No Need to Leave Hamilton County for Good Eats

February 2020

Are you a self-proclaimed “foodie” who enjoys a healthy night life but doesn’t always feel motivated to traverse out of the county to downtown Indianapolis? Anymore, one doesn’t have to. You can even experience some of your favorite dishes and cocktails from a few of your favorite Indy haunts as well as some brand-new options from out of state—right here in Hamilton County!

The Fishers District is an 18-acre master-planned mixed-use development that blends dining, retail, entertainment and residential living all in one exciting location between IKEA and Top Golf.

Established Carmel-based businesses such as Sun King, Pet People and Peace Water Winery have expanded into the Fishers District, as have Indianapolis favorites: 1933 Lounge, Kincaid’s Meat Market and Sangiovese Ristorante.

We decided to take a peek at a few of these establishments and get a feel for why the owners decided to expand their empires in Hamilton County—specifically at The Yard at Fishers District.

Hamilton County “Gets It”

First, we checked in with Mo Merhoff, president at OneZone, to learn why a development such as The Yard at Fishers District is a strong indicator that Hamilton County is not just a popular place to live and to work but is quickly becoming the place to play as opposed to neighboring counties.

mo merhoff
Mo Merhoff, president at OneZone

“It used to always be about what kind of incentives or tax relief businesses [looking to relocate or expand into another market] would get,” Merhoff said. “That has changed to ‘Where are my employees going to live and what educational and recreational opportunities are available?’ Are there places for employees to ride bikes and are there walkable areas? There has been a shift in what economic development means, and clearly, Hamilton County has been paying very strong attention to that.”

Merhoff expressed that even as few as five years ago, people couldn’t experience the variety of businesses and restaurants in Hamilton County that they can today.

“I think it’s a visionary change and Hamilton County gets it,” Merhoff said. “I think [Hamilton County] businesses realize that all boats rise when you have competition. There is a sense of camaraderie in the restaurant group, for instance. They want everybody to succeed, and they also recognize that if people are coming to their place and it’s jammed full of people, people can walk up the street to another location and are more likely to come back another time. If I drive or walk out of my way to go someplace and they’re full and there’s nowhere else for me to go in the immediate area, how likely am I to come back?”

Why Hamilton County and Why Now?

As mentioned, we spoke with a few of these more established restaurants that have respected and reputable histories in Carmel, Indianapolis and even Ohio to better understand why they decided to expand their brands in Hamilton County as opposed to any of the neighboring counties.

The 1933 Lounge by St. Elmo and the HC Tavern + Kitchen

Loyal patrons of St. Elmo’s and Harry & Izzy’s Indianapolis locations will find the same level of quality service along with classic entrees, appetizers, cocktails and more at its Fishers locations.

We recognized an opportunity to present a sophisticated, adult lounge and restaurant in eastern Hamilton County,” Craig Huse, president and co-owner at Huse Culinary, Inc., said. “The Fishers District, developed by Thompson Thrift, was a perfect fit in terms of location and tenant mix, allowing us to serve the dining and entertaining needs of Carmel and Fishers residents and businesses. There are plenty of family-friendly dining options, but every now and then, an adult getaway is needed in your own town (I have 13-year-old twins—I get it!).”

Huse continued, “The 1933 is a restaurant-forward lounge. The lunch and dinner menus include classic St. Elmo entrees, shareable and customizable platters, an expanded appetizer list and even few sushi dishes. Our curated whiskey selections and expansive cocktail, wine and beer lists will keep guests smiling and happy. We worked closely with Loree O. Everette and her team at Phanomen Design, and I’m very pleased with how the atmosphere represents our St. Elmo brand and the celebration of Prohibition’s repeal.”

The HC Tavern + Kitchen opened on February 17 and is, as Huse affectionately describes it, “Harry & Izzy’s 2.0—a classic American grill with all-new menu items and similarly balancing approachable comfort in an upscale, sexy atmosphere.”

Sangiovese Ristorante

Patrons of Sangiovese Ristorante at Ironworks can expect a 180-degree change in decor but the same attention to detail and service at its location at Fishers District.

Chris Evans, CEO at Sangiovese Ristorante, explained, “A lot of our regulars live in Hamilton County, so we’re really excited about re-creating what we do at Ironworks in Hamilton County. You’ll get the same product and the same great glass of wine, but you’ll have a completely different experience just because of the decor. The new location is much lighter and brighter in color. We’ve got some fun hand-painted murals—one in our private room that is really spectacular. I’ve got a whole wall in my bar area that’s lined with antique mirrors. I did a really rich lighting package that is mixed with modern and almost medieval-looking light fixtures. We used a lot of raw and rich elements throughout the decor.”

When asked why he chose the Fishers District specifically, Evans said, “To have all the other great local restaurants, the hotel and the apartments there, is an absolute win-win for a restaurateur. Huse is one of the best in Indianapolis, so to be next to them is a great thing. I’m next to Beer Kitchen [101] and Rize with the Cunningham Restaurant Group—and they’re not all chains, which is something Hamilton County has needed for a long time.”

Welcome to Hamilton County, Indiana, Beer Kitchen 101

The new kids to The Yard, Thad and Jessica Kittrell, owners at 101 Beer Kitchen, have opened their first Indiana location at the Fishers District and have another location slated to open in Carmel, Indiana, at the Proscenium at a later date.

No Need to Leave Hamilton County

The Kittrells opened their first 101 Beer Kitchen in Dublin, Ohio, in 2012. Thad is a New England Culinary Institute-trained chef and Jessica is a finance professional.

“We’re from the Midwest. I’m from Toledo, Ohio, and my husband’s from Indiana, so there’s the Indiana connection,” Kittrell shared. “We opened our first location seven years ago in Dublin, Ohio, and we pride ourselves in having a variety, but for us it’s about the enjoyment of food and beverage, and we’re all about the ‘and.’ Our concept is a community gathering place for the ‘foodie’ generation, empty-nesters who want to enjoy a ‘date’ night and for families who want to enjoy a high-quality beverage from our juried beverage program that offers a carefully juried draft and bottle list as well as fantastic seasonal cocktails, as well as a variety of food options. We’re all about creating an experience with your meal.”

When looking for their first out-of-state location, Kittrell said that Fishers and Carmel “fit the bill.”

“We were very intentional about the type of location for our first out-of-state [restaurant],” Kittrell stated. “[The Fishers District] fits our concept beautifully,” Kittrell stated. “We’re really excited about the area and everything that is going on out there. It’s amazing—the growth and variety of businesses out in Hamilton County. It really is fantastic.”

For a complete and up-to-date directory of all of the businesses now open at The Yard at Fishers District, visit fishersdistrict.com.