Neal Brown out, Late Harvest chef in at Nora development

June 20, 2013
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Late harvest Ryan NelsonNeal Brown’s Pizzology Pizzeria & Pub won’t be coming to Nora Plaza after all, but another local restaurateur has committed to the space. Indianapolis-based PK Partners, which is leading a $2 million redevelopment of the 8,000-square-foot building that formerly housed Café Nora, says it was unable to finalize a lease with Brown. “We worked with Neal Brown and his team for many months and fully negotiated the lease,” PK Partners said in a statement. “In the end, Pizzology decided not to move forward.” IBJ first reported in May 2012 that Brown, who launched the pizza concept in Carmel in 2009, was interested in the Nora location. Brown could not be reached for comment. Meanwhile, Ryan Nelson (pictured above), chef/owner of Late Harvest Kitchen at Keystone at the Crossing, will launch his second local restaurant by anchoring the eastern portion of PK Partners’ Nora Shops West. The concept will be a chef-driven barbecue restaurant with a menu featuring various geographic regions of barbecue and focusing on sustainably raised beef and pork, according to PK Partners. Nelson again is teaming with PK Partners President Phil Larman, who also was the financial backer of Late Harvest Kitchen. Nelson’s new restaurant is projected to open in 2014.

  • Bummer...
    Was looking forward to Pizzology in this location. A BBQ place sounds like a great alternative, but I hope it's priced to be affordable for us common folk. Late Harvest is great, but it's anything but affordable...
    • Exciting indeed
      Always exciting to see a new restaurant within a short drive of my Carmel estate. I hope this is priced high enough to keep out the common folk.
      • Disappointing
        Nora is desperately in need of a locally owned restaurant as an alternative to all the chains along this corridor. I agree with wafflefries, though--can Neal Brown fulfill his vision in a way that will be affordable for the neighborhood folk?
      • Sigh
        Indianapolis is FULL to BURSTING with affordable restaurants. We have exactly, what, five restaurants that don't have a dollar menu? Don't worry, you're not losing your ability to get fed metric tons of food on the cheap if someone takes that count to six.
      • Love Late Harvest
        Late Harvest is one of the BEST restaurants in the city. So excited Ryan's expansion!
      • Love more options
        I am very happy to hear we are getting a different option. Pizzology is not a good as the hype. Looking forward to BBQ - I hope they stock the bar well....
      • Smart move
        Not sure another pizza place was needed, seeing as how Pap Murphy's has a location just a stone's throw east of there.
        • big deal
          I personally think Late Harvest is WAY overrated and overpriced. The food is very average and the price disproportionately high for what you get. I'm normally a fan of small, indepedent restaurants but not this one. Also, I have to laugh at how the use of the term of the term "sustainably raised meat" makes everyone feel better about their diet choice.
        • Seriously?
          Considering the portion size, ingredient quality, and expertise applied, Late Harvest Kitchen's prices are extremely low. I personally know several restauranteurs in town who wish that Ryan would raise his prices and stop making them look so bad. If you want cheap food there are plenty of other places you can go. Thank you to Ryan and Laurie for being such a gift to this city.
          • anyone else thirsty?
            Love the concept of this type of local restaraunt! What would make it better is to have a local brewery nearby!
          • Seriously?
            Are you being funny or are you really a stereotypical Carmel snob? We're trying to improve our image.
            • @ Law Partner
              Seriously? MaggieJune 20, 2013 1:07 PM Are you being funny or are you really a stereotypical Carmel snob? We're trying to improve our image
            • Bad choices for Nora
              What would be nice would be a new family restaurant in Nora. I'm old enough to remember the Sizzler, and I'm sorry that the owners of the Snooty Fox made some bad decisions that closed it down. There's nothing left in Nora but fast food. Another upscale restaurant in the general area is a mistake. I'll bet it doesn't last two years. Too much competition from Keystone at the Crossing and beyond.
            • Ruth Hayes
              I wonder what everyone's favorite NIMBY Ruth Hayes has to say about this...
            • Clearly
              We have differing definitions of "upscale." Nearly every restaurant on the 82nd Street corridor is what I would call "a family restaurant." I think the only place I've never seen a kid is in the bar at Ocean Prime and that's only because it's illegal. For now.
              • Family...
                OK, we don't have kids, and while I don't typically object to dining in a so-called family restaurant if the children aren't screaming at the top of their lungs while their apparently hearing-challenged parents choose to totally ignore them, I don't want to spend my money at so-called family restaurants. A decent place at a decent price for adults? Is that truly too much to ask?
              • [laughing]
