INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- On March 16th, Indiana’s first coronavirus death was announced. That day, Governor Holcomb ordered all bars and restaurants to close their dining rooms.
This was distressing news for so many individuals the service industry, including Paul Zoellner, owner of Shallo’s Antique Restaurant, located at 8811 Hardegan Street in the Shoppes at County Line on the city’s south side.
“As an owner, your worst thought is closing down or losing your employees, you can’t provide for your employees and their families and that’s devastating,” he said.
But rather than wallow in what he couldn’t control, Zoellner came up with a way to give back to the community that’s supported Shallo’s for the past 39 years.
“I just thought if we’re going to be open, if I’m going to be here at 7 o’clock every morning, there’s going to be a pot of soup on the stove,” said Zoellner. “We’ll make it every day and we’ll keep doing bowls of soup until they’re gone and we’ll make more.”
The dining room at Shallo’s may be empty, but the kitchen is as busy as ever. And that is —in part--- thanks to a Facebook message posted on March 17th, announcing Shallo’s would be serving free soup and bread to anyone who needs it.
"Anybody. I don’t care if you live downtown…. Even if you’re at work and want to get a quick lunch,” he noted. “If you can make it down here, I’ll have soup for you.”
Over the first few days, Zoellner said they had a few dozen people take them up on the offer and come get soup, but he noticed people were a bit timid.
In the next few weeks, however, he expects there to be an increase in need. So he wants to establish that no one should feel any shame or hesitation about accepting a little help.
“I’m proud that you’re wanting to come in here and we can do this for you and I want those people to be comfortable to come in and share your story,” he said. “We want to be there for you.”
In return, Shallo’s will share a little hope in the form of soup: hot and ready to go back in the kitchen. They’ve got everything from hearty stews, chili, vegetable, loaded potato and their popular French onion soup-- complete with melty cheese and of a huge buttery homemade roll.
They even moved a phone to the kitchen so Zoellner could multi-task, spreading the word to everyone who calls for takeout, curbside or delivery (through GrubHub)-- which is still available for those craving Shallo’s classics like tenderloin, and their famous homemade potato chips.
“We hand slice and wave a homemade parmesan ranch that we’ve made for years and years and that’s a must,” Zoellner explained.
His personal favorite are the wings.
“We’ve gotten awards for Indy’s best wings but I think our wings are far and above better than competition around here,” said Zoellner.
Shallo’s is still offering up their entire extensive menu for those calling in to place orders, including their highly popular $8.99 filet lunch special. And all their menu item’s come in the same hearty portions customers have come to expect for the last 3 decades.
“You get what you pay for… which is really important right now,” he noted.
They are also offering carryout beer from their massive selection of over 500 different bottled (and canned) beers from all over the world.
Much like the rest of us, Zoellner and his staff look forward to the [hopefully not too distant] future… when life returns to normal and patrons can once again gather together inside a busy bar alongside friends and neighbors.
But in the meantime, he will keep serving soup to anyone who needs it. And at the end of this, there is one thing he hopes people remember:
“I hope they remember Shallo’s for being there because they’ve always been there for us and we appreciate it,” he said.
Four Things You Need to Know About Shallo’s Antique Restautant:
- Shallo’s has been a beloved south side hot-spot for the last 39 years, full of antiques and memorabilia showcasing plenty of Indiana’s history. They have the Midwest’s largest selection of imported beer, bottled beer, micro brews and draft beer. They are also the Midwest’s premiere purveyor of rare and exotic beers.
- After Governor Holcomb ordered all bars and restaurants close down their dining rooms, the service industry was hit hard. But owner Paul Zoellner was determined to find a way to give back to his community and all those in need by offering free soup and bread to anyone who needed it during this tough time. " I think that’s the most important thing right now is the community to come together to help everybody out," Zoellner said.
- Everyone at Shallo’s seems to share the same caring heart for their community. In fact, although a number of their staff had to be laid off during the shutdown, many of them were still coming in daily to help out and deliver orders to the elderly and those who couldn’t get to their location to pick-up.
- Shallo’s is still offering delivery (via GrubHub) as well as takeout and curbside. They are also offering a special 10% discount for first responders and free delivery to local hospitals. You can check out the menu online and give them a call at (317) 882-7997 to place an order.
For more information about Shallo’s, 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 on social media via Facebook and Instagram.
Looking to support other local businesses who are giving back to the community? Check out: