Anthony’s Chophouse has been a dream of Tony Lazzara’s since he was a young boy working at his father’s business.
At age 6, he stood on milk crates and helped plate food at Ritz Charles as his father, Chuck Lazzara, owner of the banquet facility, taught him the importance of hard work. In high school, he worked in his uncle’s business, Joe’s Butcher Shop, and after college he managed his other uncle’s restaurant, Bub’s Burgers & Ice Cream.
“I’ve always had a passion for food and observing how it all works,” he said.
In high school, Lazzara, now 28, wrote up a business plan for a high-end restaurant in Carmel. He envisioned something completely different than what’s offered in the city.
“It’s really been my vision since I was a senior in high school,” he said. “I wrote a business plan for the DECA program at Carmel High School, and I’ve been developing that plan for years. I was in the entrepreneurship program at Ball State and we did extensive market research to make sure the numbers were accurate. I toured around the country and went to Italy to learn about wine and the market and what would be sustainable here in Carmel, and we think we’ll have something that will really separate ourselves in this market.”
In spring 2018, Tony’s dream will become reality when the upscale steakhouse will open in a building under construction at Main Street and the Monon Trail across from Bub’s.
In addition to outdoor dining, there will be large windows so customers can look out on the busy Carmel Arts & Design District.
“The whole feel is, no matter where you’re sitting, whether in the bar or the dining room, you have a view of the downtown plaza, Main Street and the Monon Trail,” Tony Lazzara said.
The downstairs bar can seat 50 to 60 people with a patio and lounge seating with a fire pit. The outdoor patio will be raised 2 feet above a new public plaza owned by the City of Carmel. A new one-way, southbound road along the Monon will create an easy loop for valet drop off or access to the new parking garage, which will serve the new restaurant and connecting office space and for-sale condos. The garage will be open to the general public, free of charge.
Outside the first level, there will be a fountain and a seamless transition between the road and plaza, similar to Georgia Street in downtown Indianapolis. Shrubs and old benches will be used to separate the areas.
In the main downstairs dining, there will be a grand staircase in the center of the room with a pass-through fireplace, all of which will be visible from Main Street as pedestrians and motorists pass by.
On the second floor, the dining will look the same as the first floor, but the room can be separated into three separate private party spaces. A sliding glass partition will be installed for easy privacy, and the space can host smaller, private events of less than 20 people. It also will have the old bar from the Glass Chimney restaurant, which has been restored and installed in the second floor space.
“There’s a great view up here where you can look down and watch the street,” Tony Lazzara said. “It’s the exact same feel as downstairs with the same menu and service. Same white table cloths, just a different view.”
Up one more level, there will be a rooftop 21-and-over bar that will have an upscale feel. There will be a 20-person bar and soft seating on the roof with a lounge. It will have a separate menu and kitchen and will focus on small-plate options. The rooftop bar can likely seat 80 inside and around 40 or so outside. Fourth of July fireworks will be visible from the area.
“(It will be a) very swanky, very upscale bar setting,” Tony Lazzara said.
Tony Lazzara said there’s been lots of planning to ensure sound, light and traffic don’t bother neighbors. He said the objective is to provide great food and service but also a great view.
“I think this will be the perfect addition to what the City of Carmel is creating with a walkable community with a focus on placemaking,” Tony Lazzara said. “This will provide a unique dining experience in Carmel.”