Three new Carmel-area restaurants bringing eclectic mix to market

Three new restaurants are in the works for Carmel, including a replacement for Bub’s Cafe and eateries featuring South American and Asian cuisine.

Smoke ‘n Barrel, Bae Latin Food and Bibibop Asian Grill all target busy areas of the suburban city with openings as soon as mid-January.

Smoke ‘n Barrel

Smoke ‘n Barrel Restaurant Group is spending more than $1 million to fill the former Bub’s Cafe in Carmel with a new restaurant concept focusing on spirits and smoke.

Majority owner Kevin Paul—who also owns and operates Danny Boy Beer Works in Carmel and a draft house near the University of Notre Dame— received approval in the summer to use a three-way liquor license for Smoke ‘n Barrel. Filings with the city show the concept at 220 Second St. SW will offer small-batch bourbon and spirits, artisanal cocktails, craft beers and smoked foods.

The renovated building will have room for more than 100 patrons, and operations there will bring an anticipated 40 new jobs to the area.

Paul first opened the Brockway Public House in Carmel in 2007. There, he worked with Barry Miller, one of the partners on Smoke ‘n Barrel. Miller joined Brockway’s staff 11 years ago, and has served as general manager there since 2017.

Bub’s Cafe, a sister restaurant to the popular Bub’s Burgers and Ice Cream, closed in late October after a dozen years at the location.

Bae Latin Food

Bae Latin Food will be the first restaurant Alberto Araujo opens in the United States, but he’s already working on plans to eventually franchise the fast-casual concept offering Columbian, Venezuelan, Argentinian, Mexican, Cuban and other Latin dishes.

Araujo, one of the restaurant’s three owners, said he’d previously operated Hard Rock Cafes in Venezuela and Peru before emigrating to the United States. He and his two partners have finished the 1,300-square-foot buildout at 14580 River Road, Suite 190, in Carmel. Now, they’re just waiting for the necessary permits before they open in mid-January.

Araujo said he expects most of his business to be carry-out, but there will be room for about 40 people to dine in and try Bae’s arepa and pepito sandwiches, savory plantain dishes, burgers and more.

Bibibop Asian Grill

Another fast-casual spot, Bibibop Asian Grill, has filed plans with Hamilton County to open at 365 W. 116th St., Suite 140, in Carmel.

Bibibop, which already announced its first Indiana location would open in the Fishers District in the spring, is a fast-casual spot serving Korean rice and noodle bowls.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company-owned chain, founded in 2013 by South Korean native Charley Shin, has 21 locations in Ohio and 16 others in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and California.

Shin says his menu was inspired by the traditional Korean dish bibimbap.

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