High overhead does in Carmel Shapiro's

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Shapiro’s Delicatessan will close its Carmel eatery effective Monday after years of struggling to make ends meet.

The venerable restaurant’s operation at 808 S. Meridian St. in Indianapolis and an Indianapolis International Airport outpost will not be affected, the company said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

Closing the location at 918 S. Range Line Road in Carmel was a “strategic decision” that will allow Shapiro’s to focus on its flagship downtown restaurant, which specializes in sandwiches and other Kosher-style dishes.

“My family and I worked very hard for more than a decade to sustain the Carmel restaurant,” company President Brian Shapiro said in the statement.

Shapiro’s built the 11,500-square-foot restaurant in 2001 and was the first occupant at Carmel City Center, but nearby development occurred more slowly than expected.

In 2010, the Carmel Redevelopment Commission bought Shapiro’s $2.5 million mortgage, and the company began making payments to the CRC.

Eventually, it fell behind and stopped paying taxes on the property. The CRC settled an overdue tax bill of $8,138 in January to protect its interests; another $3,944 was due last month.

Brian Shapiro’s BJS LLC remains the 98-percent owner of the property, but Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said Shapiro is in the process of signing over its stake in the building to the CRC to avoid foreclosure.

“If he’s not going to oeprate a restaurant there, there’s not much point in continuing to own the building,” said Ice Miller attorney Tim Ochs, who was fielding media inquiries on Shapiro’s behalf. Ochs declined to answer questions about the company’s debt or payment history.

The city now is weighing a couple of options for the building, Brainard said. It could use it in whole or in part to house city offices. Employees now "are stacked like sardines," the mayor said. The second option is to sell the property.

A consulting invoice from CRC Executive Director Les Olds filed with the city includes several references to Shapiro’s, including an April 23 note that he was beginning to prepare a request for proposals for the sale of the property “with an anticipated June or July 2013 bid date.”

The Hamilton County Republican Party's June Breakfast Club meeting, scheduled for Monday at Shapiro's, has been moved to Stanford's Restaurant in Clay Terrace.

City Councilor Luci Snyder said the building cost more than $200 a square foot to build, and nearby development wasn't as quick to take off as initially expected.
She said Shapiro's had great sales, but too much space. There's been talk of it closing for several months.
"The long and agonizing death throes appear to be at an end," she said.

The assessed value of the property was $1.4 million in 2012, according to county tax records. CRC officials were working to get a new appraisal this spring.

“It’s really too bad. Shapiro’s is an institution,” said City Council President Rick Sharp. “In the end, the overhead involved with supporting a building of that size was just too much.”