                No Family wha?! ? Pap Murphy? Sizzler? Sizzler wasn't a restaurant, it was USDA utility-grade affliction... No wonder indy residents are (a) 30 lbs heavier than the median for a US urban population (b) a key test market for some of the most egregious food travesties marketers have ever invented (chili sundae anyone?) (c) 250 miles from the nearest...anything... Escoffier would even recognize. (Anyone wanna hit Les Nomades later? ) What we have here ladies and gentlemen, with rare exception, is a pretty frightening culinary wasteland given the size of our population – across styles, genres and ethnicities (this fact is on the list of reasons my firm's clients don't fly here, we fly to them. That and, well, they can't get a direct flight anyway.) The few bright spots are run by chefs and restauranteurs who might struggle both financially and mentally to do something as interesting as humanly possible with precious few choices of purveyors (hey, I love Smoking Goose too, but, jeez, on EVERY menu?) for an audience who wants to make embarrassing substitutions for their horrible, 3DS-weilding, and often frighteningly overweight children. I am therefore amazed and thankful that Ryan – or Neal or Regina or Greg – have even bothered to try and make a go of it here. It's a real gift to the city that they work their tails off 'til late in the evenings here when they'd surely find a more lucrative and receptive audience in places as close as Louisville, Minneapolis or (gasp!) Dallas. In fact, think I'll hit Ryan's place tonight. I'll be the one raising a glass to the nintendo-wielding kid.
                • RE: Scott
                  Scott, you hit the nail on the head!! Indianapolis is overrun with trashy places like Applebees, Chillis, etc. We need more places like this!!
                • Re:foodie dude
                  Sorry, but I do not consider $24-$30 entrees and $8 desserts to be priced "extremely low" by any standards. I'm certainly not clamoring for a family-friendly chain restaurant in this location, but something middle-of-the-road would be great. Of course, we are saying all this without a clue as to what Ryan is planning. So, again, I look forward to something new and LOCAL going here, and hope that it is priced so that I can afford to be a frequent patron. I have no doubts that the food will be wonderful.
                • SMDH...
                  Wafflesfries, you are SURROUNDED by middle-of-the-road (as torturous as that mental image may be). Ryan's price point is perfect, even low, for what he is doing which is a locally sourced menu fueled by ingenuity and skill (and, no, I don't work for him in any way, shape or form). If you can't afford, or can't justify, spending appropriate dollars on good food, fine. Just please stop acting like you have no other options in this middle-of-the-road food mecca.
                • Hmmm
                  Concept sounds intriguing. Awfully big space though! I'd portion it four ways: Family dining room, adult area with full bar, craft beer bar with small plate menu and maybe a modest retail section for sauces, utensils, books beer/wine etc. This can work if it's done with some zip and originality. Best of luck!
                  • space
                    I think they are re-facing and reconfiguring the entire space, thank heavens. It's then the chopped-off end of an 80's strip mall too long ;-)
                  • "ME"
                    So, do you live in Indy or NYC/Chicago? If you live in Indy, you sure don't have a clue what "middle of the road" price-points are... If the prices are the same as Late Harvest, I very much doubt its success. This is Nora, not Keystone or Carmel. It might be just down the road, but it's just far enough to make it "way out of the way".
                  • waffles
                    I travel to Seattle, Nashville, SF, LA, Las Vegas, Miami, St Maarten and France pretty often, and, honestly, if we're talking about "dining" and not just "eating," I don't see a lot of difference in menu price points between here and those cities. I think "Middle of the Road" in this discussion has more to do with the fact that there's comparatively more steakhouses, applebees and sports bars than there should be given our size and general quest for cosmopolitan respect. Really less about price points, as there are plenty of cheap eats in indy, and a few ain't bad (Bakersfield is downright addictive). But one of the most depressing experiences I've had at a dinnertime in recent memory is at 3 wise men in BR. They are what they are - a real "crowd pleaser" that pretty much defines Middle of the Road. I guess what I'm saying is that if this were Minneapolis or even Dallas, there would be a better restaurant sitting in that ICVB-featured part of town ;-)
                  • Oh dear
                    You'll have to refresh my memory on where I said Late Harvest was "middle-of-the-road." As you can see less than two inches away, I said their price points are low for what they do. For heaven's sake, what's wrong with having a few restaurants that strive to do more than provide a place for you to acquire cost-effective calories, especially when (as has been pointed out ad nauseum) Indianapolis is a vast sea of affordable family restaurants? Sheesh... Have a great weekend, everyone!
                  • Wow
