College Ave. Business Snapshot – UKIYO

One in a series of posts in support of #CommittedToCollegeAve

Ukiyo, 4907 N. College Ave.

As Neal Brown sees it, the mission of his staff at Ukiyo isn’t just to serve the best sushi and ramen in the city but also to make people feel a little bit happier.

These days, guests of the Japanese-inspired restaurant may be frazzled even before they make their way to the door, after dodging orange cones and the inevitable construction debris resulting from the Red Line construction project.

“Ukiyo translates into ‘living in the present,’” Brown said. “So, if we are doing our jobs, we can help put our guests at ease despite the inherent woes of construction. We just have to offer a high level of empathy and hospitality.”

Despite being surrounded by construction, Brown says the restaurant that opened to much fanfare late in 2017 hasn’t yet seen a downturn in business.

“It’s hard to imagine that construction won’t affect us in some way, but it hasn’t been fully realized at this point,” he said. “Sales are still good, but we do understand that there could be impact.”

Brown credits IndyGo with being communicative and accommodating. He’s also grateful that free parking is available across the street from the restaurant and that there’s always one north and one south lane open on the avenue.

It’s also possible that the restaurant’s effort to source from local farmers and artisans and its generosity to the Indianapolis community contributes to customer loyalty. Earlier this year Brown offered to provide free meals to federal workers affected by the government shutdown, and the restaurant donates often to local charitable efforts.

“We are, at the end of the day, a neighborhood restaurant that depends on the surrounding neighborhood for support, and I think our neighbors are generally willing to put up with some temporary inconvenience with the knowledge we’ll be around for years to come,” he said.

– Cheryl Reed