I'm sad to announce that Black Market and Rook closed permanently on Sept. 5th, 2020. We did everything we could to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but it wasn't enough. We lost the fight.
I want to take a moment to thank the people that have put in the hours and effort all these years. Black Market wouldn't be what it is or what it was without the two chefs that helmed the restaurant, Esteban Rosas and Micah Frank. We opened in 2011, at a time when there wasn't even a phrase for "farm-to-table". We broke barriers in the Indy landscape and pushed until we couldn't push any longer. When Micah left the restaurant in 2018, Esteban Rosas took over with Sous Chef Gabriel Sañudo by his side. Together they showed us what real, contemporary Mexican cuisine could be. Our front-of-house management has largely been part of the team since those early days and the service wouldn't have been what it was without Chris Coy, Kiersten Taylor and Michele McAtee. We've been through ups and downs together - births, deaths, new doggos, a restaurant redesign, and lots of laughs. I can't say enough about the staff. They've been my family for a decade and it hurt to have to tell them that we had nothing left to stay open.
At Rook, the road was shorter but no less exciting. We opened in 2013 in a shotgun space that we carved out of The Hinge Building. Those early days in the restaurant were a blast. Such a small space meant that there were never more than four of us working at once. Carlos kept pushing for more upscale Filipino plates which led to us relocating to much larger and more elegant space. Building the restaurant twice in two years was a mountain of a task, but we ended up with our dream kitchen and the most beautiful dining room we could think of to compliment the cuisine. When Adam Ditter took over the kitchen in 2019, he brought a fresh new take to the concept with his Sous Chef Jordan Wiler. And they worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that the restaurant would be able to reopen. I've only known Adam for a few years, but he was instant family for me. Adam was driven and rallied the troops and adapted our restaurant to the "new normal".
Our dining room was run by some of the best in the business from Megan Rosas to Eli Sanchez to Caroline Barclay. They all put in tireless hours, working to make the service at Rook was top-notch, friendly, and a full of fun.
So, as 2020 approaches its Autumn, so did we. The PPP loans weren't a good fit to save the hospitality industry and that money had already been spent on payroll costs by late August. Debt suffocated us. Insurance companies refused to pay out for the stoppage of our businesses. Washington abandoned us. Sales were slow. Capacity was limited. And the virus is gaining strength again. We made it through some tough times. But there is no end in sight for this pandemic. This one knocked us out.
I love all of you that helped these dreams come true. It was truly an honor to work with every one of you that helped my vision become reality. And to all the friends I've made through the restaurants, I hope I see you again. I've made some lifelong friendships through these places. It hurts that we won't be able to chat or share a bottle of wine in those dining rooms again. You can't imagine the sadness I feel as I write this.
Forgive me if I'm asocial for a while. This was the hardest thing I've done in my life. Until we meet again... wear a mask, eat local, and vote.