A career change in the mid-1940s gave the former telecom professional the passion that he brings to the revitalized restaurant.
For the most of Terry Anthony’s career in telecommunications sales, he helped companies solve problems. But none of these businesses was his. When he was 40, he thought, “Either this will take me home or I’m not where I want to be,” says the former Murray State University linebacker, who came to Indy after college to watch football play. In 2016, he fulfilled his dream of entering the culinary world by leasing a subway franchise in the city center. But rising rents made profits tight, and the loss of lunch stalls during the pandemic closings meant the store closed just after the renovation was complete.
When the property manager of the historic downtown block building approached him about opening another space on the ground floor of Lazeez Mediterranean Grill (the windows of which had been broken out during the protests last summer), Anthony agreed. The result is The Block Bistro and Grill, a minority owned place occupied by restaurant professionals laid off during the pandemic. “Instead of telling them what to cook, we ran a competition and the best dishes got on the menu,” says Anthony, although his signature jumbo chicken wings come first.
With fresh decor and a new concept, plus live music on First Friday, Anthony hopes to bring visitors back to a revitalized, more diverse and lively downtown area. “Every weekend,” he says, “it got better.”
Terry Kirts joined Indianapolis Monthly in 2007 as an Associate Editor. As Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poems and creative non-fiction books in magazines and anthologies such as Gastronomica, Alimentum and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, the author of the 2011 To the Refrigerator Gods collection.