Our May Newsletter is full of great stories! We’re highlighting one written by Irvington neighbor, Heidi Unger, on the annual Discover Irvington event. To read the full newsletter, click here!

Discover Irvington
by: Heidi Unger

ecac57e2-da3a-4d36-8687-e21ac3e3649aLast weekend, the Discover Irvington festival (formerly known as Celebrate Irvington) brought Irvington residents and friends, business owners, and community organizations into the heart of Irvington to celebrate the neighborhood’s unique character and positive growth.

The annual Irvington Business Association event is designed to help businesses and nonprofit organizations engage the community and offer information and entertainment. Festival organizer Allison Luthe said, “We accomplished our goal of bringing more attention to the great flavors, shops, and cultures that make up Irvington. The streets were filled with excitement, conversation, and creativity. Thank you to the visitors, community partners, volunteers, and businesses who made it all possible.”

This year, in booths and shops along Audubon Road, Washington Street, and Johnson Avenue, nearly 50 businesses participated in the Discover Irvington marketplace, and 20 community organizations 7391c8a6-c7f8-4bb3-bd0a-c882f0de273erepresented their causes. Luthe was pleased that “the event drew new businesses into the association and brought a broad array of media attention to the neighborhood, including Fox 59’s Your Town Friday segment, broadcast live from Dufour’s. “

Shoppers visited the bricks-and-mortar stores at the festival and shopped from Retulled’s d ress racks, chose from a selection of vintage and handmade items from Audrey’s Place, and enjoyed sweet treats from Robbybaby’s Kitchen. ARPO brought some adorable, adoptable dogs. Keep Indianapolis Beautiful promoted its popular Adopt-A-Block beautification program. Irvington Garden Club sold native plants, and Good to Grow displayed an aquaponics food production system. At the Alternative Gift Fair in the Irving Theater, artisans offered a broad array of handmade items, including jewelry, pottery, woodcraft, art glass, photographs and paintings, and soaps and lotions.

Music lovers enjoyed a very successful new aa65e3b73-8502-4aeb-b0b0-d9e3378fb112ddition to the event: the Irvington Acoustic Blues Festival, at Playground Productions. Throughout the day, six blues acts performed to a full house, and attendees snacked on complimentary chili and salsa from Chef Dan’s and La Mexi-Gringa. Festival director JJ Stenzoski said, “We estimate attendance during the four-hour festival to be between 300 and 350 people of all ages.” Performers included the popular Delta Duo, Gene Deer, and Jason Hathaway. The music was a great success and, along with Coal Yard Coffee and the Bonna Shops, helped expand Discover Irvington beyond the Washington Street corridor. At next year’s festival, expect even more activity on Bonna Avenue, with the expansion of the Pennsy trail and addition of the Irvington Coal Factory development.

Go to www.discoverirvington.com for information about Irvington organizations and events scheduled throughout the year.

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.

 


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Want to learn more about our community, meet neighbors and visitors, and help with a fun day?Discover Irvington Event

The Irvington Development Organization (IDO) needs community volunteers to assist with the administration of their booth during the Discover Irvington event on Saturday, May 9, 2015.  Responsibilities may include booth set up and/or tear down, Irvington and IDO related information distribution, and product sales.

There will be three shifts:

·         9:30am-12:00pm (only one more person needed)

·         12:00pm -2:30pm (only one more person needed)

·         2:30pm -4:30pm  (only one more person needed)

Volunteers will receive instructions on their responsibilities prior to the event.  Please email volunteer@irvingtondevelopment.org with your first name, last name, email address, telephone number, and preferred shift if interested.  Volunteers will be eligible to attend an annual volunteer celebration.

AND spread the word about the event – it will be a great day to meet new friends and fellow neighbors! More info on the event can be found here.

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.