  • Really true
    The rent really was $1000.00 per month. Wouldn't you take advantage of that offer and make sure it was paid on time? The problem was the poor management.
  • john
    Look, don't sugarcoat it. Tell us how you really feel:)
  • YES! Return to 86th!
    Loved the restaurant at 86th and totally agree that the Carmel location felt "wrong". I have the feeling that alot of businesses that are trying to crack the hugh overhead nut that is Carmel will not survive.
  • Not Surprised, same story as Township Location
    The place went downhill years ago. It was dirty, half the lights were out, and with the type of food he served, if you don't have turnover, the food got old....and all he did was pack it up for the next day. He let the same thing happen at Township, except he thought he could go anywhere....well, if you don't keep the place clean, and overcharge, you wind up going out of business. At least Jason's is clean. The bakery was way overpriced as well. Location was marginal, his ego made him think being a Landlord was the answer.....well, how you like that now Brian?
    • So Sad
      I really enjoyed this restaurant. I will miss it. You could always see me in there on Friday for lunch celebrating another good week. Where will I treat myself for lunch now? Jasons?? Doesn't even compare.
      • John's right on
        I was a long-time patron of Shapiro's. Every year for many years my birthday cake was their carrot cake. My last visit was a few months after I retired. I had a sandwich, can of coke, piece of carrot cake and a small side of mushrooms. It was past $20.00. Retired people, who were a large part of their patrons at the 86th Street location, cannot afford regular visits at that price.
      • Sad state of affairs
        Whatever the reason Shapiro's is closing in Carmel, having your attorney serve as your spokesperson/PR counsel is a real bad idea. You can get a person experienced at working effectively with the media at half the cost of a high-priced lawyer. Kind of like overpaying for a sandwich. Oh, wait.
      • Bummer!
        I have been going to Shapiro's since I was 4 years old. The restaurant business is very difficult today. The price of food on a wholesale level has skyrocketed over the years. Shapiro's was using the highest grade meats you can buy. With a 11,000 square feet of overhead does not make it easy. I don't understand people bad mouthing the food, price maybe, but the qualify of food has always been excellent. Shapiro's is the only place in town, I don't mind standing in line. Looks like I will be heading downtown!
      • Indy misses you
        I hate to see a locally-owned restaurant close, but I'm not suprised. I love the downtown Shapiro's and loved the 86th St. location. The Carmel location had none of the character (or customers) of the downtown deli. The 86th location was always busy, especially at lunch. Perhaps Shapiro's will consider a return to No. Willow/Greenbriar area?
        • Rent and taxes
          To suggest that businesses and residents will move out of Carmel because of high taxes is premature, but that day is coming.
        • Earth to RKW
        • Wrong
          Carmel's taxes are about the lowest in the state, a small fraction of what a business pays in Indianapolis. Plus, the water and sewer bills are far less too. To suggest otherwise isn't accurate.
          • Too bad
            We've all seen this too many times. Kid(s) take over a business built by their fathers and grandfathers hard work and sweat equity and proceed to slowly run it into the ground. Happens all too often.
          • Rent
            It has previously been reported in more than out outlet that Shapiros was paying $1,000 month rent plus percentage of sales. I'm sure many restaurants would love to had this type of deal.
          • Bad Business Decisions.
            Shapiro family made a horrible decision regarding the location of the restaurant and they paid an unbelievable " $200 a square foot to build" (!). It was doomed from the start and time was the only factor regarding how long. City Councilor Luci Snyder said the building cost more than $200 a square foot to build
          • Clueless
            Many of you posting that would think the rent is somewhere around $1000 per month are clearly clueless what commercial real estate costs. I promise you, there electricity bill alone was north of $2000 per month. An 1800 sq foot inline location in Fishers/ Carmel will cost anywhere between $3000 to $4500 pet month. This was 11,000 sq feet - I hate to think what it cost and then pile all these property taxes on then I'm sure the 20% late fees and penalties. Almost impossible to make it work any longer...
            • Agreed
              The only time I went to Shapiro's is when a salesman was taking me to lunch and they got to write it off. They've always been far too high for my budget. It's no wonder they've failed, in this economy you can't expect to sell 12-dollar sandwiches and have a thriving business. ANY restaurant with that mentality is going to fail.
            • Not Surprising
              I can't say I'm surprised. Shapiro's has always had a reputation that far exceeded the actual quality of the food it serves - which is mediocre at best. The poor quality of food is catching up to people's perceptions of Shapiro's. And, in addition to being mediocre, the food is horribly overpriced. It was a prescription for failure.
            • Way Overpriced
              Maybe if their food wasn't so overpriced they could have established a better customer base. I work in Carmel and frequent many restaurants for lunch. I went to Shapiro's once after it opened up yhere and ended up pay $20+... for a cafeteria-style lunch! Never went back to the place.
              • Carmel too Expensive
                What this really proves is that in the long run it will now be very hard for carmel business's to survive with the taxes and realty prices because of all the construction and "design" in a small indianapolis suburb!!! Wait till all the people move out of carmel when the get their "new" tax bills in a few years when all that money spent has to be paid! There are several empty store fronts in carmel's "art and design" district already! I mean how can anyone make it with "strong" sales and you just can't afford the space, tehy were always "busy" It's a bigger problem than Shapiros too bad they are just the first big company to bow out!
                • Earth to commentors
                  Get real. The rent was not $1000 a month. Common sense tells me that was $1000 over rent, to make up for arrears. That, or it was a total mistake by Andrea in the posting. Yes, I also wish they stayed at their old 86th street location. I have always suspected they were sold a bill of goods by Carmel. Concerned about subsidizing of businesses by Carmel? You can be sure that many businesses in the city center development are receiving sweetheart rents for the first couple years to get the space rented up. I bet you some of those businesses that moved from 116th and rangeline to city center, will soon wish they never moved. We eat (or rather ate) at Shapiros 2-3 times a month. I will miss them on the north side. Perhaps they will find a better location with more reasonable rent in the future. Until then, its downtown once a month or so.
                • Way way way overpriced
                  You were spending $15 for lunch at Shapiro's if you got a drink. AND you could never find a table because they burned half the building on a bakery nobody patronized. AND everything is "a la carte," so your sandwich by itself was $10. ...Is anybody surprised this business failed?
                  • Great Sales
                    Yeah, I'm sure sales were wonderful. They didn't have enough money to pay the equivalent of rent for an 800 sq ft apartment Downtown.
                  • Rent
                    I really doubt that their rent was $1000 per month, look carefully and see it was the monthly payment that were to be increased... on the arrears!
                  • sad but inevitable
                    I represent the fourth generation of my family to have grown up on shapiros. However, Brian made the mistake of moving from a location where his buisness was solid and steady (86th and Township line with tons of doctors offices and a huge hospital across the street) to an area of town where the demographics of his customers simply don't live. Add to the fact the quality of the food at the Carmel location was simply not up to snuff. The downtown location continues to serve good food at good prices (his uncle Max's slogan) after more than 90 years, but sadly, I saw this coming from a mile away. Add to the fact a ridiculous social media campaign (how much did they pay for THAT??) and it spells doom. Somebody ask MCL(which now occupies the former Shapiros space) how they're doing. There is a restaurant pad available near their old location (it's hosted various restaureants over the years) which I think would work well for them, should they choose to get back to their roots.
                  • Wha?
                    What in the world is the City of Carmel doing financing and subsidizing this business? How much more of this is going on in Carmel? How does one sign up to get on this program?
                  • Cheap rent
                    'Great sales but too much space'? They were only paying $1,000 per month rent, how could they not make rent payments?

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