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City Market set to oust 19-year tenant Enzo Pizza

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Enzo Pizza’s nearly 20-year run at Indianapolis City Market appears to have come to an end.

Directors of the historic downtown building have notified the longtime tenant that its equipment needs to be removed by the end of the day on Friday after Enzo owner Vincenzo Verderame declined to accept their latest lease offer.

The dispute stems from the construction of a bicycle hub in the City Market’s east wing, where Enzo was located. Construction on the $800,000 conversion began about three months ago and is part of a larger, $3.4 million project to upgrade the City Market’s main hall with new lighting, rest rooms and vendor stands.

To accommodate the bike hub, City Market directors tried to move Enzo into new space near the west entrance of the main building.

However, Enzo’s equipment sits unused in the space. The restaurant refused to operate in the new spot and has been closed for about five weeks.

Parent Enzo Pizza Inc. filed a lawsuit last month in Marion Superior Court, claiming “wrongful eviction” because City Market verbally agreed not to “forcibly” move the eatery to another space in the main building until its lease could be amended, the complaint alleges.

Enzo’s suit said the space is 20 square feet smaller than the restaurant’s previous location. Enzo further complained that City Market never provided architectural or construction plans for the space.

The restaurant also wanted an agreement specifying who would pay for the relocation and for any damages to equipment or property that might occur during the move.

City Market attorney Bryce Bennett said most of Enzo’s demands are unreasonable, if not impossible, to meet.

Building directors are moving forward with the eviction despite the pending lawsuit, which remains active. Bennett said he didn’t know whether Enzo will pursue the complaint. Enzo’s lawyer is out of town and could not be reached for comment.

Verderame did not return phone calls from IBJ.

The owner made an attempt to stay in City Market by countering the directors’ latest lease offer, but was rejected, Bennett said. He declined to divulge details of Verderame’s offer.

“They are not interested in the proposal we’ve made,” Bennett said. “If that’s the case, we need to have the equipment removed so we can put that space back into productive use.”

Both the main-hall and east-wing projects should be completed by mid-July, City Market Executive Director Jim Reilly said.

Enzo was the only tenant left in the east wing, and its refusal to move set work back about two to three weeks.

“We wanted them to stay; they’re good tenants,” Reilly said. “I don’t understand why this all happened. I never saw it coming.”

Enzo had been a tenant at City Market since 1992. It is a family-owned, Indianapolis-based chain that will have six locations remaining in Indiana and Michigan if the City Market restaurant does not reopen.
 
The company has one other downtown Indianapolis location, at 149 N. Illinois St.
 

 

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  • "I'll follow Enzo's"
    Linda, did you know about the 149 North Illinois location?
  • Good Bye
    Enzo makes terrible mall pizza. I don't begrudge them for being unhappy about being asked to move mid-lease by an organization as unsuccessful as the City Market. Still the Market will not survive without major changes and tenants must adapt or move on. Enzo was unlikely to have lost money or sales by moving downstairs and around the corner. The adult world runs on compromises. They are foolishly costing themselves money out of spite, but in the end will find a new location to sell terrible food.
  • correction
    I was talking about coverage of the City Market. Indy has a great food community and has WONDERFUL coverage of it. We have been the beneficiaries of that. I am just so tired of the only news about City Market to be slanted and incredibly negative.
  • No Success Stories?
    Cindy says no one ever reports on success stories, but you can see an example of one just to the right of her comments, a story on Monon Food Company. If you read IBJ long enough, you should know that there are plenty of stories on successes, even in the restaurant industry. I hate to see people, especially people I like, throw out off-hand, cynical remarks about the media when they are demonstrably untrue.
    • Thanks Cindy
      Thanks for the insider info.
    • Adios, Enzo's
      Joyce: It is not just a bicycle hub being put in the east wing. There will also be a fully functioning YMCA workout facility complete with showers. The increased foot traffic due to these improvements greatly outweigh any impact that Enzo's Pizza had (which benefits all the tenants of the City Market).
    • Previous reports
      Previous reports have said the City Market offered to cover the cost of the move.
    • Give me a break
      The funny thing is that if you talked to the brother who ran the place he will tell you how for 8 years they have been asking to be moved to the main hall. I am a CURRENT tennant of the market and LOVE IT!! Jim and Stevi are rock solid and put up with so much garbage. For those of you who complain about the market, how many of you have even been in there lately? There are some AMAZING new tennants - Natural Born Juicers, 3 Days in Paris, Cirlce City Soups, Circle City Sweets, Philly Pretzels. Some of the best food around. New tennants, new attitude. Too bad nobody covers a story about the success stories.
      • Give me a break
        The funny thing is that if you talked to the brother who ran the place he will tell you how for 8 years they have been asking to be moved to the main hall. I am a CURRENT tennant of the market and LOVE IT!! Jim and Stevi are rock solid and put up with so much garbage. For those of you who complain about the market, how many of you have even been in there lately? There are some AMAZING new tennants - Natural Born Juicers, 3 Days in Paris, Cirlce City Soups, Circle City Sweets, Philly Pretzels. Some of the best food around. New tennants, new attitude. Too bad nobody covers a story about the success stories.
      • Daphne - a song is born
        Sounds like a song is in your comment: "I heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend who, heard it from another...." Of course friends of the City Market are going to paint Enzo as the villain and vice versa. However, I would trust a tenant, any tenant over the bumbling folks who manage the Market. In 1984 or so, the market was a happening place. Was.
      • Uneducated - you bet
        Becky, I may be "uneducated" but I smell a rat. And my uneducated guess is that it is not Enzo. Call it a "gut" or a "hunch" but right is right and wrong is wrong. I can only imagine what will wind up where Enzo was (in the bike hub). We'll see.

