A Return to Food, Fellowship and Fundraising

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February 2022

It’s been several months since the last wine-pairing dinner, hosted by Tony’s Steaks and Seafood of Indianapolis and benefiting the Carmel Clay Public Library (CCPL) Foundation, was held. We’re happy to invite you to join us for the next dinner that will take place at Tony’s at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

Tony's Carmel Library Dinners

As many of our readers may recall, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tony’s Steaks and Seafood of Indianapolis partnered with the Carmel Clay Public Library (CCPL) Foundation, Carmel Travel Company and Carmel Monthly and hosted a series of themed wine-pairing dinners at their gorgeous downtown Indianapolis location—once a quarter—with the sole purpose of supporting the digest of nearly 2,000 free programs that are offered by CCPL, which the CCPL Foundation supports.

Compassion Over Competition

Like all of its neighboring businesses, Tony’s Steaks and Seafood of Indianapolis was impacted by the pandemic closures and suffered significant exterior damage by rioters at its Indianapolis location in May of 2020. The extent of the damage forced Tony Ricci, proprietor of Tony’s Steaks and Seafood, to further delay the reopening of his restaurant. The subsequent COVID-19 surges have continued to challenge restaurants such as Tony’s and have significantly impacted the hospitality industry as a whole. And yet, Ricci and his resilient staff are proud to have reinstated their community outreach efforts and are happy to host their mind-blowing wine-pairing dinners on behalf of the CCPL Foundation.

General Manager Michael Morgan shared with us what it’s been like trying to rebuild the culture in downtown Indianapolis since 2020 and how Tony’s has been a driving force in helping local businesses recoup, putting compassion ahead of competition, while still assisting their Hoosier neighbors and nonprofit organizations such as the CCPL Foundation via fundraising events similar to these pairing dinners.

“We sent out about $10,000 worth of gift cards to people saying, ‘Hey, when you’re ready, come back and see us,’” Morgan shared. “We’re still budgeting out a certain amount of money for charities and local organizations to help bring the [Hoosier] community back.”

Morgan explained that Ricci paid to produce a commercial that was posted on social media platforms that highlighted several local favorites, including Tony’s, St. Elmo Steak House and a handful of others, in which they all recommended a dish or notable menu favorite from their neighboring restaurants, all with the intention of getting people to come back to Indianapolis and support their favorite restaurants and retailers.

When Life Gives You Lemons … Make Limoncello

To add to the challenges that the pandemic and supply chains have created for establishments like Tony’s, price increases have certainly not made it easier, but Morgan stated that the Tony’s staff have not only risen to the challenges but have been extremely creative in their purchasing and look for ways to find fresh, affordable and delectable ingredients that continue to wow their guests and meet the gold standard that Tony’s has established.

“The chefs have had to get creative, and rather than going to Hawaii for tuna, we’re going to Florida for some great black snapper,” Morgan said. “They are getting to really showcase their talents.”

Tony's Carmel Library Dinners

While Morgan explained that Indianapolis’ convention business is at 85% attendance right now, and that there is more police presence downtown and the city is pitching in to help clean everything up, he emphasized that it’s been a painful recovery process.

So, whether you come down and join us for a night at Tony’s to support the CCPL Foundation or come down for a special occasion or for a night out on the town, be sure to help our fellow community partner as they continue to contribute to the Carmel community by supporting our library.

An Invaluable Community Partnership to the Carmel Community

The previous dinners of this quarterly series were sellouts and an astounding success for the CCPL Foundation. Ricci donates the cost, including food, wine and venue, so that the foundation retains all of the proceeds generated from these dinners.

Programming and resources such as those offered by CCPL are made possible through the generosity of its donors and supporters like Ricci and his staff.

CCPL Foundation Director Elizabeth Hamilton shared, “We have raised nearly $25,000 with our Tony’s dinners. These funds have been used during the pandemic to support families through the creation of take-home activities which promote literacy and learning, as well as the purchase of our citizen science kits. The citizen science kits are all inclusive and allow families to work together on a specific science project/experiment.”

To request more information and/or to reserve your seats for the next Tasting at Tony’s of Indianapolis Benefiting the Carmel Clay Public Library Foundation on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, please email Elizabeth Hamilton at [email protected].

For more information about or to make reservations to dine with your family or friends at Tony’s at Indianapolis, visit tonysofindianapolis.com.