped down the list if your name is called and you aren't present to be seated.

Plan to walk through at least a bit of the Carmel Arts and Design District during your visit.  There is so much to see and do in the area--and you'll already have a parking space.

Visit and Connect
Bub's Burgers and Ice Cream
210 W. Main Street Carmel, Indiana  46032

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Disclosure:  We attended a media visit of Hamilton County, Indiana in coordination with the Hamilton County Visitors Bureau--and this restaurant was a chosen stop of the tour.  We received complimentary food and drink as part of our participation--but, were not asked for specific reviews of stops.  All of our reviews contain our own opinions--and we only share places and spaces that we enjoy--and hope our readers will enjoy too!

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  1. I've never eaten elk - I wonder if it's on the menu anywhere near me....hmmm? And waffle fries are the BEST!!!



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