2014 Forty Under 40: Micah Frank

Lou Harry
February 1, 2014
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frank_micah_1col.jpg (IBJ Photo/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Education: Initially, Frank’s focus was on landscape architecture. “I appreciate good architecture,” he said, “but I knew in my fourth year at Ball State that I didn’t want to work in an office. I thought the kitchen was a more creative place for me.” Early stints include work at the Hayloft, housed in a barn in Plymouth.

Farm fresh: “I didn’t grow up on a farm, but my grandparents did, so I always remember those farm-cooked meals. I still gravitate toward comfort food.”

European tour: After college, Frank traveled to Europe, with stops in Spain, France and Italy, eventually working at St. John Restaurant in London. “My goal was to get into my favorite restaurant and that was my favorite.” He worked for free with the goal of gaining experience before coming back to the U.S.

Developing a culinary esthetic: “I’ve been fortunate,” Frank said. “I was lucky to work under Tony Hanslits, Regina Mehallick and Greg Hardesty. They all have my philosophy of keeping good-quality ingredients and not overdoing it when cooking them.” While you always have the competitive side of people, he added, overall the people he has worked with in the independent restaurant scene have been supportive. “They want to see Indianapolis grow and, right now, Indianapolis is experiencing a sort of renaissance and it will continue to get better.”

AGE 39
Hometown: Plymouth

Family: single

Working down the block from former employer R Bistro: “The space itself was the perfect size for what I wanted to do. It’s pretty much about timing, though. It was a video store and, obviously, didn’t make it.”

Avoiding burnout: For many restaurateurs, shifting mental gears from creatively launching to sustaining poses a big challenge. “For Black Market,” Frank said, “I’m very lucky to be able to have the creative freedom to do what I want with the food. We keep things changing all the time.”

Friends don’t let friends eat free: “A lot of businesses fail because [the owners] give out free food and drinks all the time,” Frank said. “If we were all millionaires, we could do that. But we’re not. Luckily, my friends and family come to Black Market for good-tasting food and drinks and great service. They don’t expect free.”•


  • Black Market Peanut Butter
    Frank, I have been to Black Market. One of the best items you have is that Peanut Butter that goes with the pickels. If you really want to make it big, put a private label on it and start selling it by the jar. Your server would not sell me any and was rather rude about it. I won't go there just to buy the pickels but if you start selling jars of the peanut butter, I just might become a regular.

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

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