Saturday, May 3, 2008

Beer: BadaBoomz No More

In about two weeks, BadaBoomz will no longer exist.

Before you get your pants all in a bunch, Mike DeWeese and his amazing beer selection aren't going anywhere. The decor of his downtown restaurant won't even be changing. The food concept at the restaurant will simply be changing from the current independent menu to a franchise of J. Gumbo's. J. Gumbo's is a Cajun/Creole concept out of the Louisville area that features food along the lines of Yats. In fact, looking at the menu it's basically a carbon copy of Yats.

Now, you're probably thinking the same thing I was thinking: why switch out of one franchise to go independent and then switch back to another franchise? Apparently, the main thing Mike cares about is having a great beer selection. In the previous incarnation of his restaurant as Buffalo Wild Wings, he was allowed to do whatever he wanted with his beer menu. Sometime last year, however, Buffalo Wild Wings struck deals with several large breweries that required all franchises to have the same beer menu. Needless to say, that was a deal-breaker for Mike and he chose not to renew his franchise.

Instead of switching to a different franchise, he chose to break out as an independent. Unfortunately, that decision has not worked out well as the BadaBoomz food concept simply doesn't sell. They apparently do fairly well with the beer but would like to do a little more food volume, hopefully increasing beer sales as well. That's where J. Gumbo's comes in: a fast-service, blinky-light-on-the-table, every-plate-is-$6 kind of restaurant. On the down side, they'll be letting go of about half of their kitchen and wait staff as this concept is significantly less labor-intensive.

For better or worse, BadaBoomz is done and it's time to welcome J. Gumbo's to town. Personally, as long as the beer selection doesn't change, it's all gravy to me.

14 comments:

Jim said...

I'm not mistaken, Joe Vuskovich originally had Yats in Kentucky before he moved here to Indy. I wonder if J Gumbo borrowed his concept. The interior of one of their locations even looks like Yats.

bhorg said...

Not surprised and I'm very happy to see the name and menu go!

I understand the desire to offer a great beer selection, but I'm not sure if anchoring it to a basically unknown chain will help either.I have a feeling this will be around for 6 months and change again.

Good luck to the owner, it's going to be hard to get me to stray away from Yats.. even with the temptation of beer.

Anonymous said...

I've heard a lot of rumors which I plan to get to the bottom of. But Im pretty sure I heard that Joe Vuskovich trained this guy - J Gumbo guy, has done a bunch of good stuff for this guy - what an unknown chain lacks is a sense of community led by the visionary people man - Joe Vuskovich. To go beyond is the essence of Yats. To me its a community center that also serves food. Good food at a great price. Yats is an Indianapolis concept! Think of 54th and College without yats?!

My thoughts: Im not interested in an imitation.

Brew Bits said...

I heard this same thing when I was there a couple of weeks ago. Glad to see it's confirmed. Not sure about the concept - I understand the lunch issue, but I really think they're missing the boat. If you look at the successful restaurants downtown they're mostly non-smoking, family friendly places (and also chains with deep pockets). There are plenty of places to go get a cheap domestic or mixed drink and smoke, but there aren't too many (if any) places with a good craft beer selection that is family (and convention) friendly.

The location they have is great - hopefully they'll be able to leverage location and beer selection into a wider audience with this new concept, but I don't feel good about it.

I wish them luck.

rodney said...

I would assume with the change back to a chain they will go non-smoking again. Personally, I'm only going to miss the wings, onion rings and the tenderloin. If they could keep those three things and go cajun with the rest, I'd be happy.

Although I guess as long as the beer stays the same, I'm going to be happy anyways.

Jason266 said...

I heard that he won't be going non-smoking, which I think would be a mistake. Hopefully I misheard.

Generik420 said...

I have to admit that this change will probably be the end of me going there with any desire to eat. In fact just putting 'Gumbo' in the name would almost guarantee that I wouldn't step foot in the door. Cajun/creole is just not a type of food I desire. So for at least one patron.. this will have the opposite effect in that I would only go there to have some brews, and if anything will be even less frequent then it was now.

That is interesting to know why he changed from BW3. I had not heard they were requiring a standard beer menu. That's too bad as they used to have an upgraded beer list from most chain restaurants.

Kristy "Greenthumb" Guthrie said...

Do you know if the same is happening to the Lafayette Rd location? If it's anything like Yats and it's anywhere near my work--I'll be there for sure (and often)!

CorrND said...

I can only guess, but I'd assume both locations will be switching concept. Franchising fees could be lower is you set up two franchises at once.

Just a guess.

matt said...

You are a man who does his research!

cyberdependent said...

Think of 54th and College without yats?!

Bah. I still feel weird every time I go in there that I'm eating where I used to by clothes in High School. Still, I've probably spent more at Yats than I ever did at Modern Times...

At least BadaBoomz is keeping the beer. Thank goodness they're getting rid of that gawdawful name!

Anonymous said...

J. Gumbo's recipes were licensed from Joe at Yats (althought not quite the same quality as Yats). It was a gentlemen's agreement that they wouldn't come into Indianapolis. But they've decided to move locations into Indy from Louisville anyway. Hence the Yats land grab in Greenwood, West Lafayette, Northside of Indy.

Rhett said...

Well, good luck to Mike. I hope it works out, but I can tell you that I won't forsake Yats in favor of the new kid on the block. Vuskovich's restaurants (especially the 54th and College location) have a feel that will NOT be replicated in a larger space. Plus, why buy a Picasso print when you can have the Picasso?

rodney said...

In a past conversation with Mike, he mentioned that he was friends with Joe and had a great deal of respect for what Joe has done for the independent restaurant scene in Indy. That said, the J. Gumbo's conversion has kind of surprised me. Has anyone spoken with Joe about this change to see what his reaction was?