Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fishers, Restaurant Graveyard

In the five years I've lived in Fishers, I've seen a surprisingly large number of decent restaurants come and go, but none has surprised me as much as the disappearance of Fionn MacCool's Irish Pub. From a Star report:

The popular Fionn MacCool's Irish Pub in Fishers has closed its doors.

The economy is to blame for the closure, the restaurant said in a letter to staff and customers on its Facebook page.

"2009 has been a challenging year for most of us and it is with deep regret that we are not able to withstand the economic crisis and must close our business," the message says.

It appears the restaurant closed Wednesday.

The restaurant, which has been open for about four years, won the Fishers Chamber of Commerce's Pillar Award for Business of the Year this fall. The chamber confirmed the restaurant is out of business.

The first one I noticed to come and go was a Chinese restaurant at Commercial, north of 116th. As soon as it opened, I got take out, and Ame really loved their tofu dishes. They were closed within three months. Who gives a start-up three months?

That space then became a Mexican-Guatamalan restaurant and bakery. It was a weird combination. Guatamalan food is pretty bland, and when I think 'fresh baked bread', I neither think "Mexico" nor "Guatamala". They were open about two years. Now the space is going to be BBQ.

The same strip had Stefano's, which closed earlier this year. Awesome garlic knots, possibly the worst marinara I've ever had. It tasted like it was overboiled for days. It was so bad I went back twice to see if it was an overboil, or if it was just that bad. It was just that bad. You really don't have a prayer with an Italian joint if you make lousy marinara.

There was a Dick's Bodacious BBQ on 116th at I-69. That's a Qdoba now.

There was a decent Indian restaurant on Allisonville south of 116th, run by very sweet people. It is now a chain Mexican place.

There was an Iranian restaurant on 116th across from the Town Center. It is now a Sushi joint. Ame & I went there Thursday. Good food, if pricey.

A former Boston Market is now a McDonald's. A Burger King is now a bank! Two Quizno's locations have vanished. A La Hacienda Mexican location that had a great daily lunch crowd disappeared. That space has been vacant for about two years.

There are still a lot of restaurants, and interesting ones at that. I love India Sizzling. I buy more groceries than anything at Al-Basha. Excellent fresh pita there! Friend Bill Smythe operates Claude & Annie's, which was one of my old poker haunts. I tease my friend Andrew about Ram, since he moved away and misses their beers. Among others.

I don't know why Fishers is a revolving door for restaurants. Many of those that vanished were pretty good. Is it the rent? The economy? Poor management? When your Town's 'Business of the Year' fails in the year it wins the award, you have to wonder what's going on.


Michael said...

I am truly saddened that Fionn's has closed. That was a favourite or ours, despite some menu changes for the worse. Every time we ever went in they seemed to be doing well and had good crowds. What is it with Fishers? Al Basha is one of my favourites, too. Like yourself, I love the fresh pita, (we make our own hummus). Their food isn't the greatest, altho they do have pretty good falafel. They also replaced an existing business, too. An Indian store, as I recall. Hopefully, Fishers will stabilise as a market for good restaurants, and weed out the mediocre.

Greg said...

I worked in restaurants for 15 years and in different parts of the country. I've thought about opening places here before, but can't escape that for whatever reason people around here just don't seem interested in new food or...good food.

Nicole said...

You left out everything that has been next to Archers. Most recently Old Town Ale House. I came back from my honeymoon and it was gone. Sad day.

Josh Gillespie said...

My very first job was at the Boston Market (then Boston Chicken) in Fishers. I worked their for three years. I was surprised to see it had closed. Surprised even more when I saw it had become a McDonalds.

Josh Gillespie said...

I remember when Archer's was THE grocery store and butcher in Fishers. Then Marsh moved in. Then Kroger. They closed and became a catering company....or something.

Mike Kole said...

I found the restaurants next to Archer's to be horrible, until the Ale House, and then I only went for the beers.

Here comes a wholly unsubstantiated rumor: I have heard from a hunter who had used Archer's to dress their venison that they wont use them anymore, because, allegedly, they allow the local Muslim community to use their facility to sacrifice animals. Now, that's pretty out there, but what I've heard.

Chris Ward said...

I miss the Ale House. Great selection of beer as you mentioned Mike, but the greatest food ever. Caramelized Bacon.

Anonymous said...

free market capitalism at work

Mike Kole said...

Absolutely. I wish there were more demand to sustain places like the Ale House. I won't particularly miss Fionn's the way Michael will.

Alas, the free market is merely a reflection of the tastes in an area. On the supply side? Well, I suspect the quality of management had something to do with the downfall of Fionn's- a place that generally had decent crowds.