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.


  • 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 am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

  2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

  3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

  4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

  5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.