BBQ joint, Books & Brews site join long list of area restaurants to call it quits during pandemic

While numerous Indianapolis-area restaurants are looking forward to reopening their dining rooms this week, many of them are no longer around to get the chance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed a long list of local eateries, and the tally is sure to grow in the coming weeks. Scores of restaurants that “temporarily” closed at the beginning of the health crisis are unlikely to reopen.

Steve Hafner, CEO of Booking Holdings Inc., which runs reservation service Open Table, told Bloomberg News earlier this month that recent research indicates about a quarter of closed restaurants nationwide won’t make a comeback.

Here’s a look at those that have already closed permanently in the Indianapolis area and some with uncertain futures.

The North End Barbecue and Moonshine

Restaurateur Ryan Nelson opened The North End Barbecue and Moonshine in May 2014 in a 4,700-square-foot space in Nora Shops West along East 86th Street. He announced Wednesday on social media that it was closing for good.

“It is with great sadness that we announce today, on the 6th anniversary of opening TNE, that we will not be re-opening,” he said in a Facebook post. “We are very proud of our employees and all of their hard work over the years. We are very proud of the BBQ we have been serving for the past six years. We unfortunately just don’t see a path forward for us due to COVID-19.”

The eatery offered traditional American barbecue from different regions of the country, including Texas brisket, Carolina pulled pork, Memphis baby back ribs and St. Louis spare ribs, with multiples sauces from which to choose.

Nelson said he would accept North End gift cards at his other restaurant, Late Harvest Kitchen, which he founded in 2012 near Keystone at the Crossing. Late Harvest, he said, would remain open.

Books & Brews on Mass Ave

Books & Brews has vacated its space at 643 Massachusetts Ave., leaving the chain with nine other locations, including six in the Indianapolis area.

The spot opened in 2018 in the spot left vacant by Broken Beaker Distillery.

Jason Wuerful launched Books & Brews in March 2014 at 9402 Uptown Drive near Interstate 69 and East 96th Street on Indianapolis’ northeast side.

The chain also closed it Broad Ripple location, 6420 Cornell Ave., in December.

Abuelo’s Mexican Food Embassy

Abuelo’s has quietly closed its Carmel restaurant at 14480 Lowes Way almost 15 years after its opening. The permanent closure was part of corporate downsizing that also eliminated the only other Abuelo’s in Indiana, in Merrillville.

The Lubbock, Texas-based chain previously closed a north-side Indianapolis location, at 5910 W. 86th St., in August 2018.

DiBella’s Subs

Rochester, New York-based DiBella’s Subs, which entered the Indianapolis market in 2012, closed all three of its remaining local stores—at 910 W. 10th St., 4335 E. 82nd St., and 5650 W. 86th St.

The regional chain no longer has any stores in Indianapolis.

360 Bakery

360 Bakery, a donut shop that opened at 2222 W. Southport Road a year ago, announced it was closing in early May.

Morton’s The Steakhouse

Houston, Texas-based parent company Landry’s Inc. permanently closed its Morton’s at 41 E. Washington St.

The local Morton’s opened at the Washington Street location in the late 1990s, after the four-story building was purchased and renovated by an investment group that included owners of IBJ Corp. Morton’s was located in the basement, accessible by a dedicated elevator and staircase.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Tampa, Florida-based Bloomin’ Brands Inc. , the owner of the upscale Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar chain, announced to customers in early May that its restaurant in the Keystone at the Crossing area—its only location in Indiana—was shutting its doors permanently. The steakhouse was just four months shy of its 15th birthday.

Bravo! Cucina Italiana Restaurant

The area’s last remaining Bravo! Cucina Italiana Restaurant closed permanently amid the bankruptcy proceedings of its corporate parent, Orlando, Florida-based FoodFirst Global Restaurants.

