Ed and Tom Battista

Who are Ed and Tom?

The father-son duo behind acclaimed restaurant Bluebeard and the brains behind one of Indy’s newest attractions, Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie, opening soon.


Q: Tell us a bit about your latest project with Kan-Kan. Where did the idea come from? What can visitors expect at Kan-Kan?

Tom: I work as the stage manager for Jimmy Buffett, and during my off time, I like to see movies at independent arthouse cinemas in other cities. And I always thought Indy needed one. My friend Sam Sutphin feels the same way – he has wanted to open a local arthouse theater in the city for decades. So we got a group of people together and figured out a way to make it happen.

The Kan-Kan is going to have three theaters with a total of 300 seats, and also a small screening room for special events. Then there’s the Brasserie, which is a restaurant run by Abbi Merriss. The Brasserie is completely separate from the movie theater – it’s not a dine-in theater situation.

Kan-Kan Cinema

Q: What dish is a can’t-miss on the Kan-Kan menu?

Ed: Steak Frites or the Boudin Blanc. It’s quintessential Brasserie fare that’s perfect with a drink and a friend.

Tom: All of them. If you’ve been to Bluebeard, then you know all of Abbi’s food is “can’t-miss.” But if I had to pick one, I’d go with the Spaghetti Tartine.

Q: How has it been watching the success of Bluebeard, both with Abbi receiving numerous James Beard nods and the restaurant receiving continuous accolades?

Ed: Ha! I’m not sure who has been sitting around watching, but certainly no one on our team. It’s been a lot of hard work, consistent dedication, and a desire to continually train and improve. The entire crew at Bluebeard works so hard to keep improving, and it is really nice that our community, and the broader industry, continues to recognize our efforts. We always wanted to create a business for Indianapolis to be proud of, but it turns out that what I’m personally most proud of is everyone and their individual contributions that make Bluebeard what it is – from staff to our guests to the farms and artisans that supply us, to the Indianapolis community that has given us an environment to thrive in. This is such a supportive place to grow.

Tom: I’m thrilled we’ve been able to help provide a place where Abbi can practice her craft. And she is nurturing more local talent every day in our kitchen, mentoring other young chefs, and that’s helping the whole food scene here in Indianapolis. A rising tide lifts all boats.

Fletcher Place Bluebeard

Q: Outside of Bluebeard and Kan-Kan, where in Indy do you like to enjoy a good meal, and why?

Ed: Milktooth or Black Market. Both restaurants really know how to execute incredibly creative dishes without being pretentious or taking themselves too seriously. Wonderful people making wonderful food.

Tom: King Dough is amazing. I’m a big fan of the Greek salad and Margherita pizza.

Q: What about a well-loved bar or coffee shop?

Ed: I might be biased, but for coffee and pastry, it’s all Amelia’s. Head baker and owner Charlie McIntosh has the best crew making the very best baked goods in Indianapolis. Stop by and try a Capicola Twist or a Kouign-amann. Hands down the best in Indy.

Tom: The Red Key is a local treasure.

Q: Where might you take out-of-town visitors for an authentic Indy experience?

Ed: During the summer, the Cultural Trail on a bike is really the best way to take in the city and all of the great things there are to do. The Indy Winter Farmers Market at the Circle City Industrial Complex always makes me proud. It’s so great to see all of the local vendors that bring the community together every Saturday.

Tom: The 100 Acres Art & Nature Park at Newfields. There’s no place like it in Indy or anywhere else.

Newfields 100 Acre

Q: What Indy events are always on your calendar?

Ed: The Indianapolis 500 is hands-down my favorite holiday. It’s incredible seeing that many people come together in our backyard to celebrate the greatest race on the planet. The Stutz Artists Open House never disappoints. There are just so many galleries and cool spaces to explore.

Tom: First Fridays and the IndyFringe Festival.

Q: What local arts organizations do you support? Where do you like to see a show?

Ed: I really like Hoy Polloy, Healer, and Tube Factory Artspace. These are some of the most creative and supportive community arts venues in Indy and really give a platform to an incredibly diverse community.

Tom: I’m on the advisory board for Indianapolis Contemporary, formerly known as IMOCA. They have a gallery space at CityWay, but they also do great contemporary exhibits all over town. For a show, I almost never miss a performance at the IndyFringe Basile Theatre.

Tom, you created Indy’s newest park, The Idle. What do you want visitors to know about this unique place?

Tom: Just that it was always about returning unused green space back to two neighborhoods – Fletcher Place and Fountain Square – that were torn apart during interstate construction of the 1960s. People love knowing about the hidden gems of a city.

Q: Care to reveal any of your favorite hidden gems in Indy?

Ed: Spades and Brookside parks. Together, they make up more than a mile-long beautiful park system right on the edge of downtown. Spades Park also hosts the Feast of Lanterns in late summer, which is one of the best nights Indianapolis has to offer.

Tom: The Shrine Room at the top of the Indiana War Memorial.

Shrine Room at the Indiana World War Memorial

Q: You could live anywhere in the world. And you’ve traveled to many places in the world. What is it about Indy that keeps you rooted here?

Ed: Someone once said that wherever you go there is always a Hoosier doing something very important there. And there are even more right here, so I think I’ll stick around and see what they are up to.

Tom: My grandparents immigrated here in the early 1900s. My high school friends and lots of my family are here. It’s where I belong.

 

 


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