A happy conclusion to the saga of restaurant Calle 52?

September 13, 2012
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Calle 52 IndianapolisThe proposed restaurant Calle 52 is getting a new look and new name and is moving forward after two years of squabbles with neighbors. The original proposal for a more than 150-seat restaurant in the vacant former Movie Gallery location at 5215 N. College Ave. raised concerns among neighbors worried in particular about parking. The new plans are an apparent nod to neighborhood harmony. The proprietors now plan to divide the 6,000-square-foot space into two restaurants: Delicia, slated to open in mid-January and take most of the space, will open at 4 p.m. and focus on Latin-fusion cuisine and craft cocktails; and La Piccolina, scheduled to open in the spring, will feature traditional "street" food, Proprietor Nicole Harlan-Oprisu wrote in an email. "The restaurants will share a kitchen and an entrance, but will have different menus, design, focus and operating hours," she wrote. Construction is scheduled to begin in early October. Previous posts are here, here and here.

  • Horray!
    This is a very good thing. Lets hope that this new place plus the new Aristocrat will create a critical mass that supports filling the vacant storefronts around Taste and Red Key. BTW: should the neighborhood begin a collection to help the Red Key repair its neon sign? Discuss.
  • How does this resolve?
    How does this resolve the parking issues? If the kitchen is shared and is the same size, I would assume between the two different restaurants that the amount of parking would be the same as the single restaurant would be.
    • Parking
      Yes, where exactly is the "resolution"? So, instead of one restaraunt, it will be two. This doesn't change the parking load requirements. The only benefit to this is that there will be more menu to choose from. However, with (presumably) two order counters, that will mean less indoor seating for patrons. Honestly, I can't say that I see this as any kind of "happy conclusion". Surely this doesn't change the Aristocrat owner's opinion of this project.
    • Parking
      @PJ: the parking is resolved because the parking requirements are based on size (square-footage) of a restaurant. Yes, it's a technicality, but why prevent a business from opening because the city requires an arbitrary number of parking spots? If people don't want to go because they can't immediately find an open parking spot, then don't go. Now I have two new restaurants to walk to. A win for MK!
      • "Neighbors" plural?
        This article is a little misleading...the only "neighbors" who had a problem with Calle 52 were a business owner across the street who is a flagrant code violator himself, and one of his tenants. Wishing all the best for this new venture, can't wait to visit!
      • Details
        If you read the article it says different operating hours for both places, which means less of a parking demand at one time.
        • Re: C
          @C Ah, I missed the part about the alternating hours in the article. Thank you for clarifying!
        • Amen
          Amen...Congratulations to Nicole and her group for finally going forward. I do not presently live in that specific area of Indy but you can be certain that my family will be frequent visitors to any restaurant/venture in which Nicole is involved. These restaurants will be a blessing to your area. Embrace the greatness of this news and enjoy the wonderful food Nicole has to offer. If you ridiculously choose to oppose this announcement for ANY reason, then I suggest that you re-focus on the larger issues facing you in your life.
        • Parking?
          Great news. It's about time. Parking was the most ridiculous reason to hold this up. Just that tiny little lot they have gave them more parking space than Yats, Jazz Kitchen, Sams, and Twenty Tap combined. Parking is already a nightmare up there, but who cares. Is it really a problem when it is a result of thriving, vibrant commercial activity in the neighborhood (and yes I do live there). I would rather deal with parking hassles than watch prime commercial property sit vacant that long in my community. Cant wait to ride my bike over for some tapas and a margarita!
        • MK resident...
          Thinking that if the Red Key can't afford to repair a tiny neon sign then maybe it's time to call it a day
        • Lovely
          What a delightful addition to the neighborhood!
        • Can't wait
          Sam, I agree. If parking is an issue that aggrevates some people, then they can just choose not to be customers. I however, (when in town) dont care if i park a few blocks away & need to walk, I'm so excited to see their new restaurant(s) come to the neighborhood !
        • Redkey
          I must disagree with Ben Mumby re: the Redkey sign. In this day & age when so many businesses are struggling, it's wonderful to see this neighborhood watering hole still fight to survive. It is a part of so much history, that i think many people would graciously contribute $$ towards the sign repair.
          • DJ's comments
            DJ - I wish there was a *like* button for your comments. I agree 100% and can't wait to support the new restaurants !!
          • It's the residents...
            All the comments about parking cite the customers. To suggest that the only opposition came from the owner of Aristocrat's is ludicrous. Neighbors, myself included, from the surrounding area were actually the remonstrators on this project. The Aristocrat owner played a key role because he had to deal with encroachment issues on the property he owns adjacent to the Video store which exacerbated the issue. We residents will still have to deal w/ fighting to park near our homes because of the glut of new customers pkg. I don't appreciate the additional people who will be driving under the influence in an already crowded corridor.Hooray for what and whom?
