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Flashback: A Timeline of the King Cole Building

Tucked into the basement of the King Cole Building, just south of Monument Circle, Bacon Legs & Turntables (1 N. Meridian St., 317-737-2662) has a menu that shows more leg than the Rockettes—Buffalo chicken legs, smoked turkey legs, slow-cooked confit-style duck legs, pork shanks, and even frog legs, served with side dishes like bacon mashed potatoes and horseradish-laced potato salad. As the eatery’s name suggests, bacon takes center stage in every form imaginable—country-fried and served with sausage gravy for dipping, stacked on BLTs, draped across deviled eggs, and scattered atop salads. Indy-based Phanomen Design (lately responsible for Union 50’s sleek look) created the casual-with-a-hint-of-Vegas interior, right down to the 30-foot bacon-strip light fixture in the main dining room. The 147-seat space boasts a bit of a split personality, transforming from daytime diner-style eats to a DJ-helmed dance club on weekends. Though the concept is trendy, its location claims a storied past. Here’s a peek at its many former lives.

The Seville Tavern, 1929–1957
The Seville Tavern was the first restaurant to operate in the basement of 1 N. Meridian St., back when the 10-story structure (designed by the architecture firm Vonnegut, Bohn, and Mueller) was called the Kahn Building. In vintage photos, the below-level restaurant sports a Spanish decor, with plenty of wrought-iron curlicues and decorative tile.

King Cole, 1957–1994
King Cole, one of Indy’s original fine-dining establishments, was the place to see and be seen in its heyday. The French Continental menu touted steaks, rack of lamb, and seafood, and jackets were required dress for men. The restaurant sputtered after an alleged Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak in 1979, shuttering for good in the mid-1990s.

0415_DISH3_nickyblainesNicky Blaine’s, 1999–2005
The original Nicky Blaine’s sat pretty here for a few years, serving up a swanky selection of cigars and martinis, before relocating to its current subterranean digs just across the street.

Vacant, 2005–2015
Naked Tchopstix eyed the site a few years ago, but negotiations fell through, and the space sat empty for a solid decade.

BL&T, 2015
BL&T set up house with a soft opening in early January.

 

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