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New restaurant expected to open in Union Station space

November 9, 2018
Union Station

A new, family-friendly restaurant and entertainment space is slated to move into Union Station in downtown Indianapolis in the coming months.

The yet-to-be-named venue will occupy more than 23,000 square feet in the historic railroad station, in the area that housed Cadillac Ranch bar and restaurant and the adjoining Bartini’s lounge before they closed their doors at the same time more than one year ago.

Initial plans for the project, and the lease for the city-owned space, were discussed during a public meeting of the Metropolitan Development Commission this week.

Sean Cahill, who will own and operate the restaurant, told the commission the space will cater to a crowd much different from the one targeted by Cadillac Ranch. The venue will offer a variety of family-friendly games and activities, including duckpin bowling. The space is two to three times the size of a typical sit-down restaurant.

He said while the space will include a bar element, there will be a heavy reliance on food sales to generate revenue. Cahill said his goal is to have about 40 percent of all sales be food-related. He didn’t specify the type of food that would be served at the restaurant.

Cahill, who declined to further discuss plans for the restaurant with IBJ following the meeting, also told the commission the space’s design will take advantage of its location in the 165-year-old train station. He said he felt previous tenants, including Cadillac Ranch and Mexican restaurant El Sol, didn’t seem to utilize Union Station’s aesthetics in an effective manner. El Sol operated there from 2003 to 2007.

“We want to incorporate the (inside) of that beautiful building, and make it something that’s going to really help define the downtown area,” he said. “That’s part of what I’m going through in my design phase now.”

The restaurant will foot the bill to build out the space. A timeline has not yet been established, nor have a name or designs for the space been finalized, Cahill noted.

The lease is expected to be $100,000 per year (about $8,333 per month) for 10 years, with two five-year options, according to Kyle Willis with the Indianapolis Bond Bank.

“With the changing face of downtown, I think that’s a good option to have,” Cahill said.

Cadillac Ranch, a country-and-western-themed bar which boasted downtown’s only mechanical bull, opened in Union Station in 2009. It was followed in 2010 by the opening of Bartini’s.

Both venues were owned and operated by Minneapolis-based Granite City, which closed the locations as part of a national cost-cutting effort by the company in October 2017.

As part of its closure of the Union Station bars, the company agreed to pay six months of rent to terminate the leases, according to Browning Investments, which manages the property.

Granite City still operates a restaurant inside Circle Centre mall, though it was sued last year for failing to pay rent.

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