During the month of May, “Your Town Friday” is all about Indy! This morning we head to the Fountain Square neighborhood which you’ll find 2 miles southeast of downtown Indy. From Deloss Street to the north and Pleasant Run North Drive to the south….State Street to the east and I-65 to the west.
The Fountain Square neighborhood dates back to the 1830’s but didn’t see much growth until the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The community was sort of the “downtown” for the south side through the mid-20th century. The area was home to many theatres, banks, churches and retail shops. Since then the area has seen many ups and downs, but very recently the neighborhood is bouncing back and is once again home to many restaurants, shops, offices and the Fountain Square Theatre Building is back in business!
“The building was built in 1928. It originally housed a bowling alley, doctors, lawyers and professional people on the 2nd and 3rd floors, the main floor was retail and the theatre and the basement was a dance hall and speakeasy,” said President of the building, Linton Calvert.
“It was built for vaudeville performances and then movies when they came out, the talkies, they came out in the early 30’s” said Linton.
The theatre was eventually sold and gutted and became a Woolworth’s department store and then a Value Village Thrift Store until Linton Calvert came along and started to restore the building in the 90’s.
“The authentic portion is the dome ceiling and twinkling stars, the actual stage arch, the floor was leveled by Woolworth’s, it used to be a slanted theatre venue and now it’s able to perform dances and receptions because it’s level and appears to be similar to 1928. The basement speakeasy is now a bowling alley, duck pin bowling alley, it’s atomic duck pin, it’s 50’s, it’s something I brought here from bowling alleys in the city,” said Linton.
The rooftop restaurant opens later this month. There’s a luxury boutique hotel on the 3rd floor, a game room on the mezzanine and two restaurants on the ground floor
“This building has an activity, something to do and a lot of character. If you’re looking to expose yourself to something different you haven’t had, people bring their families here and friends from out of town. It’s something different people don’t anticipate or expect,” said Linton.
For the last four years, the folks at Pure Eatery have been keeping bellies full day and night!
“We’re always open, we’re always inviting people to come on in, any time, and people enjoy that! They can get a salad and sandwich at 2 a.m. which, when you work in the industry, it’s kind of hard to find something healthy at that time. People love our cordon bleu sandwich which is our ham, pulled chicken, homemade honey mustard, bacon, Swiss on ciabatta bread. We have a lot of veggie options, veggie tacos, grilled veggie Panini. They love our Quattro Formaggio which fancy name for mac and cheese,” said general manager Dan Hillman.
And that’s exactly what Dan cooks up for us today!
“We’re going to start with our cheese sauce which we make in house. Pretty much everything we make here is by hand from scratch,” said Dan.
While Dan adds in some roasted red peppers, Portobello mushrooms and spinach, bartender Eli mixes up their signature El Guapo drink over at the bar.
“We have art from local artists, we do First Friday’s, we rotate our artists every 2 months, we have great drink specials and menu items and we keep things as fresh as possible. The staff, they’re inviting, once you come, you’re going to get to know them, they’ll know your name and you’ll want to come back,” said Dan.
And trust me after a bite of what Dan has prepared for us…you’ll definitely be coming back!
Just a few blocks away this store rings a different tune.
“When you come in we’re going to try to find out what you want and need not what we want to sell you,” said Amy England, manager of Arthur’s Music Store.
Amy’s grandparents started Arthur’s Music Store back in 1952.
“We do sell new product and used product, we buy product, and we do consignment and brokering for vintage items as well. We give lessons, our lesson program is huge, and we have 11 different teachers teaching everything you could want plus voice. We also do a bluegrass jam every Tuesday night, anyone can come hang out and play,” said Amy.
Amy says right now the focus is on folk and bluegrass instruments. Mandolins, ukuleles and banjo’s are super popular right now!
“Whether you’re a child or a teen, beginning or adult, you can come in, we’ll show you around, show you what we have in stock, see what you think, what you like, find out what instrument you’re interested in, find out what level you’re at and find the right piece for you,” said Amy.