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Closing of Loon Lake Lodge restaurant marks end of Laughner family era

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The Laughner family has closed the Loon Lake Lodge in Castleton, ending a 122-year run of owning restaurants in Indianapolis.

Chip Laughner opened the wilderness-themed restaurant with a seaplane affixed to the roof in 1998, after the family’s once-booming cafeteria business faltered.

The 13,000-square-foot building on 2.6 acres northwest of Interstate 69 and East 82nd Street is being offered for sale with an asking price of $2.8 million, said Steve Delaney, a principal with Sitehawk Retail Real Estate.

The Loon Lake Lodge NASA opened a science and math academy for minority and low-income students at Martin University. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

The restaurant chain Quaker Steak & Lube, based in Sharon, Pa., is considering opening a restaurant in the building. Hotel developers also have expressed interest in the site, which is near several hotels, including a Hampton Inn, Drury Inn and a Hilton.

Chip Laughner, now 55, said he couldn’t handle running Loon Lake after he suffered a stroke in 2005, and losses have piled up over the years. His 34-year-old son, Chad, and 83-year-old father, Charles, also had helped run the restaurant.

He said there are still Laughner family members in the restaurant business, including his daughter Stacey Laughner-Ramsey, who is managing partner of the Longhorn Steakhouse on Southport Road at Interstate 65.

The Laughner family operated the Laughner Cafeteria and Dutch Oven restaurant businesses, the last of which shut down in 2001.

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  • Honored
    Loon Lake Lodge was not just a restaurant. It was more of a magical experience that happened to serve great food. It was an honor to know Chip Laughner and I wish him the best. Farewell Loon Lake, you will not be forgotten.
  • It's ashame this place closed
    Loon Lake had GREAT atmosphere and wonderful food! I wish the Laughner's (Chip)would learn to run resturant's well, they should have been making $ hand over fist. The Dutch Oven was great too and they closed that up also! Too bad!!!
  • Gift Card
    I also have a gift card that I would like to see if I can use somewhere else.
  • gift card
    I have a Loon Lake Lodge gift card in the amount of $40.00. Is there anyplace that I can use it?
  • Loon Lake
    Great restaurant, Delicious food! Wonderful atmosphere. Would love to have some recipes,pie? Fabulous ribs!!!!

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

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  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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