Double 8 grocery stores getting new life as brewery, restaurant

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — After nearly two years of being vacant, new life is coming to some Double 8 grocery stores.

The Indianapolis-based grocery chain closed all of its locations in the summer of 2015.

At the location near 38th and Illinois streets, they’re putting in a brewery.

The area is rapidly changing, and the owner of Happy Brewing says he’s getting in while the getting is good.

“We’re brewing up a smile,” said Gabe Soukup, the owner of Happy Brewing. “We think that we can bring great beer to people that they’re going to have a smile about at the end of the day.”

Soukup owns the new brewery with his business partner, Dave Beller.

The building is massive at 8,400 square feet. They’ve removed the concrete front wall and replaced it with glass. They’ve installed a new brewery system, have plans for a kitchen and at some point say they’ll add a rooftop bar.

“With the park over here, we need all this,” said Gloria Stewart, while walking by the former grocery store.

Up until mid-century Ford cars were stored here. Then in the 1960s, Double 8, known then as 7-11 Super Market, moved in. They stayed until 2015.

While things are changing in Butler Tarkington, a few blocks away at 29th and MLK streets, it remains the same.

“You hear rumors often that something is going to happen in the neighborhood, a grocery store is going to come. But we’ve been hearing it now for a year and a half, and we still don’t have a grocery store,” said Rev. Charles Harrison of Barnes United Methodist Church.

He says Double 8 closing its doors in that area created a food desert — one that he says is only getting worse.

The Double 8 closing where Happy Brewing is opening up also created a food desert.

“I think it would be a really great place for another grocery store that does like a Whole Foods,” said Donna O’Rea, who lives nearby.

Soukup says his plan is to be the best neighbor they can be.

“Hopefully we’ll be bringing an asset to the community that everybody can enjoy,” he said.

Soukup says there are plans to open a grocery store somewhere in the Butler Tarkington neighborhood, but he didn’t say where.

Meanwhile in South Broad Ripple, Kimble Musk — the brother of Tesla CEO Elon Musk — is opening up a restaurant in a former Double 8.

He’s naming it The Kitchen and says it will be an affordable farm-to-table style restaurant.

Never miss another Facebook post from WISH-TV