Downtown restaurants Black Market, Rook set for permanent closure

Two downtown restaurants operated by Indianapolis restaurateur Ed Rudisell are set to close, he announced Friday morning on Facebook.

Black Market, 922 Massachusetts Ave., and Rook, 501 Virginia Ave., will close after serving diners one last time on Saturday, Sept. 5, Rudisell said.

Black Market, a modern Mexican eatery, opened in 2011. Rook, a street-food-inspired contemporary Asian restaurant, opened in 2013 in the Hinge Building in Fountain Square before moving to its current site.

“I’m sad to announce that we’ll be closing Black Market and Rook permanently at the end of next weekend,” Rudisell said. “We’ve done everything we can to survive this pandemic, but it’s not enough. We’ve lost this fight. Our final day will be Saturday, Sept 5th. Come by and see us one last time next week as we wrap up an era.”

Ed Rudisell, who co-owns the two restaurants, also operates Siam Square, a Thai eatery at 936 Virginia Ave. that opened in 2008, and Inferno Room, a tiki bar at 902 Virginia Ave. that opened in 2018.

Rudisell said closing the restaurants was “the hardest thing I’ve done in my life,” but conditions facing the industry were insurmountable.

He said a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan wasn’t enough to save the business.

“Debt is suffocating us,” he said. “Insurance companies refuse to pay out for the stoppage of our businesses. Washington has abandoned us. Sales are slow. And the virus is gaining strength again. We made it through some tough times. But there is no end in sight for this pandemic. This one knocked us out.”

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36 thoughts on “Downtown restaurants Black Market, Rook set for permanent closure

  1. Uh, Ed – its not Washington that has abandoned you, its Mayor Pothole and the imbeciles who run this once great city. Get your facts straight. I actually liked your restaurants. My wife and I were just talking today about where to go out for dinner on our date night tomorrow but neither of us have ANY interest in going downtown or to Mass Ave. and possibly getting run through by the “peaceful protesters”, ahem, violent agitators that the city doesn’t have the cajones to do anything about.

    1. Can you please cite when, outside of two nights in early June, there have been VIOLENT agitators in Indianapolis? Seems like a convenient excuse to blame politicians you don’t agree with while ignoring the deficiencies of the ones you support.

    2. “neither of us have ANY interest in going downtown or to Mass Ave. and possibly getting run through by the ‘peaceful protesters'”

      I could *maybe* understand this sentiment back in early June, but holding this viewpoint now is comically paranoid and divorced from reality.

    3. As Coach Rivers eloquently pointed out: Why are you so afraid when it’s urban black men that keep getting shot and killed in our cities, not suburban whites?

    4. I suspect Michael Q, despite having an IBJ subscription, is stuck in a right wing news bubble and believes the fantasies coming from most Republicans. Washington, starting with the President, right down to both Indiana Senators seem to be living in a alternate reality bubble, that the virus is no threat, and the shutdowns and closures were not needed. More deaths than almost any country on earth per capita says they are wrong. Again, in that right wing bubble all BLM protesters are violent looters and raping and pillaging are going non-stop in cities all across the US.

      The ignorance of people like that are going to kill American democracy as well as downtown Indy.

    5. Uh, Michael Q- I sense a lot of ignorance here. A couple of nights where peaceful protests that unfortunately culminated in inexplicable looting has almost seemed to plague downtown more than the virus itself, at least for future. White suburbanites are so scared to go downtown thinking it is like pence and trump describe, essentially up in flames with people trying to ultimately make their way somehow 10 miles outside of the urban core to settle in next door to these folks in the burbs. I live downtown with my wife and 15 mo old daughter, and have for past 7 years since moving to indy. Promise it is not a war zone and safe to walk and eat, drink, etc. Plea to suburbanites though, dont let the downtown that your suburbs ultimately depend on suffer based on fear. It’s one thing to not be downtown bc tou work at home instead of the office currently, but to avoid for this craziness that Michael q spouts off is absurd!

    6. To all the people condemning Michael Q’s comment: You can call him names and try to reason that everything is great and you can congratulate yourself for being on the moral high ground. But that’s beside the point. The problem is that (desperately needed) suburban people see it exactly as Michael Q. They simply don’t want to go to downtown if they feel unsafe. They don’t want to stroll around boarded up businesses. They don’t want to see large groups of homeless urinating (or worse) in public and being harassed by them (look at the city market and the south street bridge). They don’t want to have dinner when protesters (peaceful or not) yell with megaphones in their ears. They don’t want stroll around areas where people have been shot recently (look at the canal). I was a 15 year resident of Downtown. I love Downtown Indy. I was excited when businesses opened up again after COVID-19. But when I went back for a date (in the Whole Sale District), I was shocked how horrible it looked. I have never seen Indy in such a state. I was always proud of my chosen home town. Right now, I would not even bring outside visitors to look at my beloved city. You can call me what you want. But we MUST make sure to deal with the current problems and ensure that downtown is as clean and safe as it was a few years ago. Otherwise, it will be lost for years.

