Broad Ripple business district weathers ebb and flow

"There's a lot of growth downtown,” said Stephen Kelly, general manager of Kilroy's Bar & Grill in Broad Ripple. “I think that growth needs to move north to the Broad Ripple area." (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — If you drive down some of the main thoroughfares in Broad Ripple, what do you see?

You see a lot of restaurants and local shops.

But, look closer, you’ll see something else: restaurants seemingly disappearing.

24-Hour News 8 uncovered something interesting about the Broad Ripple commercial district. Yes, some restaurants are leaving the neighborhood, but many others are staying put. One man said an eatery that closed affected his life.

“How am I going to afford my bills?” restaurant worker Ray Stamps, of Indianapolis, said. “How am I going to pay rent?”

Those thoughts were swirling around Stamps’s mind after he lost his job when the restaurant where he worked closed its Broad Ripple location. Around the neighborhood, several high visibility spots on Broad Ripple Avenue now sit empty. Recently, Monon Food Co. closed its Broad Ripple location to focus on its downtown Indianapolis venture. In mid-September, after 10 years, Boogie Burger closed its doors for good.

“It all kind of hurt all at once,” Stamps said.

Debbie Bosworth, operations manager at Luciana’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, said, “It was sad for us to see Boogie Burger go because they’re right next door.”

Her family owns Luciana’s. They are putting down roots in Broad Ripple.

“Customer service is hard. Business can be hard. But, if you know why you’re there and what you’re doing, and you’re doing it right, stay the course,” she said.

“Staying the course” is what Kilroy’s Bar & Grill is doing, too. Over the years, General Manager Stephen Kelly has watched neighbors come and go.

“There’s a lot of growth downtown,” he said. “I think that growth needs to move north to the Broad Ripple area.”

Kelly said he sees a turning point. He pointed to new neighborhood apartments and others that are planned for the near future. He even pointed to word of more restaurants on the way.

A resurgence in Broad Ripple, if you will.

“Broad Ripple’s always been good to us. We’re not going anywhere anytime soon,” he said.

Stamps said he sees it, too. He started his new job Thursday.

“I think it’s great! That shows quite a bit of loyalty,” he said. “There are places that are staples here. That makes Broad Ripple what it is.”

A place to go and grow.

So, what’s the secret to staying in Broad Ripple? What keeps customers coming back to Broad Ripple restaurants?

“Good customer service. Good food,” Bosworth of Luciana’s said.