Macaron Bar, a Cincinnati-based specialty cookie bakery, expects to open its first Indianapolis store this month at 425 Massachusetts Avenue. The 850-square-foot shop will occupy the space that formerly housed Arts A Poppin, a gift shop that closed earlier this year.
“We’re pretty close to done with construction. We just have to pass a few inspections,” said Patrick Moloughney, one of three co-owners of the business. “We’ve gotten a really good following on social media and a pretty good buzz, so we’re super excited to be opening.”
The bakery’s sole focus is the macaron, a sandwich-style almond meringue cookie with a chocolate ganache or buttercream filling that comes in flavors such as dark chocolate, Earl Grey tea, pistachio and birthday cake. Macaron Bar typically has about 15 flavors for sale at any given time.
The sweet has been popular on the East and West coasts for years, Moloughney said, and the trend is now gaining momentum in the Midwest. “Macarons are kind of like the new ‘cupcake,’ in a way.”
About 70 percent of Macaron Bar’s sales come from walk-in retail traffic, with the remainder coming from online and wholesale business. Stores also offer baking classes.
The company’s other two co-owners are Moloughney’s husband, Nathan Sivitz, and their long-time friend, Mark Santanello. Moloughney and Sivitz founded the company in 2014, and Santanello joined them in 2015.
Sivitz, a pastry chef with specialty training in macarons, is Macaron Bar’s executive chef. Moloughney spent 10 years as a brand manager with Procter & Gamble before establishing Macaron Bar, and Santanello worked in sponsored research at Northern Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati.
The company operates two stores in Cincinnati, one in Louisville and a mall kiosk in Pittsburgh, where a second location is set to open this fall.
Part of the reason Macaron Bar feels so good about Indianapolis is that the company has already done some advance market research with potential customers.
When Moloughney encounters a customer who is visiting from out of town, he often asks the customer questions to learn about that city’s market potential. Moloughney estimated he’s had about 2,000 such conversations with Indianapolis residents at Macaron Bar’s Louisville shop, and those conversations helped convince the company that it would do well here.
In other news this week:
— Moose Lodge 17, 7055 E. 16th St., is getting a new in-house restaurant to replace the Tie Dye Grill, which closed in late July. Gina Godwin, who was Tie Dye’s general manager, is coming back to open her own restaurant, Gina’s Grill. She told IBJ she aims to have the site open by the middle of this month.
Though the eatery is located inside the Moose Lodge facility, it will be open to the public. The dining room occupies about 2,500 square feet, with seating for up to 130. Godwin said her menu will focus on familiar, family-friendly items such as sandwiches, salads, burgers and pizza. Down the road, she also plans to offer dinner specials.
Godwin said she hopes Gina’s Grill will help draw traffic to the Moose Lodge, whose membership numbers are declining. She lives on the east side not far from the lodge. “The last thing that we want to see in our neighborhood is another empty building.”
— MJ Insurance Inc. has completed the relocation of its headquarters from the northeast side of Indianapolis to Carmel. MJ Insurance announced in April 2017 that it planned to move to a 30,000-square-foot space at 571 Monon Blvd., in Carmel’s Midtown District. The insurance agency was previously located at 9225 Priority Way W. Drive in the Precedent Office Park. The privately-held company, which also has an office in Phoenix, has more than 150 employees.
— Fireside Brewhouse, at 997 E. County Line Road in Greenwood, appears to have closed, according to social media postings from customers. According to multiple Facebook users, the restaurant closed in late August. The restaurant review site Yelp also reports that the establishment has closed. Phone calls to the establishment on Tuesday and Wednesday rang unanswered, and the restaurant’s website, firesidebrewhouse.com, leads to a “404 error” page.
— An update from late July, when we reported that Chuck E. Cheese had closed its Castleton location at 5501 E. 82nd St. The pizza chain says the store is undergoing repairs and will reopen when the work is done. The company would not provide details about the repairs. Customers can visit chuckecheese.com for updates on when this site will reopen. Chuck E. Cheese also has Indianapolis stores at 8804 U.S. 31 South and at 10021 E. Washington St.
— Twin Jewelers has moved to a new spot within Circle Centre. The retailer, which had operated from a kiosk on the mall’s third floor, is now in a store space on the second floor. It's taking over the spot formerly occupied by Grand Slam Sports, which lasted in the space only a few months. Aug. 28 was the jewelry store’s first day of operations in the new space, according to a mall spokeswoman.