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Real Estate & Retail

2 restaurants taking vacant buildings on College Avenue

July 28, 2010

A new restaurant serving "gourmet Mexican street food" and a bar named to honor a fallen Iraq War veteran are in the works for two vacant buildings along College Avenue in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood. Here are the details:

Calle 52 will serve ceviche, queso fundido, carne asada and pastel tres leche in the former Movie Gallery location at 5215 N. College Ave. Calle
                  52Plans for the restaurant, led by the proprietors of The Northside Social, call for 133 seats inside and 32 on a patio. Calle 52 will serve dinner only at first but may add lunch. It will be nonsmoking. The owners are Nicole Harlan-Oprisu and Tim Oprisu (who also own Old Pro's Table), Bill and Nancy Ficca and Jamie Browning (The Ficcas and Browning also own Usual Suspects in Broad Ripple). They plan to invest about $500,000 in the project. The building owner, Glendale Partners Inc., has applied for several variances to make way for the restaurant. The most controversial involves parking, a hot topic in part because patrons of businesses in the area have taken advantage of the parking spaces in front of the vacant video-rental store. The restaurant will open in four to six months. (Note: The owners reversed the rendering when they moved the patio dining to the south end of the property.)

The Sinking Ship will serve stuffed burgers, Chicago dogs, voodoo chili and Cajun corn fritters in part of the former home of Steck Plumbing at 4923 N. College Ave. Former Steck PlumbingThe bar and restaurant will take about 4,000 square feet of the 14,000-square-foot building, enjoying frontage on College Avenue just north of Recess. It will have seating for 90 people and is slated to open in November. The "dramatic, interesting space" will take advantage of the building's arched steel trusses, high ceilings and sky windows, said Architect Steve Logan. The proprietors, Andy Hamaker and Damon Lyden, also plan to invest about $500,000. They named the restaurant after a song written by their friend Jacob "Jackie" Blaylock, who committed suicide after returning home from Iraq. Blaylock had lost two friends that were riding in a Humvee hit by an explosive device.

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