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Shop for groceries at Kroger and pick up some love for IDO

Want an easy way to support your favorite nonprofit, IDO? If you’re a Kroger shopper, all you have to do is register your Kroger Plus card on their website to donate to IDO – at no cost to you! Kroger changed their community giving program at the first of the year, so now every time you shop and swipe the card, you’ll be earning points for IDO. At the end of each quarter, Kroger will send IDO a portion of their total charitable donation, based on how many of those points IDO supporters have racked up. The more supporters who register their cards for IDO, the more groceries purchased, the bigger share of the $500,000 pie for IDO.

Registering is super easy (come on, I did it). Go to krogercommunityrewards.com, have your Kroger Plus card handy – you’ll need the long number under the barcode on the back – and follow the directions for a new account. Once you’ve registered, sign up with the Irvington Development Organization. Our Non Profit Organization Number is 11523.

Next step: Go stock up like you’re having a party for 100 people! Remember to use your Kroger Plus card every time you shop and renew your registration a year from now. That’s it. Easy-peasy.

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.


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Chef Dan’s Southern Comfort Plants Feet on East Washington Street

By Jason Hathaway

For years, Daniel “Chef Dan” Carter may have told you that opening his own restaurant was simply something he did not want to do. More than 30 years in food service, though rewarding, had shown him the commitments and extra-long hours required of those who wear the hats of both owner and chef. But, after four successful years of operating the popular Irvington-based food truck, Chef Dan’s Southern Comfort, with his wife Allison, his loyal and enthusiastic customers gradually wore down his resistance.

Chef Dan 2-J Hathaway

Chef Dan. Photo by Jason Hathaway.

 

“We had so much success with the food truck over the past four years and many customers told me that if we opened a restaurant, they would come out and support us,” Carter said. “So last year, we decided to go on a quest for locations. The great success we’ve had with the food truck at the Irvington Halloween Festival and other neighborhood events made us feel like Irvington was the place to do it. We live in Irvington, know the atmosphere is great here, and the business district is growing. We just want to be a part of that growth and promote the Historic Irvington feel.”

The Carters found exactly what they were looking for at 5539 E. Washington St., a space previously occupied by Roll With It Bakery. Chef Dan’s Southern Comfort restaurant opened for business the last week of February. Following a vibrant remodel, the new cafe takes patrons on a virtual trip to where the Mississippi River ends. The interior captures that New Orleans-Mississippi Delta feel, with features such as Mardi Gras bead-draped chandeliers, chalkboard menus and walls lined with rough-cut lumber. And, the food carries customers’ taste buds to southern comfort food heaven — a place where the flavors of Cajun, Creole and Mississippi soul food converge on a delightfully broad menu. Entrees range in price from $9 to $14 and include customer favorites such as alligator and shrimp po’boys, shrimp étouffée, jambalaya, pulled pork barbecue, and beignets.

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Dedication to Chef Dan’s Grandmother. Photo by Jason Hathaway.

The menu items are a blend of recipes Carter learned from his mother and grandmother while growing up in Mississippi and others he picked up along the way — each one “cooked from the heart.”

“When you put your heart and soul into your cooking, it always adds that extra flavor that no one can figure out,” Carter said. “It makes people smile. I love to make people smile, to hear them say ‘Oh, wow!’ after they try my food. That alone is the reason why I’ll never stop cooking.”

Chef Dan’s Southern Comfort has experienced a steady flow of customers in its first few weeks, all eager for another taste of their old favorites from the currently dormant food truck and try some new specials. Allison Carter, co-owner and business manager of the restaurant, is pleased with the customer response she has seen thus far, as well as the reception from the Irvington business community.

“Just like the neighborhood, Irvington Development Organization and the Irvington Business Association have welcomed us with open arms. We benefit from the networking and information sharing these organizations provide and enjoy doing our part to make Irvington a great place to eat, shop and do business,” she said.

Business hours for Chef Dan’s Southern Comfort are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, go to http://chefdansindy.com/

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.


