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Real Estate & Retail

Roundup: Athenaeum slated for $1.2M revamp; Dufour's closing

January 25, 2016

Some good and some bad news to report in this edition of Property Lines. First, the good:

• The historic Athenaeum building that houses the Rathskeller German restaurant is about to embark on a major renovation. The foundation that operates the building is set Tuesday afternoon to announce details of the $1.2 million project. The event will include news of a capital campaign and a major donation.

Located at 407 E. Michigan St. near Massachusetts Avenue, the building was constructed in 1893 by German immigrants to house their clubs. It’s been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.

In 2013, the foundation explored redeveloping an adjacent lot for a parking garage that could help fund $6 million in upgrades for the 94,000-square-foot Athenaeum. Pressing needs at the time included brick tuck-pointing. The idea eventually was shelved.

Foundation officials declined to share more details on Monday morning.

Now for the bad:

• The Irvington neighborhood on the city’s east side is in mourning the closing of a longtime staple. Dufour’s will call it quits on Jan. 31, when owner Maria Dufour will ride off into retirement.

The restaurant at 5648 E. Washington St. has been an Irvington fixture since Maria and sister Bernadette Dufour Lathrop launched it in 1997 from a 10-seat space behind Jack & Jill’s Antique Mall.

It moved a year later to its current location at the corner of Audubon and Washington, and blossomed into a family affair. Sister Diane Dufour Metzler and brother Dan Dufour became partners and remained in the business for several years. Maria's been on her own since 2010.

“Everyone is reeling [from the announcement],” said Margaret Banning, director of the Irvington Development Organization. “They opened before Irvington was up-and-coming.”

Dufour’s serves breakfast, brunch and lunch. It also offered dinner on the first Friday of every month.

Neighborhood leaders are considering ways to express their gratitude for the eatery's commitment to Irvington, Banning said, and may explore a proclamation honoring Maria.

Also in Irvington:

• ExactTarget co-founder and entrepreneur Chris Baggott received a zoning variance and design approval Jan. 6 from the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission for a project at 128 S. Audubon Road.

Baggott bought a strip center on the site of the former Irvington town hall and plans to add to the site a Mug restaurant—his second Mug since launching the restaurant in Greenfield in 2014.

Also planned for two additional storefronts at the strip are a small grocery store, perhaps similar to Goose the Market in Fall Creek Place or Wildwood in Fountain Square, and a gastropub.


Amazing Joe’s Steak House has opened at 3716 E. 82nd St., in the building formerly occupied by Oobatz! and Uno Pizzeria.

Chad Massoth and Mike Robinson of Muncie launched Amazing Joe’s, which also has locations in Muncie and Columbus, Indiana.

•  Vireli’s Fine Dining  has opened in the former O’Charley’s building at 3851 Vincennes Road on the city’s northwest side.

The restaurant offers steaks, seafood and burgers.

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