The northwest-side restaurant opened 22 years ago as the second of three Bravo! eateries that once operated in the area, occupying a 7,451-square-foot space in the Willow Lake East shopping center at 2658 Lake Circle Drive, at the northwest corner of West 86th Street and Township Line Road.

Brugge Brasserie

Broad Ripple restaurant Brugge Brasserie—known for serving cones of “frites” (or fries) as well as crepes, mussels and Belgian ales—closed permanently after trying to make a go of it by serving takeout through April.

Ted Miller launched the restaurant, 1011 E. Westfield Blvd., with his wife, Shannon Stone, in 2005 with their former Broad Ripple High School classmates Eli Schloss and Abraham Benrubi as co-owners.

Old Pro’s Table

Old Pro’s Table, a 30-year-old sports bar in Broad Ripple, called it quits permanently in mid-May.

In addition to alcohol, the establishment at 827 Broad Ripple Ave. offered a menu that included thin-crust pizza, wings, nachos, chicken tenders and fries. The tavern and eatery finished first in the 2016 WRTV BestBarIndy competition.

Next Door American Eatery

Kimbal Musk opened the casual Next Door American Eatery in May 2018 at 4573 N. College Ave., in a former Double 8 grocery store. He said the restaurant was already struggling when he decided to close it permanently in late March.

The restaurant was part of the Boulder, Colorado-based Kitchen Restaurant Group that was co-founded in 2004 by Musk’s older brother, Kimbal Musk. The company said it planned to reopen the more upscale Hedge Row eatery at 350 Massachusetts Ave.

Redemption Alewerks

Redemption, a 6-year-old brewpub, permanently closed in late April, citing “the difficult landscape we are all living through.”

The establishment opened in late 2014 in the former location of Blue Crew Sports Grill at 7035 E. 96th St.

Stacked Pickle

Former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Gary Brackett announced in early May that he was shutting down his Stacked Pickle chain of sports bars, saying that the pandemic’s uncertainty, combined with lost business and a lack of sports events, left him with no viable options but to close.

Stacked Pickle lists 10 locations on its website—nine in Indiana and one in Dayton.

Stacked Pickle was founded by Chris Long, who opened the first restaurant in 2010. Brackett became a partner and eventually bought out Long in 2014 as Brackett Restaurant Group LLC.

On the brink?

The bankruptcy of its parent company casts doubt on the futures of Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in downtown Indianapolis and Logan’s Roadhouse steakhouses in Plainfield, Noblesville and Greenwood.

CraftWorks filed for protection from its creditors in early March and closed more than 330 restaurants around the country. The restaurants have yet to reopen.

A bankruptcy judge last week approved an acquisition of CraftWorks by its main lender, New York-based Fortress Investment Group, for a lower-than-expected $93 million. Fortress has committed to reopen only about 150 restaurants.

Rock Bottom has operated at 10 W. Washington since 1996. A north-side Rock Bottom closed in 2017.

The Logan’s Roadhouse locations opened in 1991.

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8 thoughts on “BBQ joint, Books & Brews site join long list of area restaurants to call it quits during pandemic

  1. The Logan’s Roadhouse in Greenwood by the mall looked pretty closed to me last Sunday night. The signs were taken down and there was a for sale sign up front.

    1. Logan’s was owned by Craftworks who filed bankruptcy. All 500+ restaurants owned by craftworks are done, including Logan’s and Rock Bottom.

  2. West of i-69 on 96th Street, the signs have all been removed from Bob Evans. East on 96th Street, a sign on the door of Ruby Tuesday says the property is under the control of the landlord. That one is no surprise.

  3. Craftworks was acquired by Fortress, which plans to reopen about 150 restaurants. Some Logan’s have reopened. The acquisition also included Old Chicago Pizza, and some of those have reopened.

  4. Bravo! was tanking prior to SARS-CoV-2 appearing in the news. The virus just gave them a convenient excuse to not go through the motions of bad management struggling to decide if it was going to sink or swim and it wasn’t working very hard to try to right itself.

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