L'explorateur eyes downtown

March 26, 2008
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L’explorateurMore fuel for the local v. chain restaurant discussion: Chef Neal Brown is looking to move his popular L'explorateur restaurant from Ferguson Street in Broad Ripple to a new location near Monument Circle. He and his broker, Brian Epstein, have looked at several possible locations for the restaurant, including the former home of Nicky Blaine's at 1 N. Meridian St. Brown is looking for a location with higher foot traffic so he can also serve lunch. He opened L'explorateur, known for its innovative menu built around locally grown food, in May 2006. Brown also has been working on a new line of gourmet baby food.
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  • WOW. That would be a huge coup for downtown. While I'm selfishly giddy that L'Ex could be closer to me, I feel bad for Broad Ripple.
  • Local restaurants are too original and delicious, I'll pass.
  • Benjamin is funny.

    I love that plate. Do they actually serve on those?
  • What a get for downtown Indy that would be. It's probably the best restaurant in the city... most expensive, too.
  • Wow that would be awesome!!! Can't wait!
  • I think a downtown location will be great, more convenient to me and maybe more convenient to out of town visitors. I really hope they select a street level location with windows to the public.
  • I juist saw a restaurant downtown called Urban Element. Does that have any connect to Elements?
  • I don't think that they need the street view as much.....the last time I dined at the Palomino, the entire restaurant was mooned by 4 kids.......the old Niki Blaine's location would be nice and intimate.......
  • Cory, I don't think your clock is set right. It's 2 pm here.
  • That is great news for downtown! :)
  • Great for downtown. Bad news for Broad Ripple. It won't be long before BR is nothing but 6 square blocks of bars around BR Ave and Westfield, and the rest of it is empty.
  • GBow,
    Urban Element has no connection to Elements, whatsoever. Urban is owned by this adorable lady named Shea, who uses her grandmother's recipes for dessert. Yum!
  • The timestamp should now be fixed.
  • That would be a great move! We've eaten at Neal Brown's restaurant and loved it but Broad Ripple is not a very handy location for us. We'd much rather go downtown to dine. And another independent restaurant in that area would be most welcome.
  • To Shane:

    You mean you didn't order the Moon over your Hammie special at Palomino. Come on that could have happened anywhere, you could be flashed at a street level restaraunt in Broadripple. May be more enjoyable then moonings by four kids, but this isn't an excuse to not have street level view!
  • Mark:

    I didn't post the comment about the mooning due to fear of street flashing! haha I just think the old Nikie Blaines location would be great :)......a lot of foot traffic in the area...
  • Is anyone moving into the smokey bones restaurant space?

    Seems like it could be built up - and also I've wanted to try this place, but was too lazy to leave my downtown neighborhood. So... if you wait things out -they'll come to you...
  • Downtown good - underground downtown bad. I would love the menu of great Mass Ave restaurants expand. Make the Ave an even better destination.
  • That would be awesome for downtown! I am a big fan of L'explorateur! I was looking over the chefs blog and saw a little comment about the move and was hoping to learn more so nice work Cory for bringing this to our attention. I have to admit that I worry about such deep pocket corporate competition in DT, L'explorateur IS one of the best restaurants in the city but can they compete with those sorts of dollars? I for one hope the answer is yes.
  • I hope so, too, but it's going to take a lot of support from all the customers who profess to love it but never go there. Neal is very lucky to have investors -- and himself -- willing to look to the future with a move downtown. But I hope the community who loves him rolls out to make the numbers work. (And I hope he can find a whole new group of people who appreciate what he's doing.) It will be a test that I'm not sure Indy's ready for.
  • Braingirl, this would not be the first higher-end, innovative and independent restaurant to have a successful go of it downtown. And the residential base downtown is MUCH greater than it was even just a few years ago. I see no reason that L' explorateur can not flourish downtown. It's ironic how so many people on here bemoan the lack of vision here in Indy, then express their doubt about anything even a little innovative working here....... make up yer minds, folks!
  • Not to hijack but. Cory I meant what I said when you called Regions Bank today. I do love reading your blog. :-)
  • Not impressed.
  • Brick by brick, sorry to dissapoint you that this wasn't an applebees coming downtown...
  • #24, please see #10 and refer back to #23. I think Brick was talking about #22. IMHO
  • Thanks mobyhead! In case others were wondering, I also cover banking for IBJ.
  • Rents downtown are very expensive. That most likely why it is so chain dominated. Moving downtown would be a potentially risky proposition, though I certainly wouldn't complain about having another top notch independent restaurant there.
  • I think it is a great idea. Neal, don't count on much of your BR crowd to trek DT. But, the convention crowd will certainly support the concept. The big law firms alone will support lunch.

    The subterranean location not only worked for Nicky Blaine's, it was home (for generations) to the legendary King Cole restaurant.

    As the founder of NB's, I'll vote for the location... Neal, Qdoba 'confiscated' the existing vent - is there a practical method of venting a kitchen?
  • Hey Jimmy, thanks for the input, would love to get some more info from you.
    Please call me at your earliest convenience at L'ex. Thanks
  • I've been posting on IBJ for many monthes and I've never had copy-cat problems. At first I posted using my name, Helen(short for Helena) and then my SSC name(Unionstation13). I am now having problems yet again with a copy cat and my most recent name, brick by brick. After this post if anyone posts by Helen, Unionstation13, or brick by brick is NOT me and I ask you to NOT pay attention to them. I will not be posting in my typical style or name until this issue is fixed. Thanks and ttyl.
    Sincerely the girl who hates the City-County building.
  • I heard that the Irish Claddagh is closing I do not know if it is just the 96th street or all 3. Anybody else hear anything?
  • Whomever posted that in 30 was lying. I am me. Here.
  • I don't know Helen. I read your posts on www.Skyscrapercity.com and your style seems to have suddenly change. Your views also.
    Is there anyway you can prove to be Helen?
    Cory is there anything you can do?
  • This is getting ridiculouse. Why are all these copy cats???? What have I ever done to you?
  • I'm just saying that you don't seem the same suddenly with your writing style on IBJ.
    Is there a way to clarify this on SSC?
  • What? I think it would be best if you put a # at the end of your name so people don't confuse our posts. :)
  • This is getting out of control with the copy-cats. IBJ needs to do something NOW about this. I read these blogs but rarely post on here and I am posting now because its getting on my nerves. Either IBJ does something or I will no longer be getting my news from thise site and I encourage others to follow.
  • Folks: Let's stay on topic and stop talking about copycats. I tried e-mailing the poster originally known as Helen, but her/his address doesn't work. Now, the same person is posting as John, OttoBotto and Lafayettegal. Pick a name and stick with it, please.
  • If L'ex moves downtown I'll rearrange my budget to make sure I'm a regular patron. I'd be one now except that I HATE Broad Ripple and all it's chaos and confusion. This is such good news.
  • An update: Chef Neal Brown has an interesting blog post about his search for a restaurant site downtown: Check it out

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  1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

  3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

  4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

  5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?

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