            • Note to self:
              Don't skim articles. Sorry all, I missed the comment about the alternating hours, as well. An odd idea, and I still don't quite understand how that would really work, but I certainly welcome two more dining options in this area.
            • Parking
              Been patronizing the business at 52nd and College for 20+ years and have NEVER had to park more than 1 block away. These "parking issues" frustrate me. If people can't park right in front of their house they lose their minds. Street parking is public parking and you might have to walk more than a block to your house or to a restaurant after you park. It's not the end of the world, you live in a city. Looking forward to the new place and suggesting the Red Key close is ridiculous.
            • Reply
              @ Joanne: Having lived in Chicago, I can understand your frustration of not being able to park right in front of your house. However, would you rather continue to see empty buildings and lots w/ graffiti and garbage or thriving businesses with people spending money at local establishments?
              • Different hours of operation
                Note in the story that the solution is two restaurants sharing resources with different hours of operation, thus resolving the parking issue. Smart solution, really.
              • What?
                Or maybe Joanne should just move to the suburbs. I hear there are plenty of foreclosed homes with 2-3 car garages & a huge driveway to park. Now that's convenient! I find it pathetic how people get worked up about parking. Yet they never seem to admit the crime issues that face Indianapolis due to low density and lack of activity. There will NEVER be parking issues in MK. If you can't walk 1-3 blocks to your destination then drive out to the burbs or boondocks, stay there and have a great time!
              • It Was A Handful of Residents
                Joanne, my mom lives in the neighborhood. You may have been one of the remonstraters, but you and the other remonstraters did not represent the majority of the people who live in the neighborhood. Also, what ultimately held the Calle project up for so long was NOT the original remonstrance, but the ridiculous legal battle the Aristocrat owner fought--and lost. He wasted a ton of his money, which should have gone into his business or something else useful, and he cost the investors in the Calle project and the Indianapolis taxpayers money as well. And for what? All so even the Indiana Supreme Court could tell him that he was wrong and the approved Calle project was lawful. Joanne, you live in a city, get used to it. If you want to live among acres of parking lots, then move to a far-out suburb. Cities are meant to be somewhat congested, and city life should not revolve around automobiles and making endless accommodation for them. Even with the its parking issues, Meridian Kessler remains extremely low-density and easy to get around, it is not as if one more restaurant is going to suddenly turn the area into Manhattan, Chicago, or even Cincinnati. Also, the new Calle/Delicia is planned as a nice upscale restaurant, so for you to pull out the old bogey man of drunk drivers is just BS--there is simply no other word for it. Finally, be grateful that projects like Calle/Delicia are being built in MK. Your home is worth much more than it would otherwise be worth because it is located in a highly desirable city neighborhood. And, the neighborhood is highly desirable in large part because of the neighborhood amenities, which include the restaurants and shops in the area. People who want to live in a sleepy subdivision full of cul-de-sacs don't move to MK, and people interested in buying a home in MK want to be near restaurants, shops, bars, parks, and a short commute to downtown--they aren't interested in living in far-flung suburbia.
                • Thanks Chris
                  I'm glad Chris pointed out that not everyone feels like Joanne, who (unfortunately) is one of many with the common mindset that Indy should remain NAPTOWN. It's people like Joanne who keeps people from wanting to move and invest here. So, btw Joanne...what would you propose to fill in the vacant building? Or do vacant properties interest you? Also, no matter what type of business opens up there...doesn't that require vehicles to get to? Joanne's above comment is simply brilliant, and I would love for her to chime in again.
                • Calle
                  Operating hours being different and smaller footage does alleviate parkIng. The biggest problem had been owner accross tue street, heard very opposition for residents. Building has had to be empty and an eyesore due to aristrocrats owner having problems. He rents apartments above too, heard of several code problems too.
                • Encroachment?
                  @Joanne - You are sadly misinformed. The parking lot in front of the video store does not encroach upon Mr. Rising Moore's adjacent building - parking for that building was actually encroaching upon the video store property. Sounds like he was not happy to be losing parking, which was not his in the first place.
                • One more parking comment
                  One thing that would help alleviate the street parking issue is for the homeowners to use their driveway and garage. I live near this area and our street is lined with cars because the residents keep so much crap in their garage that there's no room for their car. Or they haven't maintained the garage for so long that it's dangerous to park in it. If you drive down the alley behind my house you'll see dozens of decripit garages full of old junk or dead cars. Come on folks, get busy and clean up/repair your garages and use them.
                  • Red Key Sign
                    red key revenue and profits declined once the smoking ban passed....perhaps the gov't can pay for a repair.
