A New Chapter
Books & Brews Celebrates Grand Opening In Broad Ripple
Writer: Jon Shoulders
Photographer: Ron Wise
Evan Sandullo, co-owner of Books & Brews on Cornell Avenue, feels the reason his new establishment is a perfect fit for its location is that its concept mirrors the general personality of Broad Ripple Village itself.
“When you look around Broad Ripple, it’s not your standard retail and strip mall stuff,” says Evan, co-owner with his wife Melissa. “If you’re going to open a place like this you want a lot of foot traffic and people who don’t necessarily just want the sports bar thing with a ton of TVs. Broad Ripple seems made for that.”
And Books & Brews certainly does offer minimal electronic distractions – used books line the walls and guests can grab board games off the shelves or simply chat while sampling the craft brew and food menu (beverages and bites both feature book-themed names like the Cream & Punishment ale, Lord of the Fries and the Quesadilla of Benjamin Button). Five in-house beer selections are offered alongside rotating guest taps from fellow local breweries.
After relocating from Illinois, the Sandullos struck up a friendship with Books & Brews founder Jason Wuerfel when Melissa, a musician, played a few open mic nights at Wuerfel’s original 96th Street location.
“After that, we talked to Jason and learned what his mission was, and really came to appreciate the brand that he had built,” Evan says. “It felt like something we could really get behind.”
Last year, after Wuerfel spotted a vacant building in Broad Ripple formerly occupied by Monon Food Company, he contacted the Sandullos about launching the next Books & Brews spot. Evan and Melissa jumped on board, and their journey from lease signing to official opening took a mere 70 days.
Renovations to the space prior to opening were minimal, and Evan says the building feels tailor-made for the Books & Brews concept.
“We did some paint and new flooring, and then remodeled the kitchen,” he says. “We changed the layout of the space a little bit – we don’t officially have a bar per se because we didn’t want to give up valuable space for customers. We have some barrel-top tables and there’s a lot of standing room, and it seems to work. Families are welcome.”
After two soft openings, Evan and Melissa officially opened their doors on January 13, and Evan says while it’s early in the going, the turnout thus far has been encouraging, particularly in the evenings and on weekends. He even had to turn a few potential customers away during a recent Tuesday Trivia Night after unexpectedly reaching full capacity.
In addition to Trivia Night Tuesdays, the Sandullos currently feature live music every Friday and Saturday, bingo on Mondays, and an open mic night on Wednesdays. Kids eat free on Sundays, and perks are offered through the week for Mug Club members.
“There seems to be a taste for the eclectic in Broad Ripple, and we’re going to be trying some different things and testing some different menu items this year to meet that taste,” says Evan, adding that he and Melissa are slated to open another Books & Brews location near the University of Indianapolis campus in a few months. “After all, that’s why we’re here – to offer something a little different.”
Books & Brews is located at 6420 Cornell Avenue. For more info call 317-493-1132 or visit them online at booksnbrews.com/broad-ripple.