The Feed: New Brunches, Eggs Gone Wild, Sushi Shutdown

Plus: A Shelby Street sweet spot, Raising Cane’s in Carmel, and more of Indy’s freshest dining news.
Jesse Rice of Black Circle Brewing. Credit: Tony Valainis/Indianapolis Monthly

Black Circle Brewing Co. is making moves. Jesse Rice, the co-founder of the Midtown live act venue and beer spot at 2201 E. 46th St., has quietly changed its name to Black Circle Music Bar as “our core competency has become music and live events,” Rice told the IBJ. Now he’s mulling a second event venue, called Back Circle Audio, inside the former American Legion Post 465 at 3317 E. 10th St. No word yet on food or drinks at the new business, but Rice is reportedly “pursuing a permit to store barrels of corn whiskey on-site.”

Back when it was operating as a food truck, we sang the praises of the outrageous cookies at the Cavity Factory on our best of 2022 list. Fast forward to the present day, and owner Destinee Smith has just opened a permanent storefront at 1354 Shelby St., with cookies up for grabs from 10 a.m. to sell-out/5 p.m. on Fridays–Sundays. Menus go up on their Instagram (here are the April 12–14 offerings) earlier in the week, so you have time to plot your sweet weekend strategy.

Changes are afoot for Hikaru Hibachi Express and Sushi (8501 Westfield Blvd.). The petite sushi bar/takeout venue opened less than a year ago in the Nora Shops strip mall but went dark in recent weeks. In an announcement posted to social media, the business says it is “in the process of transitioning to new ownership and will be temporarily closed.” Its phone number has since been disconnected, and efforts to reach the business for more information have not been responded to as of publication time.

Florida-based chain I Heart Mac & Cheese‘s last Indianapolis outpost closed a couple years ago, but we’re hearing this week about why the rapidly expanding company’s local presence curdled. Last year, Indiana’s secretary of state canceled IHMaC’s ability to rope in franchisees, Restaurant Business reported then, as it allegedly failed “to file materially sufficient disclosures.” This week, the Indiana Securities Division filed a more serious complaint against the company, it announced in a press release, saying that franchisees across the state “faced ongoing problems related to misrepresented startup and ongoing operational costs,” among other troubling issues. (Were you an Indiana IHMaC franchisee? If so, I’d love to chat—please do get in touch.)

Chicken sandwich and tater tots
Duke’s chicken sandwich and tots. Credit: Tony Valainis/Indianapolis Monthly

April Swoon subject Duke’s Indy (2352 S. West St., 317-643-6403) is getting into the brunch game. The owners of the lunch and dinner fried chicken hot spot, which was transformed from the longstanding Ice House bar into its current iteration back in 2018, announced via Instagram that they will be closing during lunch on Saturdays for the next few weeks as the restaurant gears up to launch brunch service on April 27. Excuse me, “honky tonk brunch,” which does indeed sound more fun. Menu and hours are TBA.

Ash & Elm Cider Co.‘s April 1 Instagram announcement that the taproom and restaurant was opening a new location in Carmel was met with understandable skepticism, so owners Aaron and Andréa Homoya sent a follow-up email this week saying they weren’t April fooling. The second Ash & Elm will be part of the North End apartment complex and has a tentative opening date of June or July 2024, with a plan for the same sophisticated menu and local ciders that have made their location at 1301 E. Washington St. (317-600-3164) such a standout.

West Fork Whiskey is branching out, our friends at the Star report. The company, which began as a bourbon-focused distillery in 2012, opened a $10 million, 33,000-square-foot destination showplace at 10 E. 191st St. (317-763-5400) in Westfield back in 2022. Now it’s working with construction company M/I Homes to build a “live and play entertainment district” in the showplace’s surrounding 12 to 18 acres. Expect 150 townhomes, a dog park, a whiskey aging warehouse, and more in a development they’re calling the “West Fork District.”

Sometimes even the most locally virtuous of us have to hit a chain spot, I get it. To that end, here’s a lightning round of dining conglomerate news:

· Chipotle began in Denver and moved its HQ to SoCal in 2018, but there are not many places you can go in the U.S. and not find an outpost of the fast casual bowl-and-burrito company. Camby, Indiana, joined the list of locations this week, with its first Chipotle at 8052 Upland Bend. [WTHR]

· Louisville-based breakfast/brunch business Wild Eggs is plotting three more Central Indiana locations, all of which will be company spots, not franchises. First is an Avon location at 9769 E. U.S. 36 with an expected summer opening; the company is also scouting Greenwood options as we speak. [IBJ]

· Raising Cane’s, a wildly popular Louisiana chicken finger chain that’s been in major expansion mode lately, is set to open another shop at 14909 Thatcher Lane in Carmel on May 14. It’ll join Indianapolis-area outposts in Avon and Noblesville. [WTHR]

· A tipster spotted signs for an outpost of Culinary Dropout at Nora Plaza and wondered what was up, so here’s what we know: The chain restaurant is part of Phoenix-based restaurant conglomerate Fox Restaurant Concepts, which, since 2019, has been owned by The Cheesecake Factory and boasts a slew of different types of venues across the U.S. The Indy spot at 1320 E. 86th St. is under construction now, the IBJ reported in February, and an opening date is unclear. Culinary Dropouts are typically known as spots with fairly standard burgers-and-nachos-style bar food, live music, and Chuck E. Cheese but for grownups-type games. 

Have a local food or dining tip or question? Get in touch.