Loco Restaurant Group Inc. is planning new concepts for high-profile vacant spaces in downtown’s Cummins Inc. building and Fountain Square’s Forte apartments.
Erick Carrasco and Luis Cuatzo, co-owners of Loco Mexican Restaurant & Cantina locations in Fall Creek Place and Fountain Square, said they would like to open the new restaurants before December.
At the first-floor Cummins spot at 301 E. Market St. previously occupied by a Public Greens restaurant, Loco’s ownership is launching a Loco Fresh Mexican Taqueria concept defined by counter service for on-the-go customers.
The menu will feature tortas, quesabirrias, tacos and burritos.
“It’s a style of food you can grab with your hands, get dirty and enjoy,” Carrasco said.
At the first-floor Forte spot previously occupied by BrewDog bar, 1140 Shelby St., Carrasco said the plan focuses on American cuisine and possibly a weekend brunch menu. In a play on words related to the Spanish term “loco,” Carrasco wants the restaurant to be named Crazy Neighborhood Bar & Grill.
“There are a lot of bars and Mexican restaurants in Fountain Square, but there aren’t a lot of family-oriented restaurants,” he said.
Carrasco and Cuatzo recently opened the first Loco Fresh Mexican Taqueria in Whitestown, where Carrasco lives. The restaurant, 6378 Crane Drive, is near Exit 130 off Interstate 65.
The quick-service Loco Fresh Mexican Taqueria concept emerged as a response to workforce challenges, Carrasco said. The restaurant features fewer items and fewer employees than a full-service Loco Mexican Restaurant & Cantina.
“I wanted to get away from having servers and having so many employees on my end,” Carrasco said. “It has become so difficult to find good help.”
The restaurant in the Cummins building will hire six to nine employees, he said.
Public Greens, a concept within the Won’t Stop Hospitality Inc. group, occupied 2,400 square feet of the Cummins global distribution headquarters. The restaurant opened in February 2019 and permanently closed during the pandemic.
BrewDog, a Scottish company that made Indianapolis the second city of its U.S. expansion, occupied 4,000 square feet at the mixed-use Forte development. The BrewDog bar opened in September 2019 and permanently closed in April 2022.
Both Loco Mexican Restaurant & Cantina locations opened in 2018. In Fall Creek Place, Loco followed Asian-inspired eatery Long Branch and 22nd Street Diner in The Delaware mixed-use development, 2205 N. Delaware St.
At 1417 Prospect St., Loco took over the former Santorini Greek Kitchen building.
“When we took over Santorini’s I sat down in the middle of four other established Mexican restaurants in the area,” Carrasco said. “It took a little while to get where it needed to be, but now business is tremendous. I think people enjoy it. That’s exactly why I wanted to approach a different scenario of food. It’s a new challenge for us.”