JEFFERSONVILLE — A year after operations ceased at a longtime Jeffersonville staple for comfort food, the corner of Market and Spring streets is about to see new life.
Beau Kerley and his team, co-owners at 812 Pizza Company in Georgetown and the Standard Plate & Pour in downtown New Albany, entered a 10-year lease last week with Nicklies Development for a brand new restaurant concept at the spot where Ann's By the River once operated.
"We talked to a lot of people over the last 10 months or so, looking for the right concept for downtown Jeff," David Nicklies said. "We selected Beau and his team because of their experience — and they want to bring something different to Jeffersonville. So we're excited about that."
By December, Kerley said he plans to have two restaurants open at 149 Spring — Dos Gringos, a bright, colorful Mexican spot featuring traditional plates and a wide selection of margaritas and tequila, and a breakfast diner in the back, what he described as "a greasy spoon with a touch of Mexican taste to it."
Kerley said the spot chose him rather than the other way around. When his friend, local Realtor Steve Resch took him to check it out, he was intrigued.
"This feels really cool here in downtown Jeff," he said. "Just the number of places you can get to really quick is cool, and the walking bridge makes it really neat."
The breakfast restaurant, which is yet to be named, will be open from 7 to 11:30 a.m., with Dos Gringos opening at 11:30 through the evening or later. Chef Tim Smith, one of the partners, will create the menus — he's responsible for scores in the area, including the Standard and 812 Pizza.
Both eateries will have "very friendly" prices, Kerley said — breakfast will run about $7 to $10 per plate, and dinner about $10 to $15, with some higher-end options available. There will be separate entrances and menus for the two restaurants.
"We're going to try to make it a fun, relaxed place," he said.
The owners — Kerley, Smith and their wives, Angela Smith and Lindsey Kerley — have a vision that includes oversized pink corner booths, a long, colorful bar with margarita flights, a bright sparkly floor. The main room will seat about 85, including 15 at the bar; the breakfast area about 40 to 45.
"This place is going to pop," Kerley said. "It's going to be a really cool, colorful spot."
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said he's glad to see something coming into the space, which has sat vacant since Nicklies bought it last year.
"I think he's in a fantastic location and I feel certain with [Kerley's] restaurant background, it will be a success," Moore said. "It's a very visible location and with all the activities we have going on downtown, it's going to provide thousands of new customers."
Moore recognized Ann's, the family owned cafeteria which fed Southern Indiana for decades before its closure.
"Ann's was a very nice, comfort food, family restaurant," he said, adding that the city has evolved over time. "But with the new influx of young people downtown, times change and the customer base changes."