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2013 Forty Under 40: Edward Battista

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Battista and his partners want to build a viewing stand at the bridges where interstates 65 and 70 split near Fountain Square, using seats from the old Bush Stadium and recycled RCA Dome roofing material for an overhang.

Age: 28

Owner/Manager, Bluebeard

Edward Battista owns the trendy Bluebeard restaurant in Fountain Square and is in the middle of law school at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law at IUPUI. The last time he slept, he jokes, was two years ago.

“I like it that way,” he said. “I enjoy what I do.”

Battista grew up in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood and went to Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, then Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. In high school, he worked at the Broad Ripple location of Bazbeaux, the pizza restaurant, as kitchen manager and helped his father, Tom, rehab houses and commercial properties (including the R Bistro location on Mass Ave).

He grew to like the idea of owning a restaurant.

His initial idea was a bakery, so working with some partners—and with financial help from his parents—they planned to open Amelia’s in Fountain Square. Then, one day last winter, Battista read a story in IBJ about a liquor license auction. His partner and best friend John Adams suggested pursuing a license. They did and were successful, which was the impetus for broadening their plan to include a restaurant.

Bluebeard opened June 22, at which point Battista needed to lighten his law school load. He still plans to finish in 2013 and sit for the bar exam, but law probably isn’t his future.

“When I first started law school, I liked the idea of being a lawyer ... but sitting behind a desk and writing all day isn’t my forte,” he said.

Instead, he intends to apply his law degree to business and property development.

“I want to keep finding cool, underutilized buildings like the one the Bluebeard’s in and keep doing rehab of existing structures with interesting uses,” he said. “I want to build community-based development. I want to build a whole community and bring up a whole area.”•

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