College Ave. Business Snapshot – SoBro Café

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

SoBro Café, 653 E. 52nd St.

While it seems something is always under construction in Indianapolis, it is officially construction season. One project under way is the Red Line—IndyGo’s new electric rapid transit bus line, with work affecting traffic on College Avenue.

The orange barrels, lane restrictions, and temporary closures can be a headache for Midtown business owners. “Obviously for the time being the construction is an inconvenience,” said Helger Oomkes, owner of SoBro Café on 52nd Street, just west of College Avenue. And that includes finding a parking spot. Oomkes said customers are still able to park behind the eatery, or on 52nd Street, or on Broadway Street, which is just around the corner.

“Operating a business in a city, parking is always something customers have to deal with,” he said. “I can’t say people have complained to me about the parking issue—our customers are still coming to enjoy our great food.”

“We are a neighborhood restaurant where most of our customers live off of College between Keystone and Meridian from downtown to the north side,” Oomkes added. “Plus, a lot of people order our food via delivery companies like Total-Takeout.”

While SoBro Café offers recurring specials such as Wednesday night half-price wine and Thursday beer specials, don’t look for any “Red Line” specials.

SoBro Café can seat close to 40 people inside and another 30 on its patio, which is open for customers to enjoy. Oomkes isn’t worried about any issues from construction for those enjoying a relaxing meal sitting outside. “I do not think the construction will hinder the patio at all because they have completed the stretch in front of my restaurant and are now focused on College Avenue, which is far enough away from our patio,” he said.

And when the Red Line is completed this summer, Oomkes believes it will bring more customers in. “I do foresee a rise in business in the whole SoBro area after the construction,” he said.

Chris Bavender