CARMEL, Ind. -- From an early age, Anthony Lazzara knew he wanted to work in the restaurant industry.
It was literally in his genes.
“We’re kind of all invested into Carmel,” said Lazzara. “We just believe that the city and everything that they do up here is a great vision for the future and we wanted to be part of it.”
So it’s no wonder he had been thinking about building his own legacy well before he even graduated from Carmel High School. In fact, Carmel High School is where the groundwork began for Anthony’s Chophouse.
“The DECA project that I did was for a fine dining restaurant on this block actually, he said. “Then, I went to Ball State University for the entrepreneurship program and continued that plan and grew the plan with more finite numbers and details through my research there.”
After graduation, Lazzara spent two years traveling the country researching restaurants as he continued to build on his plan.
“From carpet colors, chairs, linens, employee uniforms, the plates, the forks, everything down to the finer details to make sure that what we were doing would fit Carmel,” he explained.
All in all, it took nearly a decade of planning—followed by a 16-month build out—to bring Lazzara’s vision to life when Anthony’s Chophouse officially opened their doors last spring, right off Carmel’s Main Street.
The space is grand and features multiple levels, two-story windows, luxurious finishes, a full bar, three private event spaces and plenty of patio seating overlooking the Monon Greenway.
And through his work with an interior design company, Lazzara made sure there wasn’t a bad seat in the house.
“We worked with them on creating that every seat is kind of different… there’s little nuances of whether it’s a different chair, a different view, different architecture or something; you don’t really feel like you’re in the same spot every time you dine here,” he said.
The overall vision for Anthony’s Chophouse was to take the big-city feel of places like Chicago or New York City and bring that experience to Carmel.
“We thought we could capture being right down here in the heart of Carmel and with the midtown project and everything happening there that we could create that new upscale feel of the city and kind of be that go-to spot,” Lazzara said.
While downtown Indianapolis has its fair share of fine dining and upscale steakhouses, Lazzara knew that Anthony’s Chophouse would be a perfect addition to the Carmel restaurant landscape, which he felt was in need of a fine dining restaurant.
But don’t expect Anthony’s Chophouse to feel like just any other steakhouse.
“We’re kind of an innovative take on your typical traditional steakhouse. Our dishes, our sides, our salads, our appetizers… everything kind of has a little bit of a twist to it,” he said.
If you’re a frequent steakhouse visitor downtown, there’s one stark difference you’ll notice here the moment you open the menu.
There’s no shrimp cocktail.
“Our kind of thought behind that was being the more innovative take on a traditional steakhouse, where every other steakhouse right now has a shrimp cocktail, so we wanted to kind of separate ourselves and not be similar to everybody else in some small regards,” Lazzara noted.
What you will find on the menu, however, are plenty of mouthwatering offerings.
Some must-try summer options include the jumbo sea scallops and Tuna Tataki appetizer
“[It’s] a great yellowfin tuna dish… with pickled jalapeno, asparagus, wasabi crème as well. And we just do a light sear on the outside to give it somewhat of a cooked feel,” said Executive Chef Justin Miller.
But what’s a steakhouse without truly delicious steak?
House favorites include the 21-day dry aged bone-in filet with blue cheese crust and the Provencal ribeye.
“It’s a classic Lazzara family recipe,” said Miller. “It’s a classic Provencal herb rub that we cast iron grill. Then we have a 140-degree egg that we put on top of that, a little sun-dried tomato salad.”
Or for an extra special treat, splurge on one of Lazzara’s favorite features: the Wagyu filet.
“Right now we actually have a feature, our butcher block feature is what we call it and it’s an A5 Japanese Wagyu that is just unbelievably good… you can cut it with a spoon and it melts in your mouth,” Lazzara said.
When it comes to sides, they offer traditional options like mac and cheese and corn with a twist.
“We have a mac and cheese with a Gouda cream sauce and roasted tomatoes and a Mexican street corn with Cotija cheese, a lime crema as well as just a nice chili powder on top,” said Miller. “So we’re taking away from the old school steakhouse feel and really trying to create some new flavor profiles that you don’t normally see. “
Wash it down a glass of wine or with a cocktail like the Romeo and Juliet or classic Old Fashioned.
And if you’ve got room, indulge in their five-layer chocolate cake.
“Chocolate ganache, white chocolate mousse and just a drizzle of chocolate ganache over the top… can’t beat it,” said Miller.
For more information about Anthony’s Chophouse, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
While in Carmel, check out some of the Art’s and Design District’s other top-rated hot spots: