Workingman’s Friend still serving giant burgers, cold beers to hungry crowds in Haughville
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For decades, Hoosiers and race fans hungry for burgers, chili, and beer have headed to Haughville and grabbed a table at Workingman’s Friend.
Becky Stamatkin is the owner of Workingman’s Friend, 234 N. Belmont Ave., which is just a few blocks away from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The restaurant has been in the Stamatkin family for generations, going all the way back to founder Louis Stamatikin, an immigrant from Macedonia who opened the original restaurant in 1918.
According to Stamatkin, the name of the restaurant comes from a railroad strike. She says her grandfather continued to serve local railroad workers after they went on strike in the early 1920s, even though they couldn’t pay for their meals at the time.
After Louis Stamtkin died, his sons took over, and eventually, his granddaughter.
“I have people here that were here 40 years ago, and it’s still exactly the same –same burgers, same sandwiches, same menu,” Stamatkin said.
In 1950, Stamatkin’s dad rebuilt the restaurant in the same location.
One of the regulars at Workingman’s Friend is Indiana basketball legend George McGinnis.
McGinnis was a standout at George Washington High School and Indiana University. He was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 1971 and played a key role in the team’s ABA championships.
“The food is excellent! The best hamburgers in town,” McGinnis said. He and his teammates from the 1969 state championship team meet each month to share a meal.
The 2023 Indianapolis 500 is quickly approaching and business is picking up, Stamatkin says.
“It’s a struggle because of the short staff, a little bit, in the kitchen, but I think that’s everywhere. And then, there’s 400,000 people in town. It’s kind of hard to keep going with all of them, but I will get a break over the weekend,” Stamatkin said.
Guests can only pay cash at The Workingman’s Friend. It is open on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.