INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Marion County restaurants will be able to open tables again for the first time in two months on Friday, as long as those tables are outside.
The change means some radical changes and major investments for places to make it happen.
One of those eateries is the all-new Moe & Johnny’s at 54th and College Avenue in Broad Ripple.
In what used to be a parking lot, there’s now a large tent with tables, chairs and spaces for televisions, just waiting for Friday.
The outdoor overhaul was in full swing Thursday afternoon.
“We did what we had to do to survive,” said co-owner Zach Douglas about the last two months.
Now, the restaurant is doing it again.
The sports bar shop has been a real success story these last two months as they started offering delivery and catering services for the first time. Douglas said they were up to 80% of previous revenue and were serving more food than ever, until the rest of the state opened up.
“We fell easily 70 percent,” he said. “It got to the point when we were closed because it made more sense. For the past week, we’ve been closed three out of the past seven days.”
That’s why Douglas and his partners see outdoor seating as a necessity, even though it comes with an estimated $10,000 price tag between now and June 2.
It wasn’t easy either to get the supplies because there’s so many places suddenly interested in large tents and sanitizer.
“This tent wasn’t cheap. All the licenses, all the approvals, we got to get. None of this is cheap. The porta-potties, you’d be surprised how expensive these things are because all this stuff is in high demand.”
Moe & Johnny’s is almost 1.5 miles away from Broad Ripple Avenue where the city is closing down the street to allow restaurants more room for outdoor seating.
Still Douglas considers himself lucky because of his parking lot.
“Whew,” with a large sigh. “If we didn’t have a parking lot, I’d be knocking on a lot more doors figuring out how we could get in the middle of the street.”
Across the street, things have been keeping busy at Yats.
Co-owner Joe Vuskovich is thankful more than half of his business was takeout even before the pandemic. Though, he’s also thankful his customers will be able to sit in a few newly painted tables come Friday.
“They’re dying to sit down and eat the food here,” Vuskovich said. “They don’t want to go out in their car to eat or go home.”
Nothing else will change here Friday, except there will be fewer tables and they will be more spread out than normal, but he wishes his friends across the street the best.
Douglas hopes his big experiment turns out to be a wise investment.
“We’ll see, right?” he said with a smile.
Of course, seating will be at 50% capacity at Moe & Johnny’s with a few other big changes.
First, tables must be reserved on the Open Table app, though you will be able to walk up and use a tablet at the restaurant.
Menus are now all electronic, with QR codes on the tables that customers can scan with their phones.
They will open at 11 a.m. Friday and plan to stay open through 3 a.m. Saturday.
The mayor’s orders take effect at 12:01 a.m.