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Janko's Little Zagreb

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Janko's as seen from across the intersection.

Overview

Janko's Little Zagreb is a locally-owned steakhouse on 6th Street. Opened in 1972, the restaurant's small menu is focused on steak and its usual accompaniments. The restaurant was initially known as the "Choo-Choo Cafe" in reference to the nearby railroad track. It initially served Yugoslavian and Eastern European cuisine, but later focused on beef. It is well known outside Bloomington and has a reputation for serving the best steak in town.

The name of the restaurant comes from a nickname that the John S. Pouch's Croatian immigrant grandmother had for him. Zagreb is the capital of Croatia. The restuarant was initially owned by John Pouch's brother, Jeff, with John supplying the beef.

A longtime favorite of local celebrities John Mellencamp and Bobby Knight, the IU Athletics department brings a lot of their recruits to Janko's. Singer Billy Joel was quoted by the Herald Times in an interview with Mike Leonard in 1990:

"They still got that little steak house in Bloomington?" he asked. "Little Zagreb? I went there after we had a flag football game with (John) Mellencamp, which was an absolute slaughter. They must have beaten us 2,000 to nothing."
"He brought in a ringer from the university to play quarterback," Joel complained about Mellencamp. "But he was gracious enough to buy the steaks after the game. And I'd have to say that probably was one of the best steaks I ever ate. If that guy down there could figure out a way to send those things across the country I'd probably order 'em on the road."

Recently spotted in the restaurant enjoying dinner was Scott Skiles, current coach of the NBA Chicago Bulls.

Hours:

  • Monday - Thursday: 5:00pm-10:00pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 4:30pm-10:00pm

Timeline

  • 2007: ([March 1]]) Mark Conlin, longtime friend and business partner of John "Janko" Pouch officially purchased "Jankos Little Zagreb" restaurant from the estate of the late John "Janko" Pouch. Mr. Conlin pledged to "keep the restaurant running as it has been for the last 35 years and not change anything".
  • 2006: (March 1) It is announced that John M. Pouch, "Janko's" eldest son, will keep the business running.
  • 2006: (February 19) Current owner and founder, John S. Pouch, is found dead at his house by firefighters who were responding to a fire at his home in Spencer. Investigators believe it is due to smoke inhalation.
  • 2003: Mentioned in "Midwest Foodservice News" as one of the top steakhouses in the midwest
  • 2003: (January 16) Janko's is evacuated after gasoline fumes leaked into the restuarant from nearby Yellow Cab Co.
  • 1998: Listed among the top 10 independent or single location steak restuarants in Indiana by "The Steak Lovers Guide to Indiana"
  • 1998: (March 23) Restaurant damaged in small grease fire
  • 1988: Da Vinci Signs hangs 10' x 20' reproduction of the 'Last Supper' on the east side of Janko's
  • 1979: John S. Pouch took over charge of the restaurant from his brother, Jeff Pouch
  • 1972: Little Zagreb's opens as "Choo-Choo Cafe".

References

Creps, Marcela: "Janko’s raising the steaks", The Herald Times, (26 March 2005)
Werth, Brian: "Janko's Little Zagreb makes 'Best of Indiana' listing", The Herald Times, (30 July 2003)
Leonard, Mike: "Billy Joel on the Noodle, Zagreb, money and hits", The Herald Times, (22 February 1990)
Mills, Kathleen: "Porterhouse a la da Vinci", The Herald Times, (23 December 1988)

External Links