  2. What a shame but I have to agree with his comments here. Restaurants and Bars are the only businesses being singled out here for sanctions-particularly in Marion County. Big Box retailers can have 750 people in there but small neighborhood bars that hold 100 people are the sole source of the virus spreading according to Dr Cain-yet the numbers continue to go up while we have been hobbled or closed for the last 60 days. Explain to me why bars have to close at midnight-whats the logic there?

    Ed ran quality establishments with a certain flair that will be solely missed. I hope the Inferno Room survives- that place is amazing!

    1. Because alcohol lowers inhibitions and causes people to ignore social distancing and mask wearing. It’s not that hard to understand. In any big store I can do my shopping and have minimal contact with other people. In a small enclosed bar its much harder to avoid other people – especially once they are drunk and more social.

    2. All bars are not created equally. Responsible Bar owners are operating responsibly, with proper social distancing in play, and not overserving people. the only people this penalizes, besides bars with late night business. are the people that work in other food service establishments who just got off at 11 or 12 and now have nowhere to go. its like 5 PM to them, its not like they have been there all night and need the city to cut them off for their own good. Thanks for your behavural analysis Joseph but it doesnt hold water.

    3. If contact tracing showed a pattern that people doing grocery or hardware shopping showed that lots of infections were traced back to those locations, I am sure we would be seeing restrictions on those businesses. I am sure that as contact tracing is happening, data is being collected on where the contact happened. It turns out that sitting in a bar or restaurant is much higher risk and results in much more community spread.

      I would normally say if you want to kill yourself, then go ahead, but in this case you may be killing your parents, or grand parents, or even your co-workers with your risky ad selfish behavior.

    4. Indianapolis doesn’t appear to be releasing specific data on community outbreaks, which is a disservice to residents and businesses. Here in Southern California, the vast majority of our community outbreaks were traced restaurants and bars. I’m guessing the numbers are similar in Indianapolis, so that’s why they are restricted. Our restaurants were converted to outdoor only dining/drinking, and cases are now at half the positivity rate of Indianapolis.

    5. Oh… Hey infections have not grown in Indy. We are pushing the curve down again. If you want to see for yourself, here is the Indiana State Department of Health Website Link:

      You can even filter data by county.

      The changes that have been made in the last few weeks are starting to work. I suspect the biggest best change was the mask mandate.

  3. Michael, I’m guessing his comment about Washington probably has more to do with the lack of anything being done about the insurance companies blanket denials for business interruption insurance payouts despite a large number of policies not having any pandemic exemptions in them. It takes a lot of time and money for someone to battle the insurance companies but congress could have done something about it and they have done nothing!

  4. Only the pandemic caused this? Perhaps it has more to do with the unsafe environment downtown (whether real or perceived) created by the riots. These closings are just the beginning.

    1. It is all perceived.

      People who never went down town anyways, just saying they will never go again.

      Superfluous noise.

    2. There has never been a time where there weren’t scared suburbanites cowering in their homes afraid to ever go downtown. It’s true in the Indianapolis area and every other medium and large metropolitan area in the country. It was true 50 years ago. It’s true now. And it will be true 3 decades from now. One of the defining characteristics post war suburban development has been to run away from the scary city, with the term “urban” used as code for Black. It’s not new. It is the very foundation of modern American society. Thus, you have not made an insightful comment here. You have simple regurgitated the same comment made by scared suburbanites since before most of us can remember. So hide in your bunker, clutch your AR-15. Indianapolis is engulfed in flames, riots every night, but you’re safe and sound. So relax, enjoy your lawn.

    3. Sure, minimize the impact of the riots; the boarded up windows, businesses closing, drug use on the circle, trash on sidewalks every morning. “Move along folks, nothing to see here.” All signs indicating that downtown is a safe place to be? What took 3-4 decades of planning and execution was ripped apart in 3-4 days. Visit downtown like I used to? See a show on Mass Ave and have dinner? Old National? Drinks with friends? IRT? FringeFest? Lunch at City Market? Hahahaha…nope.

      I’ll happily enjoy my lawn, along with the money in my back pocket that I used to spend downtown.

  5. You all are defending the fact that people shouldn’t feel unsafe downtown. Look at all the businesses that are closed or boarded up. Not too inviting and as a person who travels downtown and loves to eat there, I feel that there is safety issues that I would not bring my family into. I will work around 465 and limit bringing my grandchild into an unsafe environment. Even my police friends sugggest going somewhere else.

    1. There were exactly two nights of unrest, which were far less violent than what was experienced in many other cities (eg Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, etc.) and it was over THREE months ago.

