C.R. Heroes Family-Friendly Concept Still a Success More Than 15 Years Later
Photographer: Michael Durr
Many restaurants tout themselves as family friendly but might not ultimately have something to offer patrons of every age. However, one glance around C.R. Heroes Family Pub on East 96th Street in Fishers and you’ll see that family friendly is indeed a perfect designation for the establishment.
Not only is the menu aimed at patrons of all ages, with a full children’s section and a range of specialty kids drinks, but there’s also a gaming area for little ones to explore while adults relax and socialize. And true to the restaurant’s name (as you might have guessed, it’s a play on the phrase “See our heroes”), you’ll find pictures and memorabilia throughout the restaurant depicting heroes of the patriotic, sports and comic book varieties.
“We’ve tried to make it a place where families can have fun, and hopefully the pictures on the walls can get parents to put down their phones and talk to their kids about what it means to be a hero,” says Owner Stephanie Boehm, an Ohio native and mother of three. dsf
Boehm was honing her restaurant skills even before she graduated college. She worked at Olive Garden while attending Ohio State University, traveling around the country during her summers for store openings to train new employees. Not long after her husband’s job brought the couple to Indianapolis in the mid-1990s, she joined Outback Steakhouse on 86th Street near Michigan Road and forged a professional relationship with owner Hugh Diehl that would determine her career path for the next two decades.
“Hugh’s contract at Outback was up in 2001, and he and his wife decided to open a new restaurant and I came with him,” Boehm says. “They opened C.R. Heroes in 2002, and I bought him out about two years later when he decided he wanted to get out.”
Prior to opening in 2002 Boehm, Diehl and Diehl’s wife Liz were discussing ideas for the restaurant’s visual aesthetic and hit on what they felt would be a fresh, cross-generational concept.
“Hugh’s birthday happens to be on 9/11, and we opened in 2002 right after the events of 9/11 happened,” Boehm explains. “We started talking about heroes, and about the police and firefighter heroes of 9/11. We thought we could focus on everyday heroes like teachers and doctors, not just sports and movie heroes.”
It didn’t take long for the concept to strike a chord with locals, and Boehm has flourished for the past 15 years offering patrons a relaxed, neighborly atmosphere. The sizable menu of casual American fare includes wraps, salads, sandwiches like the Hoosier Daddy tenderloin and full entrees like baby back ribs, smothered chicken and the Heroes sirloin, with plenty of kids selections like mini corn dogs, chicken tenders and pizza pretzels.
Boehm also rolls out limited-time kids drinks — previous selections include the Orange Soda Float in a glow-in-the-dark cup for Halloween, and the Grinch Punch, with lime sherbet, green punch and Sprite, around Christmas.
“Great food, a clean environment and a nice staff — that’s the key to a successful restaurant, and Stephanie has continued to operate with that in mind,” says Diehl, who credits his wife Liz with championing the family-friendly concept during the restaurant’s inception.
On Tuesdays kids eat free, and little ones can also take advantage of face painting and get their own balloon animals. For the grown-up crowd there’s trivia every Thursday and Team Feud on Saturdays, as well as weekly beer and cocktail specials.
“I’ve been here 17 years so I’ve seen kids who were born and now they’re 15 and coming in here — that’s fun to see, but it does make me feel old,” Boehm says with a laugh. “That’s what’s fun about being based right here in Fishers, seeing people grow up and getting to know the people right in this community.”
C.R. Heroes recently partnered with Lantern Road Elementary third-graders for help creating the restaurant’s new kids menu, as part of Mayor Scott Fadness’ CurioCity initiative connecting schools with local businesses.
Boehm feels her success has stemmed from treating both her customers and her 40-plus employees — many of whom have worked for her for more than a decade — like family.
“Stephanie practices what she preaches and stays consistent with her standards and work ethic,” says Ashley Griffith, manager at C.R. Heroes and an employee of Boehm’s for 15 years. “We’re all kind of like mini Stephanies running around, using what she taught us.”
For Boehm it’s all about not cutting corners, even when prices increase on necessities like kitchen supplies and basic menu ingredients.
“When costs go up it gets hard,” she says. “For example, right now a case of tomatoes are very, very expensive but I want to be able to get the ingredients we always use. Consistency is really important to me, to be able to offer all of our customers the same level of service each time they come.”
C.R. Heroes is located at 10570 East 96th Street in Fishers. Call 317-576-1070 or visit crheroes.com for more info including menus and special event updates.