Patachou owner's pizzeria receives variance approval

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Cafe Patachou owner Martha Hoover can now move forward with plans to open a pizzeria next to her trademark eatery at 49th and Pennsylvania streets in Indianapolis.

The Board of Zoning Appeals voted 5-0 Tuesday afternoon to grant variances critical to Hoover’s new venture, called Napolese, that should be open by early February.

Hoover needed the variances to include an outdoor seating area for her pizzeria and because the plans include fewer on-site parking spaces than typically required.

“Without the variances being approved, it would have been very devastating to our business and the corner,” Hoover told IBJ. “That corner needs a lot of infusion right now.”

Hoover is leasing 1,200 square feet next to her original Cafe Patachou restaurant from the new owners of the Hamaker Building. The local investors, led by Bryan Chandler of Eclipse Real Estate and Greg Rankin and John Bales of Venture Cos., paid $1.5 million in December for the 12,000-square-foot building.
The group bought the building from Judith C. Kaczmarski and her husband, George, who owned the former Hamaker Pharmacy.

About 75 supporters backing Hoover and sporting Patachou stickers across their chests erupted in applause after the board approved the variances.

A handful of opponents, however, voiced reservations that the pizzeria and outdoor seating area would lead to increased traffic in the neighborhood, posing safety concerns.

They said they do not oppose redevelopment in the area, as long as adequate parking is available, said Clark Kahlo, who lives about four blocks from the project. 

“This is a size 10 foot trying to get into a size 8 shoe,” he said in remarks at the hearing. “This parking is a big deal. If you go there at any time of the day, it’s busy.”

But the city’s Division of Planning, which recommended approving the variances, said parking concerns likely would be alleviated by neighborhood residents walking or biking to the restaurant. Bicycle racks will be placed in the area to encourage that practice.

“Something like this is an urban planner’s dream, because it provides a number of amenities that people can walk to, bike to and drive to,” said Cameron Clark, an attorney representing Hoover and Chandler. 

Napolese will feature traditional, Neapolitan-style pizza. Neapolitan-style pizza originated in Naples, Italy, and is distinguishable from other types by its bread-like crust and unique texture.

Hoover faces one more obstacle in her plans for Napolese. The Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission is scheduled to hear her request Dec. 7 for a license to sell beer and wine. Hoover said she expects the same opponents who campaigned against the variances to challenge the alcohol license as well. 

Hoover’s Napolese would be the second restaurant she's opened within a year. In March, she launched her second French-themed Petite Chou, at the upscale Clay Terrace shopping center in Carmel. The other is on Westfield Boulevard in Broad Ripple.

Hoover opened her first Cafe Patachou—at 49th and Pennsylvania streets—20 years ago. She has since opened four others: in Simon Property Group’s downtown headquarters, at the Indianapolis International Airport’s civic plaza, at River Crossing near 86th and Keystone Avenue, and at 126th Street and Gray Road in Carmel.


  • Yup
    retribution, yes, even God hates Clark Kahlo.
  • open the door you might not like what comes in
    Glad there are people investing in 49th etc. but the bars will come after the liquor license, and the other parts of the building vacate for putting in bars(more revenue-rent). While this is fine for College Avenue etc. it is a different story for 49th which is surrounded by homes. So tell me how desirable it is to live around the restaurants on College etc. It isn't,that is why they are now rentals and other bars and restuarants. So, unless you live there and actually want this next door to you, you don't really count.
  • taste of medicine
    Ya, Melissa ,you are thanking god -for an ungodlike disparaging of another person just because they dared express an opinion......
  • Huh?
    Gotta love asinine posts like the one before mine. Just because a place has a beer/wine permit does not make it a "bar." You make it sound like people are gonna stop going to Rock Lobster and Chumleys and decide to start partying at Napolese til 3 in the morning.
  • Defeating the NIMBYs
    Discerning, your "rush to embrace" is actually neo-traditional. Neighborhood eateries were commonplace in urban districts until strict Euclidean zoning killed it, and Meridian-Kessler is (at least by Indianapolis standards) an URBAN residential area. Failing to pass something like this is a sign that the city would prefer to be staid and comfy, defeating "a good time" when it's a pizzeria, not a nightclub. But I guess some people would rather preserve the Indiana-no-place of the 1970s. Apparently most people in support of this variance chose to live in the neighborhood because urban amenities were close by. Heck, even the Stepford wives in Carmel are showing greater appreciation for walkability and mixture of uses.
  • Glad I don't live next door
    The argument wasn't about the restaurant -it is about the fact that on each side of these businesses are homes. Once the bar goes in, it will bring parking, loud people, cars, coming and going at night disturbing the residential area. But hey, what would you all care about that since you do not live next door. AS to "old"-well sometimes hindsight is better than a rush to embrace anything in the name of a good time.
  • Re: Great News

    Couldn't agree more. If our neighborhood residents can't find spots within walking distance of 49th and Penn then move to the Villages of West Clay and out of the urban oasis. This is one of the best things to happen to MK in awhile and as a resident I am tired of all the "old timers" fightin progressive change. If you don't support or like what MK has evolved into then sell and move out. Thanks for helping us get to where we are but stop the nonsense and support the future.
  • Can't wait to try it, but...
    ...what about that name? Pseudo-Italian? Napolese doesn't mean Neapolitan. The correct Italian word is Napolitano. Martha's French has always been impeccable but... :-) As long as the pizza is good, Neapolitan/New York-style pizza she may call the place whatever she wants! :-)
  • The corner has never looked better
    After 40+ years in the neighborhood, I am glad to see "the corner" get a makeover. If a small parking variance and a 2-way license are the only concerns, then let's get them through rapidly so we can enjoy our small community even more. Martha Hoover runs great operations and has been an asset to the neighborhood for years. Let's give her a chance to prove it to us again.
  • Great News
    I can't wait to WALK and BIKE from 40th street to another food option within distance of my residence. Bike racks would be a welcome addition. I'll be glad when these anti-urbanists move the hell out of an urban center. more parking is NOT what we need. If people have trouble parking from 4 blocks away, then they need to walk a little.
    • Victory for Meridian Kessler
      Great news for Meridian Kessler neighbors! Thank you to Martha Hoover and Bryan Chandler for investing in Meridian Kessler. Walking to Napolese to dine in a family friendly atmosphere...how fun... can't wait!
    • Ugh
      Clark Kahlo is like a cancer on the city of Indianapolis. Thank God he has been defeated again.

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