Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another Favorite, Gone.

Well, just read the news on Feed Me/Drink Me that now Elements has suddenly closed its doors for good. Well, crap.

This was one of the best restaurants in Indy, one that managed to change its menu just about every day and prepare high quality food every day it was open. But it, much like many other local places around here, are shockingly empty many nights. I know many of my readers truly care about good food and creating a City in which we can be proud of our own culinary creativity (and not some nationwide chain that sells the same mediocre food in every one of its 10 million locations), which is why I am saying this again, just like after L'explorateur closed, GET YOUR BUTT OUT THERE AND SUPPORT OUR LOCAL TALENT. Whatever your favorite is, make a reservation for tonight or this weekend. If you don't know where to go, email me, I'll be happy to tell you! I know, it costs money, just like it costs the restaurants money to keep the doors open. If you can't afford a big meal, support a smaller restaurant or go and order a lovely appetizer or two--most places around here you can certainly make a meal out of apps! And trust me, the restaurants will be happy to have you.

I really, really don't want to be repeating this post on another single locally owned restaurant around here (particularly ones I like so much!) Let's make the next non-review post one celebrating some good news about new restaurants! (Hint, hint, any of you wandering local chefs ready to put down roots yet?)

Send me a post and tell me where you are going to go this week. Let's celebrate our favorite independents!


  1. Ambrosia/Blue Point is one place that apparently isn't happy to have patrons...despite many empty outdoor tables, they wouldn't seat us outside this past Saturday afternoon because we were only planning on drinking and ordering some appetizers. It's a pretty mediocre place anyway, so it's just as well that they didn't get any of our money.

  2. Heard a rumor today that Neal is cooking at Midtown Grill in Broad Ripple. I didn't believe it, but then heard it again. Not confirmed, but I heard it twice in one day.

  3. You've got to be kidding me! My wife and I just ate there for the first time on Saturday night, and we loved this place - it was easily the best meal we've had since we moved to Indy. It was so good that on the drive home we had vowed to stop trying out all these mediocre places and just allocate more of the dining budget to Elements.

    So what's left, Oakley Bistro and Euphoria and that's about it right? Sad.

  4. This is one of the most awful things that could happen in Indy. We spent many wonderful evenings there and looked forward to spending many more. Why doesn't Indy support first class restaurants? Does Indy really only like PF Changs and The Cheesecake Factory?

    We're truly running out of non-chain restaurants. Even high end places like Oceanaire and McCormick and Schmick's are bloody chains!

    This weekend we will probably go to Shanghai Lil's or Mikado. Though Euphoria is sounding good, too.

    -Disgruntled Foodie

  5. Keep in mind, it isn't always lack of customers that cause a place to close. Poor management is another big culprit. If you go into the restaurant business without a good, solid background in how to run a place, nothing good will happen, even if you have a great product. You can't always blame Indy for not supporting the place.

  6. Anon, while I agree that your theory is possible, it does not explain why so many good and even great restaurants in Indy sit with dining rooms with only 2-3 tables in an evening and so many mediocre chain restaurants (like other readers have commented) have waits for their tables. This is a choice that the diners are making and generally has nothing to do with the management.

  7. We are truly saddened to hear about this. Elements was one of our favorite restaurants. But I have to wonder. Why can Louisville, Nashville, Milwaukee and Cleveland all support decent independent restaurant scenes while Indianapolis can't? They are all medium sized cities in the middle of the country with similar demographics to us. Why do their citizens support good food while Hoosiers seem to shun good food?

    We will definitely be going out to an independently owned restaurant this weekend just to show our support.


  8. I know this is an old post, and most people are disheartened by the closing of Elements (and L'Explorateur), but don't forget what a difficult time this is for fine dining in general and that plenty of other cities are watching such establishments close as well. Support viciously the ones left standing, but remember that the anonymous poster could be right about management issues: management most likely resulted in the demise of Tavern at the Temple and could have been the reason for some of the others as well.

    You spoke of Meridian's inconsistency in an earlier blog entry. The chains we all love to malign don't always begin as a corporate concept, but they usually achieve their ubiquity (and consistent customer base) because they are reliable and well-run businesses. The much venerated R Bistro left a sour taste in the mouth of some of my family members several months ago, who were asked to leave there table by the owner herself because she had reserved it for another group at 9 pm. Poor organization on the management's part resulted in a negative impression on the part of my family, despite a generally excellent meal. Such an occurrence would be unthinkable at PF Chang's or Cheesecake Factory.

    Earlier tonight I had a delightful meal at Saffron Cafe. This new place is hardly fine dining and the falafel was disappointing, but the rest of the meal was good and the service was unusually gracious. What a wonderful impression our server left! And, in case you might say Indy isn't daring enough for Moroccan food, the place was doing brisk business on a Monday night. Yes, it's small, but the whole operation seemed very carefully thought out.

    A new Elements or L'Explorateur will crop up as we emerge from the recession. (From what I've read, neither place was planning on giving up even months prior to close, so these two places themselves may begin anew as well.) Support them vigorously if you can afford it, or at least recommend them wholeheartedly to friends! Word of mouth is 90% of what sustains a restaurant.

  9. Deuteronomy-

    While I agree with a lot of what you say, I have to comment on my consistency argument--yes, it is true that the chains you mention are consistent, because they never change, and in my opinion, are often times consistently bad. But when I pay quite a bit of money for a nice meal, say at Meridian, I expect the kitchen to do their best every time. I realize when restaurants change their menus a lot, it is not always possible to be totally consistent, but it should at least be consistently well prepared.

    As for your experience at R Bistro, I can understand how that would piss you off, but when you say it would never happen at PF Changs or Cheesecake Factory, you're right, because they don't even take reservations do they? They could care less how long you sit at a table and/or stand outside their doors waiting like sheep for mediocre food.

    I do agree that managment may be an issue at many restaurants, and from my understanding was an issue at Tavern at the Temple, but you neglect to mention that Euphoria, basically the same restaurant with the same Chef (but with better management and staff) is not only surviving, but is putting out some of the best food in this City.

    One thing I totally agree with you on is our need to support our local restaurants, high end and low end. While restaurants like Euphoria might be expensive, the cost to our City if we lose them all is greater.