Bloomington's Kilroy's opening downtown Indianapolis outpost

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Bloomington restaurant and nightspot Kilroy’s plans to open a downtown Indianapolis location in the former home of Smokey Bones Barbeque and Grill.

Restaurateur Paul Murzyn has signed a lease for the 8,700-square-foot, first-floor space at 201 S. Meridian St., a historic building with luxury condos upstairs. He hopes to open the restaurant called Kilroy’s Bar and Grill in October.

Murzyn will be majority owner, while Bill and Linda Prall will be investors. It’s the first foray outside Bloomington for the Pralls, who opened Kilroy’s on Kirkwood in 1975 and added Kilroy’s Sports Bar at Eighth and Walnut streets in 1986. The bar is named after a popular cartoon character that U.S. soldiers scribbled on walls wherever they were stationed during World War II.

The new restaurant will reprise some Kilroy’s standbys, including 40 varieties of Long Island iced tea, 120 different shots and the famous stuffed breadsticks. Otherwise, the menu and atmosphere will be a bit more grown up, Murzyn said, “just a laid-back place to catch a game and hang out with your friends.”

“It’s not just going to be a college bar,” said Murzyn, a former Buffalo Wild Wings franchisee who now owns Britton Tavern and Casler’s Kitchen & Bar, both in Fishers. He’s also an IU graduate.

The former Smokey Bones has been vacant since 2007. (IBJ Photo/Robin Jerstad)

Murzyn plans to reupholster booths from the former Smokey Bones, give everything a fresh coat of paint, and add dozens of flat-panel TVs. He declined to say how much he will spend to build out the space.

The idea of expanding from a college-town staple into an alumni favorite is a familiar journey for Scotty’s Brewhouse, which opened a downtown location in January. The first Scotty’s opened in Muncie, near Ball State University, in 1996. It later expanded into West Lafayette, to Indianapolis and to Bloomington, where it opened in 2001 across the street from Kilroy’s Sports.

Scotty’s owner Scott Wise doesn’t see Kilroy’s as a direct competitor. At least in Bloomington, it’s more of a bar than a restaurant, with a focus on drinks, specials and disc jockeys.

He says a “high density” of restaurants can help everyone doing business in the area, and he expects another Indianapolis option won’t hurt sales at Scotty’s.

“The majority of our customers have dinner at our place, then go elsewhere to drink,” Wise said. “If it hurts us anywhere, it will be on IU game days, when alumni who come in now might go to Kilroy’s.”

The former Smokey Bones space has been vacant since May 2007, when Orlando-based Darden Restaurants Inc. closed it, along with a Smokey Bones in Avon, Rocky River Grillhouse in Castleton, Bahama Breeze along East 96th Street, and more than 50 other restaurants as part of a nationwide purge.

The Kilroy’s deal is a sublease with Darden. Three years remain on the initial term, and the new restaurant also gets the option to extend the lease for three five-year terms, said Steve Delaney, a partner with Sitehawk Retail Real Estate who brokered the deal.

The downtown space took a while to fill for a couple of reasons, starting with its large size compared to a typical restaurant space, Delaney said.

The other issue was Darden didn’t want to lease to an Italian concept (since it owns Olive Garden), a seafood concept (it owns Red Lobster) or a steakhouse concept (it owns Capital Grille). Only Capital Grille has a downtown location.

“Darden also wanted to make sure they had someone with adequate background in restaurants and net worth,” Delaney said.•



  • Kilroy's?
    Too bad this is a nice Denny's. Went to the Big 10 Tournament expecting "Kilroy's" and ended up in a strip mall bar experience. If I wanted a $12 cheeseburger I would have stopped by Capitol Grill first. What a joke!
  • Open???
    This was supposed to open in Oct and now it's mid November, did it open or not, has something happened

    I haven't been by the building for about 20 days, so possibly it's open, who knows
  • When does it officially open? I want to be there.
  • Will they be building a recreation of the "birth canal" from the original Kilroy's on Kirkwood? It was always a challenge to pass from the bar side, thru the opening next to the bar, to make it to the restrooms
  • Paul Murzyn needs to add the famous Hubly Hot Ham and Cheese to the sandwich portion of his menu!
  • I hope I don't recreate the scene where I lost the beer I drank right outside of Kilroys....

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?