Dick’s Bodacious Bar-B-Q latest downtown restaurant to fold

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Jason Kocher had operated the restaurant at 50 N. Pennsylvania St. for 15 years.

Longtime downtown Indianapolis restaurant Dick’s Bodacious Bar-B-Q closed for good on Saturday, the latest casualty of the pandemic and fallout from violent protests in late May.

On its Facebook page, the restaurant said, “The sun is shining on Monument Circle for our last day. We’ve enjoyed serving the wonderful people of Indy and Circle City visitors for the last 15 years.”

Owner Jason Kocher told WIBC-FM 93.1 that he decided to cut his losses after the pandemic and damage from the violent protests hit the business hard.

In addition, he said crime has made downtown Indianapolis an unfriendly place to operate.

The restaurant, 50 N. Pennsylvania St., on the corner of Market Street, was the last of 10 Dick’s Bodacious Bar-B-Q restaurants that once operated in central Indiana under various owners.

Richard Allen opened the first Dick’s in Noblesville in 2001, and two years later he launched a franchising effort that he hoped would expand the chain to 50 locations in five years.

But Allen quickly ran into financial troubles, leading to a rash of closings.

Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods have seen widespread restaurant closings this year, from Black Market and Rook to Rock Bottom and Morton’s The Steakhouse.

Kocher told WISH-TV Channel 8 that he hopes to eventually establish another business in Hendricks County.

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40 thoughts on “Dick’s Bodacious Bar-B-Q latest downtown restaurant to fold

  1. They can blame the pandemic or riots all they want, but their food was just not good. I lived a half block away on Penn and never went back after the first time. I’m sorry for anyone who’s losing their business, but this closure isn’t just due to recent issues affecting Downtown.

    1. If the restaurant was open for a short amount of time, your thoughts would hold water. But, even though you did not like the food, enough people liked it for the restaurant to remain open for 15 years.

    2. Jeff, I lived basically across the street from it for a year. It was empty every single night. Maybe lunch time traffic kept them going, but I never understood how they survived. If lunch time traffic did keep them alive, then they’re another death due to Covid-19.

    3. Wesley, you live in california, how often did you visit this establishment? Keep burying your head in the sand and saying the riots had nothing to do with it even when you hear it straight from a business owners mouth. My God, how naive can you be?

    4. California Wesley must also think Black Market and Morton’s food quality sucked. Why else would they close?? Hyde Park has 80% of their locations shuttered. Awful food! right Wes? As pointed out below, 15 years is a lifetime for restaurants. Clearly their product had some merit.

  2. Thank you for mentioning the “violent protests downtown” as a contributing factor. Reports of too many downtown business closures have tried to credit the closures to the pandemic. While that has certainly been a factor, ignoring the riots and anarchy does not well-serve IBJ’s readership.

    1. Except they had no night time customer’s to begin with. If I had to bet, I’d say 70% of their business was lunch. Why aren’t there lunch crowds? Because everyone is working from home. Why is everyone working from home? Because of the pandemic. Not because Downtown is rioting. That ended months ago.

  3. Keep avoiding the obvious- you don’t stay in business for 15 years if the food was bad.
    The obvious is that other businesses are leaving, crime is increasing, and the people that normally spend the money downtown are not coming due to safety issues. No people with no money equals no economy. Downtown mall will be just like Washington Square and Lafayette Square by the end if the year.

    1. Actually, lots of places stay open that long despite being horrible. Look at Champps and PF Chang’s. Downtown isn’t becoming Lafayette or Washington Square, no matter how badly you might want it to. Circle Centre might fail, but it’s in the core of the city and will certainly be turned into something, possibly even better than the mall it used to be.

    2. Also…they were a MAJOR stop for the Blue Coats and all the various conventions that brought younger students because of the good price point. I haven’t been working from downtown for 3 months. I would go occasionally for lunch when I needed something quick and cheaper than 9 dollars. It wasn’t the best bbq, but the price point kept me coming. Pandemic keeps me from coming because I’m not downtown working.

  4. The real crime is the refusal of the “tower workers” to head back downtown. You are only able to work from home because of the work of all the essential workers who went back to work. Amazon, Grocery, Restaurant , medical, etc. Time to realize we are a society of shared burden. We all need to do our part, or the whole thing falls apart. Tower workers…. time to head back downtown.

    1. The problem Ted is that they’ve figured out like many during this pandemic is you can get your work done anywhere. I remember a few years back driving to downtown, parking and going high up in one of the big towers for several interviews and the main reason I wouldn’t take a job there was the whole time involved in getting to and from work everyday and being stuck there M-F. No way was I doing that and losing all freedom to run an errand or something else I needed to do. I like working near where I live and also must be honest in saying that even though I’m back in the office my preference would be a mixture of both working from the office and home. The office to feel connected to something that Zoom meetings can’t do and home to make work more comfortable and not feel like drudgery.