                    Good Lord, if you can't afford the prices at Late Harvest or this new restaurant, then DON'T GO! There are PLENTY of cheap, generic, chain restaurants in every corner of the Indy metro area. Why should I have to suffer with another low-quality food option, just because you don't want to spend a little more for a quality dining experience??
                  • Good Lord Scott...
                    ...sorry you hate kids so much. And the rest of you too. Indy still is hardly a culinary mecca, but it has made huge strides in the last few years, and the gap between it and the perpetually overhyped Louisville is decreasing, not increasing. Considering how little Indy had to offer 10 years ago, why on earth should you go from 0 to 100 overnight? Besides, if you get out to the 264 beltway in Louisville, what do you see? Olive Garden, Applebees, etc etc (or even Rally's, Popeye's, according to Google Maps). But you make it sound like these other cities don't even know what Applebees is. Obviously we have to patronize the well-run among the local restaurants (and I don't consider every one of the chefs you listed to be remotely equally talented). But seriously--who is going to take their small kids to a place like Black Market? Or Bluebeard? It would be ridiculous for these restaurants to alter their menus in order to support the rugrats, who much prefer chocolate covered french fries at places like T.G.I. Fridays, Chili's, Cheesecake Factory, and so on. And that's the same everywhere you go. Even Broad Ripple, which genuinely seems to be losing out to places like Mass Ave and Fountain Square, still has more eclectic offerings than 3 Wise Men (on the edge of a strip mall, no less), but that the restaurant you choose to mention in order to reaffirm your prejudices.
                    • Losing
                      Love Mass Ave and Fountain Square. Yes they are winning and getting the innovative, eclectic restaurants. For a variety of reasons but the main one being the rent is still cheap! With the arrival of more national brands and deep pocketed locals converting and leasing bigger spaces landlords are asking - and getting higher rent rates in BR. The creative Mom & Pop/Local chef/College buddies with the great concept has been priced out of the Village. It's highly likely the same will happen to Fountain and Mass down the road. Such is the cycle of neighborhoods. Applebee's or Popeyes on Mass Ave? Be careful who you think gets the last laugh.
                    • Sass
                      I don't hate kids. Just American ones. ;-) Okay, actually just the ones who play Nintendo DS at the table, aren't taught to engage with the family and friends at the table, and will eat nothing but chicken fingers. And it's not just my meal they're rendering sour. By the time they grow up and enter the workforce, they have no idea how to be an elegant, knowledgeable and engaging participant in a business dinner outside of a Hamilton County brewpub. Which is fine, but, perhaps, an unnecessary limitation on their economic development ;-)
                    • Scott--good repsonse
                      Thanks for your response--and you recognized the problem might be cultural in regards to how we raise kids. It makes me think of that book "French Kids Eat Anything" or whatever it's called--at any rate, you probably COULD take an 8-year-old French kid to Bluebeard. But I still blame the parents on that. And citizen, you raised a good point--the edgy, experimental Mom & Pops need some REALLY deep pockets to afford the rents in Broad Ripple, which is probably why the culinary offerings in So Bro seem more interesting these days. Rent is cheaper there too.
                    • What about the other question...
                      My question is why couldn't Neal Brown get this deal ironed out? The article (and a previous IBJ article) makes it sound like the deal was good to go and now all of the sudden, its not going forward. What is the real story here?
                    • Scott
                      It seems to me that you aren't as familiar with the local restaurant scene as you'd like everyone to believe you are. While we aren't quite the food mecca that Chicago is, as others have pointed out - Indy has made great strides in that respect. Your contention that the "few" good places we do have would be much better off in Minneapolis or Dallas is simply ludicrous. There are plenty of people here, aside from just yourself, that understand and appreciate good food. Those restaurants are performing every bit as well here as they would anywhere else.
                      • Marshall
                        Re: "Those restaurants are performing every bit as well here as they would anywhere else." Sorry to say, but you are wrong. Most local restaurants still struggle. Not to the extent that they used to, but they still struggle. Even the ones that you think are killing it.

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                      1. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

                      2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

                      3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

                      4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

                      5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.