Friday, August 29, 2008

Welcoming Zing to Indianapolis

Last night I had the opportunity to get an early taste of the food and beverages at the newest restaurant in Indianapolis, Zing. My prediction?

Zing will be a home run.

The menu is tapas/small-plate style with a focus on sharing. Indianapolis really only has one other option in this restaurant style in BARcelona Tapas, and they have a decidedly different take on it. Samples of about a dozen different menu options circulated and we tried almost all of them. Several different "pizzettes," calamari, mini burgers, and meatballs were all very tasty but particular standouts were the ahi tuna and bacon wrapped dates. Highly recommended.

The price point, concept and location are perfect. It's unique enough to be the kind of place that draws from a wide range, a destination restaurant. The location is ideal for drawing some IUPUI lunch business, as well as Indiana Government Center employees that have a short canal walk to Zing, not to mention the building itself has very high visibility on West St.

Most importantly, it has a hip feel and a relatively low price point ($7-11 for most plates) that will appeal to the young professionals that predominate in the nearby apartment complexes. That's key, in my opinion. You can have a great restaurant with good buzz that draws people for a time, but the people living closest to a restaurant -- the ones that will continue to frequent it after the buzz has worn off -- are your bread and butter. You better appeal to them, and I think Zing will do just that.

And of course, there's the draw of the wrap-around balcony. Some have worried that the street noise from West St. would be a distraction. Far from it, I thought it actually added to the lively atmosphere and reminded you that you were in a city. Yesterday, downtown happened to be hosting a trifecta of sporting events with the Fever, Indians, and Colts all starting games at 7pm, so the road was particularly packed around 6-6:30. On a typical night, traffic on West St. drops to a trickle after 6pm, so I wouldn't worry about it. Of course, if a little street noise bothers you, you can always duck inside where the brick walls block out any noise outside.

They have parking for 25 or 30 cars in their lot, with another 15 or so metered spaces on Indiana that are free after 6pm, with little or no demand from other businesses. Add the relatively dense (and getting denser) population within just a couple blocks and getting people into Zing shouldn't be a problem.

Dinner service officially starts at 5pm on Monday the 1st and lunch service is added the following week, Monday the 8th at 11am.

Unfortunately, my camera died after just two shots last night, but I'll provide them here at the end, paired with earlier shots, so you can see the effect that the final week of little details had on the upstairs area.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Photos: Cosmopolitan Update from the Canal Side

If you stumbled upon this post looking for information about the Cosmopolitan fire on March 12, 2009, information and photos can be found here and here.

While the work on the Cosmopolitan is still largely focused on the Senate and Michigan corner -- they recently started working on more wood framing north on the Senate side of the project -- visible work is finally showing up on the canal side. These photos were taken August 27th.

Looking SE, with the downtown skyline in the distance.

Looking north from the Historical
Landmarks Foundation parking lot.

Looking down to canal level from the same location.

Looking north at canal level in front of
the Historic Landmarks Foundation.

Looking northeast from the same location.

The backside of the Senate/Michigan corner from the
Historic Landmarks Foundation parking lot.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Photo: Zing Puts on the Finishing Touches

Word is that Zing is opening tonight for a big-wig "Ribbon Cutting Ceremony" and workers are busy finishing things up so it all looks nice. In particular, they're working on a staircase on the southern end of the wrap-around balcony (correctly predicted by thundermutt on an earlier post).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Photos: IU School of Medicine Research III

Research III Facts:
  • Cost: $83.3M 1
  • Location: Walnut St., between University Blvd. and Barnhill Dr.
  • Height: 7 stories 2
  • Floor Space: 254,000 sq.ft. (118 laboratories) 1
  • Connections: directly connected to Research II and the Cancer Research Institute -- these three buildings together will have 500,000 sq.ft. of research space -- as well as the Clarian People Mover
  • Groundbreaking: October 2005 1
  • Expected Occupancy: early 2009
Rendering, looking NW, People Mover
over Walnut St. in the foregound

Looking NE

Looking NW

People Mover connection to the building

The walkway

Cornerstone 2009

Looking west along Walnut St., Cancer Research Institute in red
brick and the Riley Hospital Tower expansion in the distance.

Again, looking west with Research II in red brick at right
and Research III beyond the People Mover walkway.

1Funding, size, groundbreaking information
2Emporis height information

Monday, August 25, 2008

Photos: Lucas Oil Stadium Public Tour

I'm a little late with these, but with the first official (if preseason) NFL game being played in Lucas Oil Stadium last night, the timing seems appropriate. If you'd like to read a thorough analysis of the stadium from both an architectural and fan experience perspective, be sure to check out Jason's post over at Circle and Squares.

All of the these photos were taken during the public tour that took place on August 16th.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Photos: Inside Zing

I got a chance yesterday to take a look inside Zing, the new restaurant coming soon to the corner of West and Indiana. While it's not quite complete and ready for the big dance, I was very impressed with the layout and detailing of the redesign. As far as I could see, there isn't a single detail left of Payton's Place, the former bar/restaurant that most recently occupied this building.

Looking around the inside, there are essentially four seating areas:
1. A first floor seating area in the point of the building.
2. An upstairs seating area around a large bar.
3. An almost private room at the southern end of the second floor.
4. The seating on the wrap-around second floor balcony.
I took the opportunity to probe the owners about their beer selection, so if you're curious about that, check out my post on Hoosier Beer Geek (there are also a handful of photos that don't appear here). If you're curious about the food angle, Susan Guyett had a piece in the Indy Star a couple weeks ago. In a couple words: small plates, $7-11.

Without further ado, here are the photos I took yesterday afternoon (as always, click on any photo for a larger view).

Ground Floor Seating
More Ground Floor SeatingThe StairsTop of the StairwellSeating Next to the Second Floor BarStanding at the Point, Looking South at the Second FloorThe "Almost Private" Room at the Southern End of the Second FloorMore of that RoomThe Outdoor SeatingMore Outdoor Seating!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Photos: Canal Gardens, Phase 1

Canal Gardens facts:
  • Location: east side of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St., roughly between Drake and Ransom Sts. (the site backs up to the I-65 off-ramp at the DMLK Jr. downtown exit)
  • Number of Units: 8 townhomes in phase 1, up to 24 more units in future phases.
  • Height: Three stories
  • Listing Price: $280,000 to $397,500
  • Houses and retail buildings razed for this project: 5
A Rendering

The Real Thing

The context, looking NE

The context, looking SE

Juxtaposition with existing housing

Facade detail

Land cleared for future phases