Images from Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant in Madison, Indiana

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Images from Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant in Madison, Indiana

Hinkle's Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant Madison, Indiana

Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant Madison, Indiana


I’ve got a great idea! The next time you are traveling on I-71 in between Louisville and Cincinnati, and need somewhere to eat and just not drive for a bit, you should detour over to Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant in Madison, Indiana. You will love the change of pace (and the food).

When it comes to places to eat in a small town, I highly doubt you’ll be expecting the interior of this one. At Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop, they retain their old fashioned counter seating–and loads of charm! That was such a welcome surprise.

Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop

Hinkle's Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant Madison, Indiana

Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant Madison, Indiana


Mini burgers are frying, folks are chatting up and down the seats, and milkshakes are made. This Madison, Indiana restaurant is a busy, busy place with unusually late hours for a small town. Really, they are open for 24 hours Friday and Saturday! That’s almost unheard of! No wonder it is so popular with the college students.

It is like a step back in time. The bar stools, the counter tops, the tiled floor, and jukebox. Then there’s that unmistakable scent of good food grilling. Mmm! Take a big whiff of that–you’ll want to remember it forever.

How many first dates happened there? I bet more than a few went well enough to lead to a second, third, and eventually marriage.

For locals, it’s where you go for a good little burger, curly fries, a milkshake, and  probably a bit of small town gossip (at least, that’s why I would go). I’m only joking. Sorta. They do, in fact, make a good little burger. They are a smaller, slider-style hamburger that’s grilled with onions and topped with pickles.

A Downtown Madison Favorite

Hinkle's Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant Madison, Indiana

Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant Madison, Indiana


It’s the way they have been made since Winfred Hinkle opened up shop in 1933.  Yes, 1933. A time when Madison had two lanes of traffic and a third, middle lane, for the Trolley. Wouldn’t that have been fun? I’m sure many residents took the Trolley for a day of shopping and then ate lunch at Hinkle’s back in the day.

For students at the nearby Hanover College, that first visit to Hinkle’s is almost a rite of passage. You aren’t really a part of the school until you make the trip and try your first burger, milkshake, and home fries smothered with cheese.

Tip: ask for extra crispy home fries, especially if you are opting to cover them in cheese. It makes all the difference (or so I’ve been told, repeatedly, many times, by different people).

Hinkle’s Milkshakes

Hinkle's Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant Madison, Indiana

Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant Madison, Indiana Daily Special


You can’t ignore the milkshakes. My goodness, the milkshakes. The best part of having kids is having that many more different kinds of milkshakes to sample! Hey, don’t judge. There’s so many flavors here you will wish you could try them all.

The menu for the shakes grace the wall in front of the bar stools. It’s handwritten. I love that! Not that anyone could ever read my handwriting…

Hand-blended milkshakes are served here. The flavors really run the range. Milky Way, Peppermint Patty, Wedding Cake, Cherry Cordial, Chocolate Mousse, Fudgesicle, Banana Split…the list goes on and on. It is all good.

At this Madison dining option, prices are reasonable, the food is excellent, and kids just love those mini burgers! We definitely did, too. When you are done, trek around this walkable town. With so many blocks on the National Historic Register, it’s a beautiful small town. Bonus: there’s much shopping to be had too.

View Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop Menu

Hinkle's Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant Madison, Indiana

Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant Madison, Indiana Curly Fries


What will you order? Whatever it is, everyone would like to see it! Tag “littleindiana” on Instagram or upload it onto Facebook. Just tag the Little Indiana Facebook Page.

Menu is subject to change. Think of it as a way to get the general idea of a place–but always call ahead if you want to make sure.

[button color=”red” size=”big” link=”http://littleindiana.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Hinkles-Sandwich-Shop-Menu.pdf” icon=”” target=”true”]Click to View Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop Menu[/button]

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!

Just don’t forget to tell them that Little Indiana sent you!

Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop and Family Restaurant
204 W Main Street
Madison, Indiana 47250
812.265.3919
Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop Hours:
Always make sure and CALL AHEAD before making a special trip!
Monday and Tuesday: 6 AM-10 PM
Wednesday – Thursday: 6 AM-12 Midnight
Friday and Saturday: Open 24 Hours


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About the Author:

Jessica Nunemaker is the Owner of Little Indiana.com. More than a website, Little Indiana is a book, "Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations" (IU Press) awarded first place in the "Best in Indiana Journalism for a Nonfiction Book" by the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Little Indiana is also a bi-monthly newspaper column in a local paper and a PBS segment on the former Emmy award-winning program, "The Weekly Special."

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