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Irvington Neighbor Spotlight: Writer, Shawndra Miller – Enjoying Nature in the City

Some would say that charming older homes, a vibrant history, and winding, tree-lined streets are the hallmarks of our neighborhood, but in any community, it’s the people who define its character. If you live or work in Irvington, most likely you know at least a handful of smart, creative, fun people — perhaps community leaders, restaurateurs, shopkeepers, servers, technicians, historians, artists, artisans, gardeners, builders, innovators, and caretakers. The following interview is the first in a series that highlights community members, whom you might or might not already know, and their thoughts about this neighborhood. Here is Irvington resident and writer Shawndra Miller talking about her connection with the neighborhood.

How long have you’ve lived and worked here?Shawndra & Marley

We moved to Irvington in late 1996, so almost 19 years ago. And since 2005 I’ve been freelancing, so I work here too — which my dog and cats appreciate as much as I do.

How did you first hear of Irvington and why did you move here?

The summer we were house hunting, acquaintances invited us to join them on their porch for drinks, and they told us all about the neighborhood. We fell in love with the old homes, beautiful tree canopy, and walkable, artsy, and friendly vibe — not to mention the affordability.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy pretty much everything I do in my day-to-day activities, but for leisure time, it’s usually reading, connecting with friends over food (or food growing/gathering/preparation/preserving), or loving up my dog and cats. Low-key bicycling, foraging, and gardening are my outlets in warm weather. I love to bike around Irvington and pick mulberries, raspberries, and juneberries in season.

What’s your favorite walk, bike ride, block, or view in the neighborhood?

I love to walk the golf course with my dog in winter. When I’m with friends it’s a big social affair, and when it’s just my dog and me, I can pretend I’m the lady of the manor strolling the grounds. It’s gorgeous out there in any kind of weather.

If you were Mayor of Irvington for a day, what would you do first?

I would assemble a team to fan out and do an asset inventory, going door to door to learn neighbors’ interests, passions, skills, and potentially any tools or equipment they’d be willing to share in a neighborhood exchange. Also, if enough people expressed interest, I’d start a neighborhood fruit gleaning initiative.
Shawndra’s blog, “Giving Voice to the World’s Remaking in an Age of Crisis,” can be found here:


Lend Your Voice for a Healthier Irvington
Community Health Logo

The major hospitals in the area, including Community East, are collaborating on a survey of the health needs of residents to guide their planning for their community benefit programs.  As not-for-profit health care providers they must work to address public health needs, and your input can help them determine what are the most critical issues in our community.  Please take a few minutes (took me less than  five) to give them your opinions on what matters most to you and your health.  The survey can be found here.


Irvington Post Office Update
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As we’ve reported before, the Irvington Post Office, LLC (made up of representatives of the Irvington Historical Society and the Irvington Development Organization) are looking for a buyer for the lot at the corner of Ritter Ave. and Washington St.  But not just any buyer.  They’ve developed criteria to evaluate the buyer’s intended use for the site and a process to follow to get all the necessary approvals (IHPC, lenders, etc.).  We’re very excited to report that there are already two credible purchasers for the property.  They each have the criteria and are preparing their proposals.  The committee looks forward to reviewing their ideas for the site and starting the process towards approval. In the meantime, they are considering a lease arrangement for a food truck to operate on the site until a successful purchaser closes on the property and starts construction.  Positive things are starting to happen after our devastating loss of the building.  Stay tuned for more developments.

Pennsy Trail Update

Pennsy Trail ImageThe city’s contracted foresters will start work the first week of March removing diseased or damaged trees or those directly in the way from Arlington to Ellenberger Park.  Yes, the trail is actually coming!  There was a recent meeting between the engineers for the Coal Factory development, Bonna Ave. rehabilitation, and the Pennsy to coordinate utility and other construction work in the right-of-way.  This is great because #1, they will minimize disruption and duplication and #2 all three of these projects are going to happen this year!!  It will truly be a transformation for Old Irv, our original downtown!

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.


read more


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