Local soul food favorite hopes to build new restaurant

May 9, 2013
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Kountry Kitchen
                              rendering 225pxKountry Kitchen Soul Food Place has filed plans with the city to build a new restaurant just south of its current location on the near-north side. Plans call for a two-story structure, large enough to hold banquets, to be constructed on a vacant lot near College Avenue and 19th Street. Kountry Kitchen is seeking to rezone the nearly one-acre parcel for restaurant use and also wants a variance to allow for outdoor dining, according to city documents. Kountry Kitchen owners Isaac and Cynthia Wilson did not return phone calls from IBJ seeking additional details about the project. Their request was set to be heard Thursday but has been rescheduled for May 23. Kountry Kitchen is a local soul food destination that's also popular with athletes and celebrities visiting the city. Its website and Facebook page boasts several photos of  distinguished guests over the years, including President Obama. The restaurant was founded in 1988 by “Ms. Jessie,” who loved to cook for her family and friends by preparing Southern dishes, the website says. The Wilsons since have taken ownership of the restaurant, whose many menu items such as shrimp, catfish, chicken, pork chops and cornbread are served the way Hoosiers like it—fried. Puzzello is the project’s architect.

  • Where's the Soul?
    Seems a Soul Food place should have a building that has soul...not a sterile medical office building.
    • Let them build
      Hope this goes through! That area needs some good momentum and investment! Next: Bring the red line all the way down college!! It will have more impact versus meridian corridor!
    • Much more inviting
      I hope this goes through! I predict business would be even better--the lack of streetfront visibility of the current location is a drawback. The building would be a welcome improvement on the vacant lot!
    • come on Paul
      you can do better than this.
    • massive parking lot
      Medical office building is a great comparison for this lackluster design. More importantly, if you look at the site plan, you'll see that the building would be dwarfed by a parking lot that covers almost the entire block. There is no front door, the only access is from the parking lot. Slapping down awful suburban design in city neighborhoods has got to stop.
    • Site Plan
      can you post a copy of the site plan? i would like to know if there will be outdoor seating option or just a big parking lot
    • Plan
      http://www.indy.gov/eGov/City/DMD/Planning/Zoning/Documents/2013_documents/HE_2013/5-9-13HE.pdf Large PDF, the item in question starts on page 33. The hearing was continued so they can change the site plan to include outdoor seating. (hopefully improve upon the above mentioned problems also.)
    • Breakfast!
      If you have never been, then get up one saturday and have breakfast there. Like scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage or pork chops, belgian waffles..... and a big country glass of OJ! now that can't be beat!
    • Now
      That is an ugly building design
    • Wtf!!!
      I just want to know what goes through ANYBODY'S MIND to propose such a building for this established 'soul food' kitchen? Maybe their food DOES COME OUT OF A CAN!?!? Lacks: heart, sense of place, flavor...and obviously SOUL. Grow up everybody and experience life outside of Indy a bit. It doesn't take much to build a new neighborhood soul food place That fits in with the community!!! Unbelievable and Embarassing. What is KOUNTRY KITCHEN paying their architect?
    • U-G-L-Y
      I also would like to know what Kountry Kitchen is paying this "architect." Anything more that 5 cents would be a ripoff.
    • 54 off street parking spaces
      Are we sure this isn't moving to Castelton or the Far Eastside or something. The upside is that with all this off-street parking, there will be no need for parking on College, and then there will be no objection to taking out space for dedicated rapid transit lanes. We'd just need to tear down about 1/2 of the other buildings on College and replace them all with parking lots.
    • Style?
      I'm really curious to know what style this would be considered? Anybody?
    • Wait
      Oh, I get it: this IS a joke!!! OK, I was worried for a few minutes. Can anybody please show the real renderings and site plan? Thanks
    • exterior looks like a confused mess...
      I'm so confused. Kountry Kitchen has a solid reputation. I've enjoyed eating there. This primary elevation lacks the authentic flavor that Kountry Kitchen is known for. Where to begin? Bizarre choice of color palette? Overly stripey/textured masonry? Disportionate windows and spandrels? Trendy wrinkle at the roof screen element? It's nice to see architects/owners in Indy trying to break new ground with exciting new designs and push the traditional envelope within the built environment. However, this hot mess is neither ground-breaking or remotely exciting. There's no sense of refinement to the scale. No sense of place or acknowledgement of vernacular. Not even so much as a suggestion of entry along College Ave. It's billboard architecture at it's worst. It screams first year architecture studio.
    • AT LEAST...
      At Least it's not falling into the copycat category that we see so much of. I guess you arent familiar with the building they are in now.What the heck is the suggestion of entry on College Avenue?
      • Scott wants to eat in a prison?
        I would suggest neither a prison/medical building or a piece of copycat architecture would be of the best interest for Kountry Kitchen. Let's call it what it is: this architect obviously isn't getting paid, lol! So Scott, would you think common sense might suggest looking at the old traditional storefronts along College Avenue for inspiration? Also, when building a new restaurant: atmosphere is just as important as the food. Whether its more practical to have the main entry in back (where the parking should be) a suggested front entry would make the place much more inviting (common sense?). The facade and window arrangement is horrendous. Are you actually going to argue that this proposal is OK just because it's different? Does this make it cutting edge and acceptable? Just a bit confused here. I guess this is what happens when King Park collaborates with LISC...and KOUNTRY KIRCHEN will pay more than they think for it. This city needs real leadership.
      • Who's paying?
        Micah, are you saying that the local CDC and LISC are helping to pay for this project?
        • not sure...just heard
          I just heard from a local architiect that LISC could be the case. Not sure if any of us will find out? Havn't heard from the so named architect or King Park.

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        1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

        2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

        3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

        4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

        5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.