Dry your tears, Greg Hardesty groupies. The local chef who closed Recess/Room Four last year is back on the local restaurant scene as the consulting chef at Spoke & Steele (123 S. Illinois St., 317-737-1616). Hardesty is quick to point out that he is not “the chef,” but he will spearhead a new dinner and lunch menu, help train a new chef to take over the kitchen full time, and assist with marketing and social media. Hardesty is famous for his Room Four burgers, and it looks like a variation on that fan favorite is joining the new Spoke & Steele menu this week.
Another local favorite chef is back on the scene. John Adams is running the kitchen at Salt on Mass (505 Massachusetts Ave., 317-638-6565), six months after the surprise closing of Marrow, his internationally inspired restaurant in Fountain Square. After Marrow closed, Adams planned a move to New Orleans and worked in some kitchens there (Compere Lapin and Cochon), but got a call from owners of Salt to join the team in Indianapolis. He’s spent the last few weeks putting his stamp on the menu, and brought in Canaan Allen as sous chef (Allen was on the opening team at Shoefly Public House). Adams’s wife, Myra Church, former sous chef at Plow & Anchor and Marrow, is doing all of the desserts on the new menu. Adams has a reputation for innovative takes on seafood, and sounds excited for the new gig. “My very own seafood restaurant? Are you kidding me?” he marvels. “That’s totally in my wheelhouse.”
The wildly popular Return of the Mac is back in Indianapolis on February 4 at the Circle City Industrial Complex (1125 Brookside Ave.), with tickets going on sale January 12. Last year’s event sold out in less than 30 minutes. Some of the businesses competing for the Golden Noodle award this year include ClusterTruck, Nada, Rooster’s Kitchen, Livery, and Tulip Tree Creamery. General admission tickets are $25 and include unlimited mac and cheese samples (nice knowing you, New Year’s resolution). A VIP ticket will get you early entry for $40. (Children under 6 are free with a paid adult ticket.) The event is on Super Bowl Sunday, but organizers promise to get you fed in time to make it home for kickoff. A portion of proceeds benefit Second Helpings and FACE Low-Cost Animal Clinic.
Just Pop In is getting closer to opening its brand new headquarters. Founders (and twin sisters) Carly Swift and Mandy Selke told the Towne Post they expect a grand opening celebration early in 2018 for the 5,000-square-foot space at 6406 Cornell Avenue (10 times the 500 square feet in the current headquarters at 5302 Guilford Avenue). The new facility will feature a larger production kitchen, shipping operations, corporate offices, and private event space. Swift and Selke founded Just Pop In in 2003.
Cerulean served its last meal on December 31, and chef Alan Sternberg is already laser-focused on launching the permanent location of his pop-up dinner series, Common House. Sternberg told Nuvo that he and his wife, Audra, are currently scouting spots downtown. They are planning a menu heavy on crudo and housemade pasta. They’re also designing a bar program centered around Sternberg’s favorite whiskeys. No timeline has been announced for the new restaurant.