Historic Fishers restaurant closes its doors


Photo by Ben McHenry

The building where the Nickel Plate Bar and Grill was located on 116th street in downtown Fishers, April 26, 2019.

After 28 years in business, the Nickel Plate Bar and Grill was open for the last time on April 20. As part of a $157 million development project, the restaurant was bought out by Browning Investments to make room for the upcoming development.

While portions of the surrounding area have already been developed, with restaurants, apartments and entertainment such as the Escape Room, there is more to come. The development plan consists of a five-story apartment building with office and retail space on the north side of the street, and a six-story apartment building with a boutique hotel on the south side of the street.

This new development centers around the planned four and a half mile Nickel Plate Trail, which will be built where the train tracks currently are behind the Nickel Plate Bar and Grill. This plays into why the restaurant was bought out, as the city is looking to make way for the trail.

Many who oppose the development, including a Facebook group titled Save The Nickel Plate, stated that Browning could simply use the space next to the tracks to build the trail, but they responded by saying that this would require purchases of extra land that is owned by the apartment complex next to it, and could cost upwards of $20 million.

The original Nickel Plate building was built in the 1880s, and the Nickel Plate Bar and Grill has been open since 1991, so many residents have likely grown up going there.

“I went to the Nickel Plate pretty often with my family, and I always got their tenderloin,” junior Austin Ehrlich said. “It will be sad to see it go, but I’m excited to see all of the new stuff they put in.”

Since Nickel Plate is such an important cornerstone of Fishers, according to City of Fishers spokeswoman Ashley Elrod, the building will be refurbished and will be a key part of the renovation. While Fishers is developing, the city also wants to keep certain historic places to call back to its history.

The city has numerous developments in progress, such as The Yard At Fishers and the one taking place by the Nickel Plate Trail. However, not everyone is a proponent of these expensive developments.

“There are some cool things that have shown up, like Topgolf, but apart from that, there isn’t a whole lot for kids our age to do,” junior Rich Hutchinson said. “And it is just going to make the area more crowded and the traffic a lot worse, so I kind of wish things would just stay the same here.”