New eatery to open inside old bank building after Mass Ave restaurant Stella closes

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A new restaurant is opening inside an old 38th Street bank that has sat vacant for two years.

After Stella closed its doors last week, the restaurant’s owner has announced plants to revitalize the 1947 bank building to become the home of a new eatery, Midtown Brasserie.

Neal Brown, the executive chef and owner of Neal Brown Hospitality Group, closed his Stella restaurant at Mass Ave and will open Midtown Brasserie at 215 E. 38th Street. The new site is expected to open by September 2018 in the building most recently used as a Chase Bank branch.

“This building is iconic here in Indianapolis,” Brown said. “It became very clear that the concept with Stella kind of fit with the building. We were looking at a move with Stella and it just made sense for us to re-concept the restaurant and bring it to a building that suits that concept. We are going to be able to expand with what we were doing at Stella with Midtown Brasserie while bringing some really positive energy to a building that is ready for revitalization.”

Midtown Brasserie will sit only blocks away from Brown’s home, in the middle of his three other restaurants, Ukiyo at 4907 N. College Ave., the Libertine Liquor Bar at 609 Mass Ave., and Pizzology in Carmel.

“There will be some of the same dishes from Stella available,” Brown said. “We are also going to incorporate a little of Pizzology fare into that and are going to serve breakfast and lunch. The idea that its a brasserie means that it’s a multi-service period day for us. Generating as much activity in the space as possible is going to be key for us. The fact that this is a commuter path from the north side to downtown really helps our breakfast and lunch business.”

The 38th Street building still sports many of its original Art Deco touches within its 7,500 square-feet of space. It was first known as the Maple Road branch of the Indiana National Bank. The new restaurant will incorporate the original architecture, as well as the original vaults and safety deposit box areas. Outdoor seating is planned under the former drive-thru awning. The property also offers 72 parking spaces.

Bill Oesterle and his partner, Ed Sherman, secured rezoning approval for the restaurant last week. Midtown Growth LLC, Oesterle and Sherman’s real estate company, purchased the property last year and has been making improvements to it for the past several months.

The name of the new restaurant pays homage to the five neighborhoods that surround the building. Those neighborhoods are Mapleton Fall Creek, Butler-Tarkington, Meridian Kessler, Meridian Foundation and Historic Watson Park.

“Luckily, the neighbors helped us out,” Sherman said. “We have had open houses and meetings with neighborhood associations in the community, and they told us what they wanted this space to be. They wanted this to be a restaurant where the community could come and get together.”

Oesterle said an additional tenant may be added to building, which has space for large meeting rooms in its basement level.

Other efforts in the area include two projects to bring a grocery store and a 140-unit apartment building. That project is led by the community development group Midtown Indianapolis Inc. and a developer, Flaherty & Collins Properties. Additional projects include a business incubator and renovation of the former United Way building on North Meridian, a microbrewery and taproom and other office space.