INDIANAPOLIS — Kountry Kitchen is building a new restaurant and event center at 19th Street and College Avenue. Groundbreaking on the new site took place Tuesday, marking a new beginning after a January 2020 fire destroyed the iconic soul food restaurant.
Since the fire, the restaurant has been offering take out and catering from the Ruckus Building on Commerce Avenue, off of Massachusetts Avenue.
Owners Cynthia and Isaac Wilson have also made it the mission of the restaurant over the years to be very involved in the community.
“Our mission is focused on placing customers at the center of everything Isaac and I do by providing quality food and service in a family-friendly atmosphere.” Cynthia said. “Our new space will allow us to continue to be faithful stewards to the Indianapolis community.”
The new facility will span five lots at the southeast corner of College Avenue and 19th Street. It will encompass more than 14,000-square-feet of indoor and outdoor space. The restaurant will be able to seat up to 300 people inside and an additional 120 to 150 guests on the rooftop outdoor space.
"We were a little fearful, but that fear went away. People counted us out and I kind of got a little doubtful myself, but I said, 'No. We're just going to keep on moving, keep on believing in God and it's gonna happen,'" said Cynthia.
Notable celebrities like Indianapolis' own Mike Epps attended Tuesday's groundbreaking.
Epps grew up eating at Kountry Kitchen. He reminisced about the good food.
"You could either get a muffin or you could get a hot water cornbread. And the hot water cornbread goes good with the yams, the greens, and the catfish," said Epps.
Mayor Joe Hogsett said the city offered Kountry Kitchen $1.2 million through the Grow Indianapolis Fund.
"That fund was designed to ensure institutions just like Kountry Kitchen keep serving our community," said Hogsett.
Kountry Kitchen anticipates 20-30 new jobs will be brought to the neighborhood once construction is completed. Construction is set to begin this summer, but an anticipated completion date has not been given.