2 empty spots in mall to be filled

After nearly two years of being empty, two highly visible spaces at Greenwood Park Mall are being remodeled and reopened with new restaurants.

American chain eatery Bar Louie and hibachi-style restaurant Kumo Japanese Steakhouse are moving into two of the three open spaces in Greenwood Park Mall’s outdoor shopping area. The two spaces have been vacant since Bravo! Cucina Italiana closed in February 2014, and Stir Crazy closed nearly three years ago.

The new restaurants are planned to open in time for Thanksgiving. Currently, one restaurant location remains vacant at the mall, said David Dawson, director of marketing and business development for Simon Property Group, which owns Greenwood Park Mall. Workers have already started on renovations and installing new signs.

Since neighboring strip malls and shopping centers have been filling up, such as the new T.J. Maxx and Ulta joining the Shoppes of County Line, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers has been trying to fill the vacancies at Greenwood Park Mall.

Now, the former Johnny Rockets, which closed within the last year, is the only restaurant spot left to fill, Dawson said.

With more companies moving into existing spaces, Myers said it proves that business will continue to move south from Indianapolis and into Greenwood.

Bar Louie will cater to a certain type of clientele, with top-shelf alcoholic drinks and bar food. He has heard from plenty of people who love hibachi-style dinners, making Kumo Japanese Steakhouse a welcome addition, Myers said.

Now, Myers wants to focus on developing other areas in Greenwood, particularly east of Interstate 65 and at open spots along State Road 135, he said.

In the past, Myers had said he wanted specialty food stores such as Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods to move into Greenwood. Either specialty food store would fit best near Stones Crossing Road, since Earth Fare and Fresh Thyme market moved just across the border into Indianapolis, Myers said. If a specialty grocery store opened on the west side of the city, residents of Greenwood and White River Township could benefit from the new business, he said.

Myers has also wanted to bring higher-end restaurants like steakhouses and rare restaurants into Greenwood.

Simon Property Group officials expect the rest of Greenwood Park Mall to be 100 percent filled with stores by the holiday season, which kicks off the first week of November, Dawson said. The mall is near full occupancy now, but more stores are scheduled to move in within the next few months, he said.

Bar Louie has three other locations in Indiana, including Evansville, Merrillville and Mishawaka. The Bar Louie location in Mishawaka is part of another Simon Property Group mall, so a relationship was already established between the two groups, Dawson said. Although another Kumo Japanese Steakhouse is located in Franklin, Dawson did not know if both restaurants were under the same ownership.