The Feed: Brother Juniper’s Returns, Beloved Dive Bar Faces Lawsuit

A new restaurant in the old Planet Hollywood, breastfeeding drama at a vegan destination, and more of Indy’s freshest dining news.
dorman street
The historic Dorman Street Saloon in 2013. Credit: Tony Valainis/Indianapolis Monthly

Historic dive bar Dorman Street Saloon (901 Dorman St.) faces a lawsuit after an allegedly drunk driver struck three pedestrians in March. Police say 27-year-old Salvador Banales struck 27-year-old Brandon Breedlove and two others at the intersection of College and Massachusetts avenues. Breedlove later died of his injuries, and his family says a bar that served Banales is partly to blame. WRTV reports the suit claims a staffer at the century-old saloon provided Banales with at least one alcoholic drink “knowing that he was visibly intoxicated.” The lawsuit, which also names Banales as a defendant, is seeking compensation for medical, burial, and state expenses. Texas resident Banales, who says he was in Indy for a convention, faces multiple charges in the case. His criminal trial is expected to begin on June 24.

A lot has happened since Planet Hollywood threw its doors open at 130 S. Illinois St. in the late 1990s. The cavernous space (11,700 square feet!) has been home to Ram Restaurant & Brewery and Goodwood Brewing & Spirits, and now chain sports bar Tom’s Watch Bar is stepping up to the plate. The IBJ reports the business will open in late 2024, but folks who choose a spot based on dining room design should take note: According to co-founder Tom Ryan, “We don’t really have a decor. We just wallpaper our restaurants in TVs.”

Kokomo sandwich, bowl, and salad spot Yoke Social Table has opened a second location in The Garage food hall (906 Carrollton Ave.), the venue announced via Instagram. So far, Yoke hasn’t formally introduced its Indy location, but a peek at its Kokomo menu might give you a feel for what’s in store.

Looks like I spoke too soon when I said some of Indiana’s Red Lobster locations were safe. The now-bankrupt company just announced a new wave of closures, CNN reports, and three more Hoosier spots are on the hit list. In addition to the previously shuttered restaurants in Elkhart and Indy (1752 Shadeland Ave.), Kokomo will no longer get cheddar bay biscuits at 1900 S. U.S. 31 Bypass, Richmond’s 5400 National Rd. E location will go dark, and the crab legs have walked from Michigan City’s 4353 Franklin St. stop. As of publication time, Avon, Anderson, Bloomington, Columbus, Fort Wayne, Lafayette, Muncie, and Terre Haute still boast Red Lobster outposts, and Indy’s 6410 E. 82nd St. and 690 E. Thompson Rd. ports remain open.

Bags of Tinker Street Coffee displayed artfully on shelves
Wall of Tinker Coffee Co. beans. 

Another one for the spoke-too-soon files: Tinker Coffee Co.‘s hospital cafe expansion was apparently just the tip of the iceberg. The bustling local roastery is moving into 5555 N. Illinois St., the former home of coffee shop and wine bar Chalet, which shuttered in April. Opening is planned for “late summer/early fall” of this year.

Have you been following the bizarre saga of Plantastic Indy‘s social media mess? The less than two-year-old vegan restaurant at 910 W. 10th St. made a splash when its owner made a since-deleted post to Instagram saying, “We can no longer welcome toddlers, newborns or anyone under five years old in order to keep up and maintain our sanitary standards.” According to owner Taina Bartlett (who didn’t respond to a request for comment but who emailed WTHR), customers who “let dirty diapers on the table and put their breast out in public uncover to feed the child” were responsible for the new policy. In subsequent posts, she said she wasn’t opposed to breastfeeding but confusingly seemed to equate the practice, when done openly, with “unsanitary conditions.” In response, Circle City Birth Services will hold a “nurse in” for breastfeeding moms outside Plantastic at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 14.

How is a “body positive” juice bar different from all the other juice bars in Indy? We’ll find out on Saturday, June 15, when Gina’s Juice Bar opens for business at 6311 E. Westfield Blvd. The smoothie and shot shop with a highly Instagrammable bathroom will throw its doors open for the first time at 10 a.m.

Community-outreach-program-turned-mini-restaurant-empire Brother Juniper‘s left a hole in sandwich fans’ hearts when it shuttered its last Indy location in the early 2000s, a victim not of the fickle restaurant biz but of declining membership at its owner and operator, the Joy Of All Who Sorrow Orthodox Christian Church. Its thick sandwiches, made with house-baked bread evoked a very specific kind of ’70s chic, add up once you know the church’s first restaurant opened on San Francisco’s famous Haight Street in 1968. Local food folk of a certain age speak of it in the same nostalgic breath as The Abbey or Paramount Music Palace, but unlike those long-lost destinations, Brother Juniper’s will be back for a single, magical day during Saturday’s Talbot Street Art Fair, the church announced on Facebook. Hours at the restaurant, which is inside the church at 1516 N. Delaware St., will be 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 15. And, yes, the Happy Hermit is on the menu.