      Can you give a logical explanation why you would still be scared to go downtown?

      I keep reading comments like yours and I think either this is a person who never went downtown to begin with or this person has lost their mind and become irrationally paralyzed by fear.

  6. The 2 “protestors” that stopped the pickup truck brandishing handguns on Meridian was after the “couple days in June” i believe. Part of the problem with feeling comfortable going downtown is the uncertainty of what may cause another incident. Also, I keep hearing that the businesses downtown affected by the rioting and looting have not been contacted or assisted by the Mayor’s office yet. Gives the appearance that he either doesn’t care or is unprepared to address the questions and issues those business owners may bring up. Hogsett needs to step up and be a leader – that is what he was elected to be.

  7. Black Market’s location on Mass Ave isn’t terrible, but it is a little off the beaten path. Circulation in that area should improve with the establishment of Bottleworks and the appearance of a reliable and widely available vaccine. Time was not on Ed’s side here.

    I love that the usual suspects are attempting to shift blame away from a global pandemic and a failed national response to June’s public unrest, which was a result of racial injustice. You guys are absolutely adorable. And predictable.

    1. Michael B, read up on the true goals of Black Lives Matter (not black lives matter, on which we can all agree). Their Marxist goals were established several years before the George Floyd incident. That incident was just their bird call to go into action, driven by the likes and money of George Soros et al and the rest of the globalist elites.

      My wife and I have gone downtown to enjoy St. Elmo’s during Devour Indy week many years, but not this year, thank you.

      You can suck up to Boss Hogsett and your liberal friends all you want, but it doesn’t change the truth of Ayn Rand’s famous quotation, “”You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

    2. Bob P. remarks are pretty funny coming from a obvious Trump supporter. COVID19 is the current reality, and you can see where ignoring it from the top down has gotten the entire US.

    3. The CDC updated the provisional counts on deaths that have occurred from COVID-19 on Aug. 26, and in the section on comorbidities, they revealed that only 6% of the deaths were caused by just the virus.

  8. Lots of online people seem to know more about running these businesses than the actual business owner.

    I’ll just mourn the loss and pick up some Siam Square soon in support. Hoping that at least one can make it through.

    1. Thanks for your accurate assessment of the issue Susie D. Many businesses are suffering because of the lawlessness our weak city leaders have let happen and are too incompetent to clean up now. Some have closed and many more will. So sad. Half the comments on here show there is a lot of denial. Where is pothole Joe?

  9. I enjoyed both restaurants and am really sad to see them go. Rook was on my regular rotation of lunch spots and Black Market was a great dinner spot – loved both inside and outside dining there. Good luck Ed – I will continue to visit Siam Square and hope for the best for you and your family!

    1. You prove Ayn Rand’s observation, Craig. I have no idea who Michael Q is and have never corresponded with him. Sorry.

  10. There is a general sense of uneasiness downtown. Partly because most people are still working from home and it’s an odd feeling to see very few people out and about. The area around City Market has improved, no more open air drug deals or people just sitting around outside. The Circle? Still a problem… boarded up windows, homeless people using alleys as restrooms… it’s bad. I drove towards the Fountain Square area 2 weeks ago…there was a group of tents set up under the overpass on south East Street, just north of IFB Insurance and Anthem. Black Market never had a great location but it was profitable for a long time. Testimony to Ed R. and crew. Mass Ave generally feels safe but foot traffic is down by at least 60 – 75%. People aren’t going out as much anywhere, but Downtown seems to have lost more than other parts of town. Hopefully Siam Square and The Inferno Room make it.

  11. Craig V. – you’re funny. I’m born and raised in Indy and went downtown all the time. I don’t enjoy going to Carmel or Fishers. I frankly find them bland and boring. However, the current state of downtown right now is pitiful and if you are trying justify it or gloss over this fact you are truly blind and I really feel sorry for you.

  12. Funny how all the defenders of the current state of downtown poke fun, ridicule, name-call, the very people that used to spend time and money downtown. The two things downtown desperately needs right now, people who spend time and money.

  13. I have posted this in the IBJ comments before and I will do it again. I’m not worried about the protests as they largely are peaceful. Were there radicals, yep there certainly were, but just as they always do, they attempt to radicalize peaceful protests and then move on. Rather, the reason I don’t go downtown and most importantly spend my money down town is because of the homeless problem that currently plagues the mile square. No I won’t contribute my hard earned money to solving the problem because the funds for the solution, rarely, if ever make it to the desired recipient. No I won’t allow a homeless person live with me because, that is not a realistic resolution. However, what I will do and what many others with disposable income are doing, is speaking with our money. Will the businesses in the mile square suffer, most definitely and when the down town area returns to the way it looked in the 70’s and 80’s, perhaps then the Mayor and the Council will actually do something MEANINGFUL.

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