Leading the Line
Greg Hardesty Leaves Behind a Lasting Culinary Legacy
Writer / Alesha McCarty
Photographer / Michael Durr
A humble man who contributed significantly to the growth of the Indianapolis food scene has left the table.
The culinary world is heartbroken by the loss of the man who inspired so many of the talented chefs and creators in our city. After a year-long battle with cancer, Greg Hardesty has now gone to rest. The effect that his devotion had on our community is immense, and more than anything, he was a mentor to anyone who shared his passion for food.
Hardesty devoted 30 years to the industry, and the community he helped build for passionate and skilled individuals is expansive. Anyone in the industry will tell you of the modest chef they trained under, or how he touched their lives through his passion for food and community.
Hardesty attended Indiana University, studying public and environmental affairs, and graduated in 1991. He enjoyed spending time with his roommates and cooked simple things like chili. He realized how great it felt to feed people, and took a career turn in 1992. His first job in the industry was at the Glass Chimney restaurant in Carmel. From there he worked as a sous-chef at Rubicon restaurant in San Francisco, and fine-tuned his skills.
Hardesty opened H2O Sushi in Indianapolis in 2000, bringing Broad Ripple a fun, creative Asian culinary experience like no one had even seen. His next endeavor, Elements farm-to-fork bistro, was inspired by relationships he created with the community and local farmers. To today’s community this may not seem exceedingly innovative, but in 2003 it was not so common. Many in the community appreciated the pioneering menus and expertly chosen wine pairings.
After many years building a community, Hardesty set out on a journey to open a culinary playground, Recess, and eventually Room Four, which opened adjacent to Recess.
Eventually Hardesty decided to take some time to focus on his family. His love for his wife Susan, and daughters Juliet and Gloria, was infectious. After spending some much-needed time with his family, Hardesty realized he could not leave the industry just yet. In 2019 he set forth to open Studio C, a small, humble space where the food was simple but inspired. He wanted a place where everyone could gather and dine like family, with mornings full of homemade oatmeal cookies and excellent drip coffee – a space where industry folk could gather, work and grow.
One may say Hardesty has left the table, but he’ll always be part of our table because he inspired it. His dedication and mentorship to the community will never be forgotten.
Cheers Greg, and thank you for all you did for us.
Hardesty is survived by his wife Susan, his two daughters Juliet and Gloria, his mother Toni Savone, and his father Ron Hardesty.