Neal Brown Hospitality Group
Originally from Noblesville, Indiana.
Spent some time in Louisiana as a child - his first early memories of cooking.
Moved back to Indiana and went to Noblesville High School.
Then went to Indiana University Bloomington and earned an Associates Degree in Biology and also a Marketing. - - Moved to Charleston after graduating from IU and earned a degree at Johnson and Wales.
96' & 97' - The Circle Centre Mall just opened and lots of chain restaurants followed. This changed the scene of Downtown Indianapolis.
-Neal made a big decision to not go to New York but stay in Indianapolis and
Who were the big players at this time?
Peter George - Peter's (also owned Chops)
The best restaurant in Indianapolis at that time. The quality of service we speak of in Indianapolis in the food industry can be attributed to Peter George.
Pioneers of the Indianapolis food scene: Greg Hardesty, Steven Oakley, Dave Foegley
Greatest Gift: "Being infinitely curious!"
Neal Brown: "I don't cook for people. I cook for myself. I cook the kind of food that satisfies me and makes me happy."
'Ramen' Meeting Example: How Neal has matured over the years in regards to what he wants and what his customers want.
(25:00) The Restaurant Landscape of Indianapolis!!!! Must Listen.
(32:00) Slow Food Movement: Depends on how you define it?
Neal's Spin = 'Thoughtful Food'
"What would Grandma say?"
(40:00) Blasting of non-Indianapolis based restaurants on Mass Ave.
Is Mass Ave still a cultural/arts district staple here in Indianapolis?
The changing of neighborhoods and who is being priced in and priced out.
- Beholder : Jonathan Brook's new place opening on 10th St.
Pizzology Experiment: Mass Ave is a transient city. People want to hit 3 or 4 different venues in a night and not just one place. That was not the case in Carmel so the business model did not transfer as expected.
(49:00) What is Stella?
Neal wanted to do something deep European of nature.
(52:00) Talent in this industry. How do you maintain and retain your staff at each location?
Who is your 'team?' Co-workers, mentors, etc...
"Restaurants don't get any credit for bringing jobs to this city. But a small tech firm comes in, provides a couple jobs and the mayor comes in to cut a f******* ribbon."