In late July, Indianapolis couple and Indy Cigar Bar (3357 E. 86th St., 317-202-0720) owners Laura and Corey Johnston were featured on NBC’s The Marriage Ref, a cross between reality TV and a game show in which A-listers act as judge and jury for couples who are going through rough patches. The Johnstons’ dispute? Laura had to work in the cigar bar doing “all the dirty work” while Corey hung out, smoking and drinking. “That’s what the argument was,” Laura says. “He’s living his dream, and I’m living it too.”
Having been declared the winner on the show, Laura was awarded $25,000, money she plans to invest in her own dream venture: a food truck. As she envisions it, Al Fresco Mobile Cafe will cater mainly to corporate lunches and private parties and will feature some dishes from the cigar bar’s food menu, including the beloved (and surprisingly authentic) Cuban sandwich. She wants to serve other hot-pressed sandwiches–a Muffaletta, and a Tuna Melt–as well as on-the-go Chinese Chicken and Cobb salads.
Laura says a stylist at the neighboring 4:59 Barberlounge referred them to the casting department at the show, which sent a crew to film the episode in November from inside the bar and then flew the Johnstons to New York to film in front of the judges in December.