NCAA Tournament crowds push some closed downtown businesses to reopen


INDIANAPOLIS — Potential profits from the NCAA tournament crowds are pushing some businesses that have remained closed during the pandemic to reopen downtown.

“A spotlight will be on Indianapolis, kind of reminds me of when we had the Super Bowl here,” said Patachou rep Maddy Dickerson.

Patachou will open the doors to Napolese Pizzeria on Meridian Street on March 9. The location has been closed for almost a year while other Napolese spots have since reopened.

The company expects the Big Dance to be an economic driver for downtown. They plan to move employees to the new space, but are hiring for all of their locations. Dickerson wouldn’t call March Madness a test for downtown restaurants, but believes it can be a launching point.

“I think it will instill a lot of confidence in people in the surrounding areas, the metro area, to come back downtown,” added Dickerson.

Michael’s Soul Kitchen on Ohio Street will reopen on March 10. The hot spot closed as a result of pandemic woes and damages during the summer’s racial unrest. Owner Romeo Gerson spoke with us shortly after the damages happened.

“We had a whole plan starting last Monday, now we are shut down another two weeks,” Gerson said back in early June of 2020. “We have a lot of support from the community. Facebook messages — we got almost 50 to 100 messages a day [from] people wanting to come clean or help.”

Gerson’s daughter says the restaurant has remained financially afloat due to success in their catering business, but they will reopen just in time for the Big Ten tournament to kick off.

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