Local business uses Indy Chamber resources to navigate permitting process
Local mixologist Joshua Gonzales, formerly of Pizzology Craft Pizza + Pub, Ball & Biscuit, and The Libertine Liquor Bar, opened his own bar and restaurant in February. But before opening the doors to The Thunderbird, he was faced with a set of challenges that nearly threatened the opening of Fountain Square’s newest hot spot.
The building at 1127 Shelby St. is a historical building, with deep roots in the community. In the 1950s and ‘60s, it housed the Thunderbird Night Club. In the 70s, after its decline, it was purchased and run by the City of Indianapolis. When the location became available last year, Joshua jumped at the opportunity to own his own restaurant and pay homage to one of Fountain Square’s legendary clubs. With construction and plans well underway, Joshua soon learned that the City, not The Thunderbird, owned the land in which he wanted to expand and build a patio.
An old friend, Steve Wolff, Deputy Director, Code Enforcement with the City of Indianapolis, introduced Joshua to The Indy Chamber Ombudsman, Luke Bosso. As the Regulatory and Permitting Ombudsman, Luke is responsible for everything from identifying issues before businesses ever step into a government office to reducing waiting periods for licensing and permitting, providing one-on-one consulting to advocating for businesses. The Regulatory and Permitting Ombudsman is the result of a combined effort by the City of Indianapolis and the Indy Chamber and is a free service to business owners in Marion County.
“Navigating the regulatory process in any city can be challenging,” said Luke. “When the regulatory and permitting Ombudsman works with businesses they are going to quickly receive answers and walk away with a solution to all of their permitting problems.”
That was the case for Joshua and The Thunderbird. What seemed like running around in endless circles and much frustration was resolved with the help of the Indy Chamber. According to Joshua, Luke was able to bring everyone involved to the table for a two-hour meeting and got everything solved and resolved in a short time.
“I truly believe we would not have opened in time without the help of the Indy Chamber,” said Joshua. “It was like herding cats for us. There were too many pieces that were not falling into place. That meeting and the help we received from Luke was instrumental in The Thunderbird opening in time.”
Joshua and his partners, restaurateur Ed Rudisell, developer Jonathan Altman and chef Carlos Salazar, opened the doors to a new space that’s welcoming, inviting and fun. They serve everything from amazing craft cocktails to PBR. The food is southern-inspired with a price point no more than $10. And the patio that early on presented so many challenges for Joshua will soon be open and accessible to 40 guests daily.