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Byrne’s Grilled Pizza Celebrates Addition of The Rhino Bar

Writer / Megan Jefferson

Photos provided by Byrne’s Grilled Pizza

Ken Reinstrom grew up in Brooklyn, New York where his parents owned and operated a German delicatessen. When he moved to Indianapolis he didn’t intend to work in the food industry. Ken and his wife Dot successfully opened and operate Professional Gifting, a promotional sales product business in Broad Ripple. Now they also operate Byrne’s Grilled Pizza and The Rhino Bar on the corner of 56th and Illinois Street.

Their foray into the food industry began when Dot found a pizza recipe nearly 18 years ago. She has a habit of ripping recipes out of magazines and sticking them in a folder with the intention of making them one day. In 2009, the Reinstroms were flipping through the folder, happened upon the recipe and decided to make it for dinner. They fell in love with the cracker crust style pizza.

It was around that time that the Reinstroms became investors in a local brewery and decided to sell their favorite pizza out of a food truck. It was located in the Holy Cross neighborhood, a community where their friend, Father Jim Byrne, was active. So, they named their business Byrne’s Grilled Pizza as a tribute to their mentor.

In 2013, the Reinstroms’s food truck was chosen by Miller Coors to private cater for 1,000 people at the Brickyard. They were impressed with the level of professionalism with which the Reinstroms and staff operated the food truck and invited them to cater many more large-scale events.

“This opened the door for us to enter the mega catering scene,” Reinstrom says. Byrne’s Grilled Pizza now caters events on Georgia Street where they serve close to 2,000 people in three hours.

In 2015, they opened a brick and mortar shop at the corner of 56th and Illinois. The Rhino Bar was added in January 2018.

Because of the last name, Reinstrom, Ken naturally grew up with the nickname Rhino. Friends have gifted many rhino themed presents to Ken and Dot over the years. So, it seemed only appropriate to decorate their new bar with rhinos. One particularly impressive (faux) rhino head hangs on the wall and sticks out about five feet.

The restaurant, kitchen and bar all operate within 1,200 square feet. There are seven seats at the bar and are often filled with neighbors because the corner location – clustered with many local shops – is walkable from Rocky Ripple, Butler Tarkington and Meridian Kessler areas.

“We are a true mom-and-pop business,” Reinstrom says. “We’ve built a great employee culture and have nice customers. The bar brings an additional level of sophistication and the atmosphere it adds to the restaurant has really seemed to make a positive difference.”

About 35 percent of the business Byrne’s Grilled Pizza does is carry-out orders. They are proud of the fresh ingredients they use.

“We order 100 pounds of sausage from Kincaid’s every week and cook it up ourselves,” Reinstrom says. “We hand-cut our veggies, we roll out pizza dough five days a week. It’s labor intensive but healthy and worth it. It’s very light fare.”

You can visit Byrne’s Grilled Pizza and The Rhino Bar at 5615 N Illinois St. Visit them online at byrnespizza.com or give them a call at 317-737-2056.

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