'Tis the season for restaurant openings

An artist's rendering of the new Chef JJ's Downtown

There are so many openings on their way or underway. Just last week, we saw the opening of Cafe Nonna, Georgia Reese's Downtown, and Nourish. Put these on your long list of restaurants to try, some of which will hit our streets from local owners and others that join us from neighboring cities. Either way, there's plenty of newness to salivate over all summer long.

Chef JJ's Downtown

If you haven't been privy to Chef JJ's always-sold-out dinners, you just might have another chance to get some of that Green Egg goodness in your face. He's opening a brand-new, very sexy location at 42 W. South St. to bookend his original Broad Ripple location. For the uninitiated, chef JJ Boston is famous for his smoked dinners, and, as we mentioned in the summer guide, he also does a series of cooking classes focused on grilling and smoking. The downtown spot is slated to have a great outdoor space with room for many more diners, and will be just a few steps away from Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life. We highly suggest signing up for their email list if you want to get a ticket to one of the dinners, but the classes are just as much fun with the bonus of getting to recreate the meal at home.

42 W. South St., chefjjs.com

Louie's Wine Dive

Louie's Wine Dive & Mass Ave Kitchen is on its way. Get ready, food and wine lovers! This is one very much worth getting excited about. Not only is there going to be a weekly prix fixe menu, brunch on the weekends, craft cocktails, and a daily wine auction. The open kitchen concept is coming back with this one as well, which is one of those little things that somehow makes the eating even more exciting. Owner and chef Roger Duran is currently working as a Second Helpings instructor, and he'll be helming both the menus at the Mass Ave location. Pour one out for another chain popping up on Mass.

345 Massachusetts Ave., louieswinedive.com

Cafe Nonna

This one opened just last Saturday, and they're serving up real traditional Italian gelato, pastries and coffee right down the block from the DugOut in the now-famous Fletcher Place neighborhood. This is another one that has been tantalizing passers-by from the road for many months now, and the date is finally upon us. The cases are piled high with the airy-light gelato and flaky carbohydrates and if there are still face grease prints on the front window, look for the one with the big lips and big-screen size forehead. That one's mine.

629 Virginia Ave., 632-3809

Penn & Palate

Another great new edition to the Herron-Morton neighborhood, Penn & Palate is on the very precipice of being ready to open their doors, having passed their last round of final inspections. Once the red tape is cut (we encourage you to follow them on Facebook to get the most up-to-date information), chef Bill Julian will be serving fresh, New American food using delicious local sources (when available, of course). They had a tasting night and the food was well-received, and after they get there final OK from the Health Department, this place will be another new jewel in the developing neighborhood.

28 E. 16th St., facebook.com/pennandpalate

Georgia Reese's Southern Table & Bar

Owned by former Colt Gary Brackett, the northside version of this restaurant felt like going over to a friend's (or a friend's grandmother's) house for dinner. Famous for comforting favorites like fried chicken and one of the best brunches in town, they opened a second, much more downtown-vibed location just last week. The new one, once again, is bringing it in the sexy bar department, plus there is an enormous basement dining room to compliment the upstairs. Between this location and Brackett's other venture, The Stacked Pickle, the Colt has plenty of delicious, crowd-pleasing options to get full on locally-owned spots.

14 E. Washington St., georgiareeses.com


Of all the restaurants, this is the one I might be the most excited about. Eli Laidlaw was hired on at this new downtown restaurant as their head chef, someone who has consistently put out great food at both The Alexander and Chefs Night Off, and his previous posts at Recess and Cerulean. They'll also be launching an interactive app to "enhance" your dining experience. We will keep an open mind and show up to try it ourselves, as Nourish opened about a week ago. Check out my first impression here.

931 S. East St., thenourishindy.com


Sharing the building with its sister distillery, 12.05, Repeal restaurant is about to bring authentic 30's- and 40's-era food and cocktails to Fletcher Place. This spot isn't slated to open until June, but they've picked up some truly outstanding talent to staff their restaurant, like Ball & Biscuit's Eli Sanchez as bar manager and Blake Ellis as chef de cuisine, who had previously spent time in the kitchens at Black Market and Tinker Street. The owners, Theresa and Bill Webster, are already part owners of Fountain Square Brewing, and are now turning their sights on conquering the restaurant and distilling worlds. Fun fact: 12.05, Theresa's business, is the only woman-owned distillery in the state. Here's a sneak peek.

630 Virginia Ave., 1205distillery.com

St. Joseph's Brewery and Public House

Did you miss it? We wrote up our first visit in last week's paper. You can find it here anytime, any week.

540 N. College Ave., stjosephs.beer

When dreams come true ...

Kuma's Corner

STOP TEASING ME, KUMA'S! This is getting absurd. The new Kuma's Corner, coming soon to Prospect Ave., still has yet to announce an official starting date. But that doesn't stop these people from posting the most beautiful beef footage on their social media presences. My body is ready, Kuma's! My mind is prepared! I want metal, whiskey and big fat burger. It seems like all the proper parts are in place, and their social media presence is up and running. You'd probably well-served to follow them on Facebook to get all their updates.

1127 Prospect Ave., kumascorner.com

Lick Ice Cream

When Lick's IndieGoGo campaign to buy larger freezers for their potential storefront location failed, my heart broke. If you do only thing one thing this weekend, head to the Broad Ripple Farmer's Market to try this stuff. It's absolutely incredible. Here's hoping they follow the similar trajectory as Nicey Treat, the storefront popsicle retailer that started as a simple food cart.