                    • Couldn't agree more!
                      Park your cars in your driveway or in your garage!!!!!!!!! geeeeeez!
                    • Red Key Smoking
                      No, perhaps they should come up with something else to provide their patrons besides a room to smoke in. If their revenues decrease because of the smoking ban, than maybe they should change their business model.
                      • ...change their business model?
                        Mark, Apparently you weren't aware that Mr. Russ Settle started his business-the Red Key Tavern after returning from serving in the Air Force during World War II. His effective business model drew people of all walks of life and even Esquire magazine. Sticking with a model that worked and not changinfg it is what made the Red Key a special place. That the city now directs what can happen inside a tavern is the big change.
                        • Aristocrat
                          Cory, Cory, Cory.....looks like you might still be on Calle 52's payroll. I have went back and read all of your blogs and it appears that you have never contacted Rising-Moore for his side of the story. Maybe he should advertise on the IBJ's web page or buy you a drink...is that how this works? Anyway, have you seen the new Aristocrat? That is a story you might consider writing about! It is something to talk about it...now pretend I just put $5 in your little pocket and write a real story!
                        • Red Key
                          Well, I suppose he can just invite all his buds over to his house to smoke. Or, better yet, they can open up a Red Key Cancer Ward. If you're losing business solely because people can't smoke there, your business sucks.
                          • Too precious
                            I just love reading huffy Property Line comments. All of you are just too too adorable.
                          • Seriously...
                            Don't hurt yourself climbing off your high horse Mark.
                            • "Seriously..."
                              What high horse? I'm just another messenger of common sense. If you can't run a business because people can't smoke, you're doing it wrong. Regardless, unless I've missed something, Red Key is still in business, and this article is about Calle52.
                              • change is tough to handle
                                So, I think this thread accurately displays our culture here in Indianapolis when it comes to any progress toward a slightly more urban environment: many people here can't accept it. While Indianapolis will never become a dense, thriving, walkable city...it has the potential to become more livable and DEFINITELY more interesting for outsiders to experience. Livability standards shouldn't be based on how big your under-utilized yard is, number of parking spaces required for a small independent business down the street, the myth that public street parking in front of your home is NOT PRIVATE, the hours of TOTAL SILENCE you experience on a daily basis, or the thought that the next bar or restaurant will automatically increase criminal activity(LMAO!). I'm glad I can go to a bar like the Red Key and not walk out smelling like a smokestack. QOL = the general well-being of individuals or society. Some of you people may need to get out a little bit more. Or, like I mentioned before, go out and hide in the suburbs where you may belong.
                              • I trip off you people!
                                Happy Conclusion? For Who? The old video store building could be used for a multitude of other commercial businesses. You people are so short sighted. The owner of the building wrapped it with fencing to prove that he does not have to share his parking. He must really care about the community. I wonder how many people contacted him over the years to lease that space or even to buy the building?
                              • the NIMBY Presence
                                Micah et al-- Everything you're saying here is accurate in terms of the NIMBY culture and how much it inhibits urban vitality. But you make it sound as though it's unique to Indy...or worse than other places. It isn't. Same stuff happens everywhere. A few years ago during a quick visit to New Orleans I saw signs in a mostly residential neighborhood (sort of similar to SoBro actually) about "Absolutely no more bars! NONE!" This is in New Orleans, of all places, where carrying an open beer down the street is a god-given right. Glad this scenario seems to have resolved itself, but since only two or three out of 35+ posters seem to take the side favoring NIMBY-ism, you might just want to tone down the self-righteous finger-wagging a bit.
                                • Who's wagging their fingers?
                                  Sassafras. So wouldn't you agree that the NIMBY, Joanne is the self-righteous finger wagger here? I agree with you that NIMBYism is everywhere, including New Orleans and even NYC. But to compare these places with Indianapolis is laughable. What's your point with the 2-3 out of 35 posters here: IT'S THE URBAN INDY BLOG!!! Do you think the majority of Indy residents have even heard of this blog? These NIMBYs are the majority here wagging their fingers at the most insane issues. So...who exactly needs to tone it down a bit? Wow, did I offend Joanne's next door neighbor?
                                • Right Next door
                                  It seems the issue isn't parking for people patronizing the new establishment, but parking for the surrounding residents. I live across the street and parking and traffic have already become a hassle with the re-opening of the Aristocrat. While I'm glad to have more dining options in the neighborhood, I'm not looking forward to having to park a block or more away from my own home.
                                • Red Key help
                                  I understand the Red Key is way behind in rent payments. Now is the time to get out and support this long time neighborhood institution. Much like George Bailey needed the town to help him, we need to help the owners of the Red Key. Go have a beer and a burger today, and tell your friends!

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