For most of Terry Anthony’s career in telecom sales, he helped businesses solve problems. But none of those businesses were his own. When he hit 40, he thought, “Either this is going to take me home, or I’m not where I want to be,” says the former linebacker from Murray State University who came to Indy to pursue football after college. In 2016, he made good on his dream of branching out into the culinary world, taking over the lease of a downtown Subway franchise. But rising rents made profits tight, and the loss of noontime crowds during the pandemic closures meant shuttering the shop just as he had finished the renovation.
When the property manager of the historic downtown Block Building approached him about opening another spot in the ground-floor space vacated by Lazeez Mediterranean Grill (whose windows had been broken out during last summer’s protests), Anthony said yes. The result is The Block Bistro and Grill, a minority-owned spot staffed by restaurant professionals laid off during the pandemic. “Instead of telling them what to cook, we had a competition, and the best dishes made the menu,” says Anthony, though his signature jumbo chicken wings get top billing.
With fresh decor and a new concept, along with live music on First Fridays, Anthony hopes to bring visitors back to a revitalized, more diverse, and more vibrant downtown. “Every weekend,” he says, “things have been getting better.”