Louisville fried chicken chain plans Indianapolis location

Joella’s Hot Chicken, a Louisville-based restaurant chain with four locations in Kentucky, is planning to open an Indianapolis eatery and bar in mid-September, it announced Monday.

The restaurant is slated to open at 4715 E. 96th St.—along a busy stretch of road between Keystone Avenue and Allisonville Road—in the location previously used by 96th Street Steakburgers, which closed in late June after a dozen years in business.

Joella’s, which opened its first restaurant in September, has two locations in Louisville, one in Lexington and one in Crescent Springs, a small city about seven miles southwest of Cincinnati.

The eatery’s menu items include fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, sweet-vinegar slaw, garlic fries, kale crunch salad, black-eyed-pea salad, banana pudding and fried Nutella poppers.

The Indianapolis location is expected to include a full-service bar that will offer local craft beer.

Louisville-based EAP Restaurant Concepts, which owns Joella’s, said the restaurant plans to hire about 75 employees at a job fair in August. Starting wages should be about $13 per hour, it said.

Additional Indianapolis locations are in the works, EAP said, as are locations in Cincinnati and other Midwestern cities.

“Indianapolis is a great restaurant town and it just made sense to come here,” Tony Palombino, founder and CEO of EAP, said in a written statement. “We are very excited to share our super-premium chicken concept with Hoosiers and hope to grow and become a staple of the community.”

EAP also operates Boom Bozz Craft Pizza, a six-restaurant chain with a location in Carmel, and Manny & Merle, a restaurant and bar in Louisville.

Joella’s Hot Chicken is based on a popular special at Manny & Merle, EAP said. The chicken is offered at six different spice levels ranging from “Traditional Southern” to “Fire in da Hole.” Prices start at about $8.50 for a quarter chicken with two sides.

According to Restaurant Finance Monitor, EAP is planning six Joella’s openings this year, with startup costs of $350,000 to $500,000 per restaurant. Restaurants range from 2,500 to 3,000 square feet. The company expects unit volume of more than $2.2 million per restaurant annually.


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