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Busy chef plans new downtown Indianapolis restaurant

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The popular local chef behind Carmel’s Pizzology is outfitting the former home of Nia’s Deli at 38 E. Washington St. for a new restaurant called The Libertine.

Neal Brown says his new spot will serve “modern American tavern food,” along with Prohibition-era cocktails, craft beer and wine. Menu offerings—including octopus terrine, pork rilettes, a porchetta sandwich, seared foie gras and roasted beets—will be prepared in an exhibition kitchen at the end of a 25-person custom-designed bar.

Brown plans to bring in a couple of designers to look at the space, but he doesn’t expect wholesale changes to the façade or the interior. He is leasing the entire building in a three-year deal with 25 years of options, but he was coy about plans for the second floor, which is accessible from a second front door (a speakeasy perhaps?).
 

brown-neal-mug Brown

Drink offerings include: the Boot Strap, with W.H. Harrison Bourbon, amaro and sweet vermouth; the Dirty Little Whirlwind, with absinthe, Contreau, lemon bitters and orange oils; and Pimm’s Cup, with Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur, Cointreau, lime, mint and ginger ale.

Brown said he does not have a target opening date. He’s optimistic about moving quickly, though, since many of his planned updates to the space will not require government permits.

“I really have a lot of faith in that corridor of Washington Street,” he said. “The upside is unignorable.”

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