        Uneducated Dave
      • Enzo's
        I've got a friend on the board of directors, and apparently it's a case of greed, but on the side of the pizza merchant. City Market paid for construction drawings from an architect, the ENTIRE move, the ENTIRE buildout of the stand (not cheap) and didn't raise the rent a penny. Hmmmmm. Enzo's apparently DEMANDED a 20-year lease. City Market would be crazy to take this deal. I say bring on a new merchant who doesn't take City Market for a ride!
      • Hard Heads
        Sounds like two businesses that simply couldn't come to terms. Happens all the time. Sounds like the city did what it could but the pizza place decided to try and play hard ball with city hall. Probably not the smartest move.
      • guess all day
        New lease rate was probably too high.
        Quote: "Vincenzo Verderame declined to accept their latest lease offer."
        But let's guess some more. Either parties weren't that great anyway.
        • "I'll Follow Enzos"
          LindaB. I agree about management. My family had a restaurant at the Market for more than a decade till management decided to sign a new tenant at the end of their lease. No option to renew their lease was offered. My family did not know a new tenant already pitched an over ambitious proposal to management which never came to fruition and eventually just copied my family's existing restaurant concept and menu. Who knows what kind of kickbacks occurred.
        • I'll Follow Enzo's
          When Enzo's finds another location downtown, I will patronize them. I very rarely go to the City Market anymore since the management has screwed things up so badly during their last couple of "improvement" projects.
        • Read the Lease
          PLJFAM agrees that Becky is right that you have to see the lease before deciding who is right, then PLJFAM proceeds to declare that Enzo's is wrong without seeing the lease. Ahem.
        • Uneducated
          Becky...for being "uneducated" you sure hit the nail on the head with your comment. The tenant has a lease, and unless it has expired or there is a clause allowing the landlord to do what it's doing...Enzo doesn't have much going for them...except of course public sympathy. Unfortunately, the court will decide if they haven't already and this issue will slowly go away.
        • City Market
          What a way to treat a long-term tenant and show potential tenants just what to expect from management. You would think these people would be worried about attracting good tenants, but no. The bicycle hub is an iffy proposition. No one on a bicycle is going to buy anything substantial from a City Market vendor. They are just looking for a place to park their bikes.
          • Uneducated
            It comes down to the rights of the tenant and lessor under the terms of the lease. Unless you guys know the terms of the lease, you don't know who is right or wrong. I suppose you think any entity trying to make money is greedy. Do you go to work to collect a salary because of your greed? Give me a break! Anyone running a for-profit business that isn't focused on maximizing earnings will never succeed.

            Enzo is claiming that they were told something verbally that should be honored; however, they clearly have a written lease. Their position seems vulnerable, but you need to know all of the facts before concluding.
            • Agree with Robin
              The City Market's handling of this is either Greed, hard headedness or meanness (or a combination) but I don't think that this one is over. Of course after this hub is built, someone else will probably get slid into where Enzo was. Money Talks!

              I say that Indianapolis should evict the present City Market managers instead of harrasing long standing tenents!
            • ENZO'S
              So the resturant's demands are unreasonable but the City Markets isn't? The city wants to move this business to a smaller location, pay the same rent if not more i'm guessing, not help cover the cost of moving all the equipment which i'm sure is not cheap and the City Market wants to act like they are getting screwed in this deal. You do not have my sympathy City Market especially after the kind of money that was spent to redo the market twice isn't it? Now you want to screw the small business owner that has been loyal to that location for 20 years. GREEDY!!!!

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