  5. Donald Trump doesn’t care about small businesses or middle Americans. In fact he only cares about his delusional base Trump supports white supremacy and hate and no gun regulations so Donald Trump’s America is what you see. Lost jobs, pandemic out of control, racism and mostly his supporters causing riots, violence and looting.

    Donald Trump is a pathological liar, criminal, corrupt, hate and fear mongering, narcissistic imbecile and laughing stock of the world.

    Donald Trump is the swamp and will destroy this country if he’s re-elected.

    Obama’s economy was strong when Trump took it over. Obama inherited Bush’s Great Recession. Obama created more jobs in his last 3 years then Trump did in his 1st 3 years. The stock market went up at a higher % under Obama. More people had health insurance coverage under Obama. Wage growth was higher under Obama. The annual deficit was $1 trillion when Obama took over and lowered to $500mm when Obama left office. Trump doubled it $1 trillion before the pandemic.

    Trump bragged about grabbing women’s private parts
    Trump stole money from his charity that was supposed to go to children’s cancer.
    Trump defrauded his university.
    Trump steals campaign money.
    Trump exhorted Ukraine
    Trump solicits help from Russia
    Trump called our military suckers and losers.
    Trump disbanded the Obama pandemic team

    Vote this loser out of office.

    1. Mark, what street pharmaceuticals do you use, anyway? So many of the jobs Obama “created” were non-productive government jobs to grow government, not private sector jobs that actually DO something beneficial. Quit comparing Obama’s job “growth” with that of Trump’s, in which real people do real work to benefit the GDP, not grow government.

    2. Bob P.

      With all the facts I listed above you could only come up with Obama creating non-productive jobs top grow government. Well, Obama did create government jobs called the Pandemic Team that Trumps disbanded in 2018. How does Trump’s jobs look now since Trump disbanded the Pandemic Team and totally botched the Pandemic? Trump inherited a great economy and he destroyed it like everything he’s inherited.

      Trump never takes responsibility for anything.

  6. You are so correct Mark B. about Trump
    Inheriting Obama’s good economy. Most people don’t recognize that fact. And since the economy is all Trump cares about, the success is not his to claim. So that where does that leave Trump? He lies, everything that comes out of his mouth is not true. He has no empathy for anyone and only cares about himself. It will take us years to restore the image of America, undo all the environmental damage he has done. As they said but people forget, there was a pandemic response program in effect until the Trump administration canceled it in 2016. Can you image what a different place we would be in now if that pandemic
    program wasn’t canceled in 2016?

  7. Downtown Carmel is thriving, as are the restaurants. It’s run by Republicans, and that’s one difference. The pandemic did not spare Carmel, but Camel spared itself of the incompetent Democrats that run the cities burdened with riots and crime. Take a look at the cities and states impacted, and then see who is running them. I realize Carmel is not the equivalent to Indy, but the point is business is thriving under the Republicans.

    Trump created the best economy ever known to the U.S. The Dems keep their economies closed in the hope they can win the election. Same with why they let all the violence and rioting continue. Anything, absolutely anything – to try to win. They steamroll anyone in their path toward victory, which they won’t see anyway. They are smug and self-righteous and conceal what they really are. Try looking at the B on B violence in their cities, and see how much they care. Those Black lives don’t fit into their narrative and “conversation.”

    1. Carmel? Don’t you mean Karen, Indiana? The town that gives you a traffic ticket if you don’t drive a Mercedes or BMW. Please. That town lives in a bubble. There’s nothing remotely realistic about Karen, Indiana if you’re trying to compare it to a slice of metropolitan reality that is supported by middle working class citizens.

    2. Carmel literally structured policy on keeping POC out and was built by siphoning money out of Marion County…

    3. A T. — If Carmel “literally structured policy on keeping POC out”, it sure has done a bad job of it. According to the 2010 Census, 15% of Carmel’s population was non-white, and it had at least 2,000 African Americans. And that was 10 years ago. Its population is now likely to surpass that of South Bend, and it has grown more international with the newcomers. There may be other things by which folks in Indy can fault Carmel, but it is hardly some bastion of homogeneity.

    4. American D. – Those aren’t impressive statistics. The basis of suburbia was to accommodate white flight. The population of Carmel is still significantly whiter and wealthier than the Indy metro area as a whole (85.4% white in Carmel vs. 61% for the metro area as a whole), with cops who regularly racially profile people and land use policies that keep upward pressure on the housing market to ensure that property values remain inflated.

    5. A T. – What racial composition would be sufficiently diverse to meet your standards? The 2020 Census will inevitably reveal in Carmel a city that is more racially diverse than 2010. Suburbs fulfill a need for people of all ethnic backgrounds to form households and families in an environment that they deem is most suitable, provided they have the means to do so. Suburbia has accommodated “flight” of all races, and most income levels. If Carmel’s police force were so uninviting to minorities, the minorities who keep moving there sure have a strange way of showing their discomfort.
      The only color Carmel consistently seeks to accommodate is green.

