INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Twin sisters Mandy Selke and Carly Swift got their love of popcorn from their grandfather, who made cooking popcorn with them a nightly ritual.
The love of popcorn they gained through cooking popcorn on the stove together ended up planting a seed that would lead to a successful business that’s been going strong for 16 years now.
But it all started by choosing something they truly enjoyed and building their business around it.
“We wanted to go into business together. We wanted to do something that we love—which was popcorn, “said Selke. “We wanted to just take it and elevate it to more modern times, modern flavors and make a business model out of it.”
They started Just Pop In! back in 2003 with a modest retail location off Guilford Avenue. By 2008, they opened a location in the Indianapolis International Airport and—shortly thereafter— it was voted “Best New Retail Concept” in all of North America by Airports Council International.
With all that success, they had outgrown their 500 square foot space on Guilford. So in September 2018 they opened their new location at 6406 Cornell Avenue, located just steps from the Monon Trail.
But this place offers much more than just popcorn.
“This is a 5,000 square foot location. But it’s so great because we were able to add a whole spectrum of our dream. So we have our distribution in the back. We have a full kitchen,” said Swift.
The kitchen churns out a full menu of delicious items; they were named one of Indy’s Best New Restaurants by Indianapolis Monthly.
They offer items like sandwiches, salads, healthful small plates, beer, wine and other tasty treats. They also partner with other local small businesses like Smoking Goose and Sun King Brewery to make some of their tastiest popcorns and other menu items.
“We create experiences off-site but we wanted to have more of a public house, more of a space for gathering and so we were just like, ‘Let’s make a healthful menu,'” said Selke.
And—yes— they find ways to incorporate popcorn in many of their menu items, from tomato soup with a cheddar cheese “crouton” to lox service.
“We partner with the Smoking Goose, and they cold smoke a salmon for us,” Selke explained. “And we have a dill pickle popcorn that we accompany with it.”
And don’t forget to try their popcorn pairings.
“We do a beer and popcorn pairing so we have three different beers paired with three of our delicious popcorns—one of them being a dark chocolate sea salt,” said Swift.
"Then we have a wine flight that we do with a Pinot Noir, Cabernet and a Prosecco—which is delicious—and we pair it with three of our other flavors of popcorn," Swift added. "Anything can go with popcorn. It’s awesome!"
Four Things You Need to Know About Just Pop In! Popcorn and Café:
- Twin sisters Mandy Selke and Carly Swift started Just Pop In! in 2003. After finding great success in and around the Circle City, it was time to expand. They opened their new 5,000 square foot location—complete with a café—in September 2018. They offer a full menu of salads, sandwiches, healthful small plates, vegan/vegetarian items, soups and more! There’s really something for everyone.
- While the weather is still nice, you’ll definitely want to grab a seat on their wrap around to enjoy live music by Touch of Grass every Friday and Saturday night. Plus, all ages are welcome! “We have kids that are out dancing on the lawn, it’s a blast,” said Swift.
- If you’re planning a birthday party, bridal shower, baby shower, conference or other special event, you’ll definitely want to check out their special event space upstairs. It has space for 50 people and also provides balcony space, a private bartender and bathroom, as well as some very cool California vibes.
- Giving back to their community has been part of their philosophy since the beginning. Just Pop In! partners with the Damien Center as advocates for HIV/AIDS awareness as well as the Patachou Foundation to help local children impacted by food insecurity—and that’s just to name a few. “Philanthropy is one big piece of our family culture, our business culture,” said Selke.
Speaking of popcorn, you’ll find all of your Just Pop In! favorites the moment you walk in the door.
Their top seller?
Indy Style, of course.
“It’s a toss between our sharp yellow cheddar and caramel corn,” Selke said.
You can get your popcorn to go or pick your favorite from the fresh-served-daily popcorn bar.
“We have our four basic popcorns for the more easy going popcorn eaters, “Selke said. “And for the more adventuresome, we partner with Smoking Goose so we’ll use their bacon and we caramelize it and put it with the hickory smoked cheddar.”
They also incorporate flavors from Sun King Brewery in two of their popcorn varieties.
“We use some of their malt in a Bavarian cheese and pretzel ale and then we also reduce their Osiris Pale Ale in a chocolate covered popcorn which is unique…It’s delicious,” she added.
Just in time for football season, you can cheer for the Colts while snacking on a bag of their tasty blue popcorn.
Planning a special event? You’ve got to check out their amazing event space upstairs, which can accommodate 50 people.
“You have your own private bartender, bathroom, balcony—which is really a commodity here in Broad Ripple—so it’s kind of like a little home away from home,” said Swift
With plush interiors, natural light and sophisticated yet contemporary wallpaper, it’s easy to see why Swift and Selke like to call this place a “modern California farmhouse.”
“It almost feels like you’re just in a beautiful home on the beach, right?” said Swift.
“Yeah, right on the White River!” said Selke with a laugh.
For more information about Just Pop In! Gourmet Popcorn and Cafe, 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 and Instagram.
While in Broad Ripple, check out these other hot spots located within walking distance of just pop in: