New downtown restaurant lands Bluebeard culinary whiz

April 17, 2014
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A high-profile chef who’s been out of the kitchen since late last year will be preparing dishes for a new downtown restaurant set to open next month.

plow anchor 225pxJohn Adams, former co-executive chef of Bluebeard in the Fletcher Place neighborhood, will man the menu for the Plow & Anchor Restaurant. The eatery is taking the first-floor retail space in The Ambassador apartment building just north of the Central Library.

The 2,800-square-foot space at Ninth and Pennsylvania streets last was occupied by The Bar and has had difficulties keeping tenants.

But Plow & Anchor owners Derek Means and Craig Baker are no novices, having built quite a reputation at their Local Eatery and Pub in Westfield. The gastropub (tavern food with an artisanal twist) focuses on ingredients sourced from central Indiana farms and other local vendors.

“Craig and I feel like we’ve done a pretty competent job at The Local and we’ve brought an amazing chef in with John Adams,” Means told IBJ.

ambassador pow anchor 225pxAdams left Bluebeard in November after helping it become one of the city’s hottest dining spots. It opened in June 2012, focusing on contemporary American cuisine.

At Plow & Anchor, he’ll oversee a farm-to-table concept similar to that of The Local, with a focus on seafood (the "anchor") and Indiana-sourced produce (the "plow").

The restaurant will seat 74, about half the capacity of The Local. The smaller space lends itself to the downtown demographic that slants more toward a younger crowd without families. Means described the atmosphere as “elegant but casual.”

The interior will be completely remodeled and the kitchen expanded, Means said. They’re shooting for a May 5 opening.

Buckingham Cos. bought the six-story, 60-unit Ambassador from the library in 2008. Built in 1924, the building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983.

“We looked at a lot of different places [for the new restaurant],” Means said. “But we felt like the partnership with Buckingham would go really well. Craig and I both love the building and the restoration that Buckingham did.”

  • good luck!
    Hope it works and good luck! Lack of parking and transient-homeless neighbors seem to be the real challenge.
  • will there be
    a bar concept attached? Best of luck to y'all.
  • Adams out of Indy, not kitchen
    Just a small amendment to Scott's story - John Adams has been gracing kitchens in Louisville since he left Bluebeard. He has not been out of the kitchen. His latest Louisville venture was as chef de cuisine (I believe) at Proof, a high-end Louisville restaurant. It will be good to have back in the Indy restaurant scene.
    • parking schmarking
      Kent, Bluebeard in Fletcher Place has absolutely no parking and does just fine. Better than fine. This suburban "there's got to be lotsa parking mentality" is far more of a threat to downtown Indy's long-term viability. The previous restaurants at the Ambassador tanked because they are bad, just like 36 East "Irish Pub and Grill" will inevitable fold soon because it gets horrible word-of-mouth, while The Libertine right next to it does great biz (and has the exact same parking challenges). Datsa Pizza has hung in there for many years, and Urban Element was more than a flash-in-the-pan. In an era of online retail, people are more than willing to travel for a distinctive restaurant experience.
      • parking schmarking... schmarking
        Sassafras, you're describing an ideal world, but you really can't deny that Indy is full of the suburban mentality that you're ranting about. Don't fault Kent just for pointing it out. Indy loves its parking and loves to show it. And hey, maybe someday we'll have some good public transit to support those businesses. But, not anytime soon. It's definitely a major challenge the spot faces.
      • Mr. Adams' whereabouts
        Jim: I appreciate your pointing that out. Thanks.
      • Parking
        There is plenty of parking at the Library. It might not be open late, but you can always park there.
      • Good news!
        Good luck with the new venture. Hope there will be gluten free options as well.
      • Parking not an issue
        I've lived downtown for the past ten years and I am familiar with the location. I don't see parking as an issue but it is not a great location. People who live downtown will frequent the restaurant but people coming from the burbs what to be where there is activity and energy. There is nothing going on in that area. John Adams could prove to be a draw, though, given his reputation.
      • Parking schmarking... schmarking... schmarking
        I agree with Sassafras on this issue. Luckily, I think we are starting to turn a corner and a more urban mentality is finally (if slowly) being realized in this city. The proliferation of new downtown housing stock is helping tremendously. Like Sass said, quality will negate any perceived lack of parking. There are MANY great places downtown that do quite well with very LITTLE parking.
      • Perfect spot
        This place only seats 74 and fills a void in a great area. Those of us that live near this area will love having a good place to eat and drink there. Parking will be easier here than on Mass Ave or in the Wholesale District. There are million dollar condos three blocks away, so the comment about transient homeless neighbors is pretty irrelevant. The suburbans can drive right past this great place, go park in a garage, and go to Dick's last resort, California Pizza Kitchen or another chain. This restaurant will be very successful without them.
      • Great News!
        I too am a downtowner and I'm close enought that I can walk over. Ohh, I have a place to stay so I'm not homeless either. I've missed having something in this spot. I did frequent The Bar before it closed and while maybe not 4 star quality, it was an option for that area with good people. If these guys can make this work hopefully other businesses will eventually follow.
      • @Sass & Jake
        Thanks for standing for me Jake, Ha! Sass the parking has been 'part' of the issue for previous eateries, and the derelict street folks have another 'part', neither have been the total problem. A great chef, and great environment, might be the real answer to success. 9th & Penn is not Virginia Ave., and it is tight and not very visible, and has no real synergistic retail-food neighbors, that remains an issue. If the new place does not rely on lunch to stay in business, then more power to them. Can't compare location this to Bluebeard just because the chef was both places.
      • Parking
        The library is currently in the midst of installing an elevator to their 2-story underground parking garage so that people may use the garage when the library is closed.
      • Homeless
        I've noticed the homeless & transient people in the area but it,'s mostly been in the mornings as they wait for the methadone clinic to open at 9th and Meridian. With the exception of alleys and the legion mall I don't think there will be problem unless you're walking after dark in those areas. The food will be great.
      • welcome
        Sounds like an interesting idea we have not had in this area before. Thankfully, they are improving "The Lodge" across the street as it was an eyesore. What is the news on the opening of the Ethiopian resaurant going in across the street next to the Lodge?
      • Brilliant-new Anchor
        But by Anchor, I mean this talented new restaurant collaboration could easily be the new anchor business to freshly invigorate this awesome little, almost secret, gem of a location. Going well beyond just a nice healthy, happy place to eat. I see many other entrepreneurs newly seeing this location as a great new place to be with fresh, happy money. I also see those shops and such there now flourishing beyond expectations. Mark my words, something small and great has started here, lets go enjoy some great food and change the world.
        • Downtown is developing
          This is great news for Indianapolis' independent restaurant scene. It's nice to know businesses like Plow & Anchor and others that offer something unique will thrive due to the resurgence of downtown livability! High density residential developments will help sustain business for places like this.
        • Streetscape needs enhancing
          Sounds like this may be just the type of destination spot that this section of Penn needs. However, ppl shouldn't so quickly dismiss the concerns folks have raised. That 2-3 block section just doesn't have a visually appealing streetscape. Fair or not, it just feels (and often looks) dirty and not well taken care of. Contrast that with the fresh visuals you get on the street outside Bluebeard.
        • Ahh the parking trolls are out
          Every time there's an article about something new coming to downtown, there are people refreshing the IBJ page so they can be the first person to post "but there's no parking!!!1one". God forbid anyone walk. Starting this week, you can also use the Pacers bikeshare (another idea that's clearly doomed to fail since there's not enough parking near the bike docks). By the way, there's a Pacers bike share dock 1 block from this restaurant. And you can always park at a meter. If none of those options works for you there's always Applebee's...
        • John's Whereabouts - Detail
          In Louisville, John worked briefly at Chef Edward Lee's Milkwood, then was offered the position of Chef de Cuisine at Proof on Main St., located in Museum Hotel 21-C.

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        1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

        2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

        3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

        4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

        5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.