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The Hoosierist: That’s A Wrap

Holiday light hassles, the King Cole Building, and lax dress codes. Ask the Hoosierist.

Q: How long does it take to pull down all the lights used for the big holiday light shows?
A: Anyone who has spent a frigid afternoon removing Christmas lights from their home knows that it typically takes less time to pull them down than it does to string them. But that’s not necessarily true for larger displays, where you can’t just wind up everything on spools and toss them into your basement until next winter. For instance, it takes Newfields from around Labor Day to early November to stage its 1.5-million-bulb Winterlights extravaganza, and from early January to late February (or even March) to take it down—depending on how many volunteers they can rope into helping. Yet in spite of the difficulties, rest assured that none of the major operators will take the easy way out, like your lazy Uncle Don did. “We don’t leave them up all year long,” assures Mattie Wethington, public-relations manager for Newfields.

Q: I saw that the historic King Cole Building recently changed hands. Where did that name come from?
A: This 10-story edifice near Monument Circle has a long tradition of being named after its most prominent tenant. When it opened in 1915, it was called the Kahn Building in honor of Kahn’s Tailoring, a haberdashery located for years on the second floor. In 1929, a guy named Max Comisar opened a swanky basement eatery there called the King Cole Restaurant. In 1963, Comisar bought the entire structure, which soon became the King Cole Building. For years, the restaurant was one of the fanciest places in town, where businessmen dined on French cuisine and ladies stopped in for lunch after a morning of shopping. But fancy dining became as passé as ascots, forcing the King Cole to close in 1994. The building is currently slated to become a hotel—one that might retain the King Cole name in some fashion.

Q: Are there any restaurants left in Indy that enforce a dress code, or can I show up anywhere in my sweat-pants now?
A: The Hoosierist is old enough to remember an era when folks dressed up to go to Red Lobster. Times, to put it mildly, have changed. Old-school eateries such as The Eagle’s Nest still ask for “business casual,” but this doesn’t include dresses, jackets, or neckwear. St. Elmo Steak House also asks for business casual, but says it won’t turn away folks who show up in “jeans, tennis shoes, and shorts.” And at hotspots such as Milktooth, you’re about as likely to find a dress code as you are a basket of soda crackers on your table. With modern clothing standards set lower than a limbo bar, “No shirt, no shoes, no service” is about as restrictive as it gets.

Have Indiana-related questions? Send them to [email protected].

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