Pioneering local chef Greg Hardesty is closing Recess along College Avenue in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood and turning the space over to another well-known local chef and restaurateur.
Hardesty, 48, will shut the doors to the critically acclaimed Recess on Feb. 18 after a seven-year run. The decision to retire, which he’s been considering for more than a year, caps a 25-year career.
“I’ve missed out on a lot of my family experiences and am ready to take on some new challenges,” Hardesty told IBJ.
Neal Brown, owner of two Pizzology locations and The Libertine Liquor Bar, has agreed to take the space at 4907 N. College Ave., creating a nearly seamless transition of restaurants.
Brown plans to bring his latest creation, the soon-to-open Japanese farmhouse bistro Ukiyo, to the space.
Brown couldn’t be reached for comment. But Hardesty said he contacted Brown about taking over the lease after deciding to close Recess.
“I love his concept,” Hardesty said. “His idea for this space is probably a better idea than I had.”
Brown apparently has dropped plans to open Ukiyo in Fountain Square, at 1031 Virginia Ave. in the former Skip’s Market building.
Brown told IBJ in September that he was close to finalizing a lease for the building.
Ukiyo will offer Japanese-inspired cuisine using as much local produce as possible, Brown said, with an emphasis on foraging. The restaurant also will have a three-way liquor permit and feature Japanese whiskies and Japanese-inspired cocktails.
Ukiyo, meaning "the floating world," refers to the urban lifestyle, especially the pleasure-seeking aspects, of Edo period Japan (1600–1867).
Hardesty said he might do restaurant consulting after the closure of Recess but has no plans to open another restaurant. Spending time with his two daughters, a sophomore at North Central High School and a freshman at Indiana University, is his priority now.
Before Recess, Hardestry opened H2O Sushi in 2000 east of Broad Ripple and farm-to-fork bistro Elements in 2003 in the Mass Ave district..