College Ave. Business Snapshot – La Mulita, Delicia

One in a series of posts in support of #Committed to College Ave.

La Mulita & Delicia, 5215 N. College Ave.

“Nothing can prepare you for your guests choosing parts of town with more parking and less construction to spend their dollars.” For Nicole Harlan-Oprisu, operating partner of La Mulita and Delicia at 52nd Street on College Avenue, that’s the main impact of the Red Line construction project on business.

“We have sent out a couple of email blasts to our guests to let them know how important their business is to us, and how important it is we have their support during this trying time,” Harlan-Oprisu said. “Our restaurant group, and our affiliated restaurants, are all being affected at once, and that is hard to manage.”

In addition to La Mulita and Delicia, Harlan-Oprisu and her partners also own and/or operate The Northside Social, Northside Kitchenette, the NOOK by Northside, Old Pro’s Table, The Vanguard, and 317 Burger—all on or near College Avenue.

“All of our concepts are suffering a direct impact simultaneously. We are lucky to have great local neighborhood support, but the guests that travel to the area to see us have been discouraged by the long commute time to arrive in Broad Ripple,” she said. “They don’t want to deal with the hassle at every intersection. They made it to our door once, but there have been plenty that have let us know they won’t be back until the mess is complete.”

There is some onsite parking at Delicia and La Mulita but the restaurants rely heavily on street parking. “We have definitely heard rumblings from our guests about the lack of parking and the construction traffic. Spring is a tough time of year for restaurants with so many of our guests heading out of town for spring break, so it has been hard to tell what the long-term effects will be,” Harlan-Oprisu said. “I don’t think our guests are deterred by the construction at 52nd and College alone. I believe it to be more of a general feeling of guests avoiding the Broad Ripple area as a whole because the construction area is so long and at every major intersection all at once.”

With Red Line construction in full swing, Harlan-Oprisu said all the affected businesses will have to keep reminding locals how “very important it is to keep frequenting their local shops, stores, services, restaurants, and taverns. We need your support more than ever! There really isn’t much of a cushion in the independent business world to absorb great losses in volume and/or sales, regardless what line of goods or services you are in,” she said. “Since the Red Line is a now reality, we all must hope the completed project brings in new guests to our area and that they return again and again via the new Red Line.”

—Chris Bavender