Virginia Avenue Is Indy’s Eat Street

How Virginia Avenue became Indy’s new restaurant row.

Once a bustling commercial thoroughfare connecting Fletcher Place and Fountain Square to downtown Indy via the Citizen’s Street Railway, Virginia Avenue fell into neglect in the final decades of the 20th century. But over the last few years, an enterprising group of restaurateurs and entrepreneurs seized on an opportunity to turn this strip into Indy’s hippest address for restaurants, breweries, markets, and bars. Here’s when it all happened.

501 Virginia Ave.

(1) Rook

Opened February 2016, the relocation of Ed Rudisell’s Asian bistro, originally in The Hinge building down the street.

534 Virginia Ave.

(2) Milktooth

Opened October 2014  by former Recess chef de cuisine Jonathan Brooks and former Goose the Market employee
Ashley Brooks.

619 Virginia Ave.

(3) South of Chicago Pizza & Beef

Opened March 2011 in a former insurance agency.

621 Virginia Ave.

(4) The Dugout

Opened in 1954 by former professional fast-pitch softball player Jack Wagner. The oldest continuously operating bar in Fletcher Place was purchased in 1999 by current owner Tom Ford, who added a food menu.

629 Virginia Ave.

(5) Cafe Nonna

Opened May 2015 by David Page, a Fletcher Place native who once owned downtown’s La Scala Italian restaurant.

630 Virginia Ave.

(6) Repeal

Opened July 2015 in a former bank building. Chefs converted the vault into a private dining room.

636 Virginia Ave.

(7) 12.05 Distillery

Opened December 5, 2014 (on the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition), offering vodka and gin at first. The Four Finger Rye, released in October 2015, was named for a distiller who lost a finger.

641 Virginia Ave.

(8) Tortas Guicho Dominguez y el Cubanito

Opened September 2010.

647 Virginia Ave.

(9) Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company

Relocated here April 2012, after moving from 615 Virginia Ave.

653 Virginia Ave.

(10) Bluebeard

Opened June 2012, with chefs John Adams and Abbi Merriss heading up the kitchen.

(11) Amelia’s

Opened October 2015.

655 Virginia Ave.

(12) Nicey Treat

Opened October 2015.

702 Virginia Ave.

(13) Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery

Opened September 2014 in an old carriage-repair shop and undertaker’s building dating back to 1900. The owners completed the renovation in 100 days.

719 Virginia Ave. (The Hinge building)

(14) Spice Box

Opened November 2015, replacing the original Rook, which debuted here in June 2013.

(15) Chilly Water Brewing Company

Opened June 2014 by former Fountain Square Brewery brewer Skip DuVall, who used to pass the location when biking to work.

874 Virginia Ave.

(16) Rocket 88 Doughnuts 

Opened December 2014 in Fountain Square’s former Arsenal Game Room & Cafe.

936 Virginia Ave.

(17) Peter’s

Opened in 1985. In 1993, owner Peter George moved the restaurant to Keystone at the Crossing and made 936 Virginia Avenue his residence.

Bistro 936

Opened in 2000 by George. 

The 936

Opened August 2005 by chef and owner Charles Davis.

Siam Square

Opened October 2008 by restaurateur Ed Rudisell.

1004 Virginia Ave.

(18) Peppy Grill

Opened in the mid-1940s. Side dining area was enclosed in the mid-1990s.

1015 Virginia Ave.

(19) Wildwood Market

Opened December 2014 in the former Coops Auto Sales office that had sat vacant for eight years.

1025 Virginia Ave.

(20) Naisa Pan-Asian Cafe

Opened mid-2009.

1043 Virginia Ave. (G.C. Murphy Building)

(21) La Margarita Restaurant and Tequila Bar

Opened November 2011 by the Rangel family.

(22) Pure Eatery

Opened June 2010 by Jon and Amy Andrus. Renovated with an added bar in March 2012.

(23) Vicoli’s Pizza

Opened early 2007.


Opened late 2007.

Red Lion Grog House

Opened February 2010.

1058 Virginia Ave.

(24) Mama Irma

Opened October 2011 by Peruvian Hilda Cano.