  8. Wesley sure has alot of time on his hands to watch out the window and observe consumption patterns of a place he claims to not like, during hours he should probably be working.

  9. Not sure why everything evolves into a “I hate Trump and everything wrong on planet earth is his fault” type of conversation. Read carefully and listen to what the owner of this place said. One it’s the pandemic and two violence and not feeling safe downtown. He told you right there why he’s closing. Are we not to believe him like he’s some politician? Not everything in life is about Trump, Republicans and Democrats. I’ll be so glad when this election is over, but of course nothing will be solved by it. Our societal problems are much deeper than two political parties and their media partners that will always tell you what you want to hear. Maybe someday we can get back to thinking for ourselves.

    1. Because there are some people who won’t accept reality and believe something even when told over and over and over. And why Wesley H keeps coming on here and commenting when he doesn’t even live here is surprising. He should stick to the California business journals as that state really needs some help.

    2. You are so right Rhea. I was in CA for a week last year and one of the things that struck me as odd was how much trash their was along PCH1 and the beaches. That was when banning plastic straws would take care of the plastics problem. I thought you’re worried about plastic straws and you won’t even keep your beaches and roads clear of trash. I had not been there for many years, but was appalled at the amount of trash everywhere.

    3. I love how Rhea is so focused on “California Wesley”. Nice, never thought I’d get a Trump name from one of his cult followers. Anyway, I own property right outside of Downtown Indianapolis. I own nothing in California, I just rent. That’s why I’ve been a paid subscriber to IBJ for over 5 years. I am so happy to live here right now though. People wearing masks, voting by mail, and enjoying having half the covid positivity rate that you’ve got in Indiana. I’m probably moving back in the next year or so though, so get ready. Another liberal from California is coming back to vote for Democrats.

    4. Jeff, that trash is from visitors like you. Look at the interstates in the Indy area. Trash literally everywhere. Makes me sick when I come home to visit and some idiot in a pick-up truck throws a bag of McDonald’s trash out the window while driving.

    5. Wesley, your not even fun to debate with (Jeff that trash is from visitors like you). Oh that really got me! I’m sorry it bothers you about all the trash I saw strewn all over a beautiful highway and beaches, likewise I hate it here too. Why would you want to move back here if we’re all a bunch of rednecks, not wearing masks, voting in person and throwing trash out the windows of our pickup trucks? We really suck, don’t we!

    6. Because Jeff, I have family and a house there that I own and might like to live in again. I also have a lot of friends who are great people. I never lumped the entire population into littering rednecks. In fact, I called no one a redneck, although there are many. I support in person voting, but mail in voting is obviously easier and safer this year. The fact is, almost every time I see litter thrown from a car in California, it’s a car with plates from NV or AZ. Our communities have significantly less litter than Indiana. You haven’t mentioned where you were here, so I’m speaking from the perspective of someone in San Diego. Perhaps the litter problem is much worse where you were, but it’s certainly worse in Indy vs SD. And by the time I get back, masks won’t be a thing. There should be a vaccine by then, so I don’t have to worry about anti-mask Trump supporters. But if I’m not fun to debate with, maybe stop replying to my comments.

    7. Wesley, from Huntington Beach down to Laguna. I’m not saying the trash was 2 feet high, just shocked at how much was on the side of the roads and on the beach in Huntington. It has become much worse than 25 years ago. It’s is just as bad in Florida where I lived, but they were more diligent in picking up trash for some reason. Better funding maybe?. Who has the biggest problem I have no idea and Indiana may be far worse off. Your right I see a lot of roadside trash and almost weekly I see someone who’s thrown a whole bag into the street. It’s just sad when you go to a beach, any beach and see a bunch of trash. It just amazes me that people throw it on the ground or out of a car window for others to pickup. I think it’s getting worse everywhere. Just wish people in general were more respectful of their surroundings, but I don’t have much hope for that anymore!

  10. We all have to recognize the bottom line. Our Mayor and City Council are just not up to the job of running a major city. The citizens of Indianapolis need to recall the Mayor and the City Council. The barn needs a complete cleaning. The Mayor’s lack of leadership and allowing the riots and looters to destroy our city is beyond factual dispute. Most businesses continued to operate in the midst of the pandemic. The Mayor allowed the rioters in the looters to decimate the city to the point it can’t come back. Joe is just not up to the task of running a major enterprise. I feel sorry for him. He must be absolutely humiliated. All hat no cattle.

  11. I so miss the negativity of Indiana. If you are that miserable leave the state. I did and life is good. Indiana ranks in the top tier of people with depression and rightly so.