Many businesses in the Broad Ripple neighborhood on Indianapolis’ north side are eager for upcoming changes. Here’s a peek at what’s in store. (Dwight Adams/IndyStar)
The owner claims he was left no choice after sudden departure of chef, bar manager
Since opening in January 2017, New American restaurant The Vanguard in Broad Ripple experienced more than one menu re-do, but it apparently couldn’t survive the sudden departure of its chef and bar manager.
“Had we received any reasonable notice, l’m certain we could have remained open but that was not the case,” The Vanguard owner Bill Ficca said in a June 26 Facebook post announcing the restaurant’s closing.
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Ficca said he was on vacation when chef Adam Ditter and bar manager Steve Simon give him 3½ days notice that they were leaving. Their exit followed a conversation Ficca had with the two employees about reassessing the business to “figure out a path to profitability,” Ficca said.
“As such, we are left with no choice but to shut the restaurant for the near-term and come up with a new plan,” Ficca said on Facebook.
Ficca is also a partner in Northside Social and Delicia restaurants.
Ditter and Simon’s arrival at The Vanguard, 319 Guilford Ave., in mid-2017 marked a turning point for the restaurant, which launched with an opening menu supplied by a catering company. Dishes were hit-and-miss.
Ditter introduced creative fare such as duck confit wrapped in tender pasta sheets and dressed with cherry jam. Top-tier Indy bartender Simon poured impressive cocktails, including clear milk punches.
Both Simon and Ditter have been hired at soon-to-open Liter House, a Sahm’s Restaurant Group German-style brewpub under development at former Bent Rail Brewery, 5301 Winthrop Ave., south of Broad Ripple.
Ditter will be Liter House’s sous chef, and Simon will work behind the bar, said Eddie Sahm of Sahm’s Restaurant Group. Liter House is scheduled to open by mid-July, Sahm said.
Ditter did not respond to a request for comment about the circumstances of his departure from The Vanguard. In a June 23 Facebook post, Ditter said, “After a lot of thought and deliberation, Steve Simon and I have decided to part ways with the Vanguard.”
Simon told IndyStar, “The conversation (Ficca) referenced had zero to do with our choices. Nor did we fear the restaurant was going to close.”
“For me, it was just time to move forward,” Simon said of leaving The Vanguard. “The things that we are going to be doing at Liter are very exciting and it wasn’t something I wanted to miss out on.”
Ditter was previously the executive chef at LongBranch, which, despite positive reviews, shuttered in May 2017 after six months in business. Ditter also garnered good reviews for his food at The Vanguard. Before his time at LongBranch, Ditter was Bluebeard‘s sous chef.
Simon also worked at LongBranch. Prior to that, he was at Marrow, another short-lived restaurant. Marrow was in business from November 2015 to June 2017 in Fountain Square.
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