Food, Culture and Community: Shoefly Public House
What's a neighborhood without a place to hang out? This was the question chef Craig Mariutto pondered upon moving to Fall Creek Place in downtown Indianapolis with his wife. As a New York native, Craig came to love the city atmosphere and knew when he got to Indianapolis he either wanted to live in the woods or live downtown. However, he found himself having to travel further downtown to experience the food and atmosphere which really created the sense of being in the city. Only then did Craig realize he needed to create a place to hang out closer to his own neighborhood. After years of planning and preparation, he opened Shoefly Public House in September of 2013.
There is something inviting about the full name: Shoefly "Public House." It makes anyone feel welcome but it also sounds very inviting and instills a sense of comfort, like one's own home. Craig says the name evokes more than just a restaurant and bar but an actual place where the neighborhood can come and hang out, which is appropriate for an area he felt was very under-serviced. Along with an exceptional menu and beer/wine list, Shoefly accomplishes its mission of serving the neighborhood with a fun, local gathering place.
When asked about his Indianapolis community, Craig expressed his optimism about the area, its diversity, and its potential as a place "on the cusp of growing." He gave a nod to Goose the Market saying they were the first ones in the area who helped pave the way and make it easier for other locally owned restaurants and the like to get started. It is truly a wonderful thing to have one local business recognize and appreciate another, which is exactly the kind of support a growing community needs.
Beyond the local community, one of the challenges, Craig says, is getting people from downtown to make the short trek up to Fall Creek Place and even more challenging is getting people from the north side to come down to the neighborhood. He says many people still don't feel safe coming downtown or feel comfortable because of things they only hear about the safety of these neighborhoods. The fact remains that Shoefly's doors are open to anyone looking to eat great food and have a good time out.
Since opening, business has been wonderful and the support from the community keeps Shoefly busy on a daily basis. So much so that Craig decided to expand and finish the basement, creating a 21 and up lounge area allowing more space for the crowds of people that gather on evenings and weekends. Craig loves how a whole family can come and enjoy a meal in the restaurant but he wanted open more bar space to those not necessarily looking for a bustling restaurant atmosphere. Thanks to Shoefly Public House, the neighborhood now has a special place created out of the desire to bring people of the community together.