Hoss Bar & Grill, the new establishment at East 96th Street and Hague Road that opened in February, is named after co-owner Eddie Sahm’s grandfather William Sahm’s nickname. In addition to this homage to his family legacy, Sahm says the restaurant itself is a reflection of what his grandfather represented.
“My grandfather passed away before I was born, and my dad was about 13 at that time, so I never knew him, but he’s kind of this larger-than-life figure that everybody knew,” Sahm explains. “He was head of the Catholic Youth Organization in Indianapolis, and did a lot of work with local parks. They named a park after him when he passed away. He meant a lot to a lot of people in Indianapolis because of his kindness. I wanted to continue his sense of generosity and contribution with the restaurant.”
Shortly after the pandemic took hold in March of 2020, Sahm says he and his team permanently closed Sahm’s Bar & Grill, the establishment that formerly operated where Hoss now sits.
“We had to consolidate a little bit, and get our bearings at that point,” says Sahm, who, along with his father Ed, co-owns and operates a family of restaurants including The Roost, Rockstone Pizzeria & Pub, Big Lug Canteen and several Sahm’s eatery locations. “We knew it was going to change the way our business functions. We’re pretty well represented in Fishers, so we had to consolidate as we were changing to focus more on delivery and carry-out, and the marketplace we put together.”
Sahm describes the food at Hoss, headed up by Chef Blake Ellis, as having an “elevated highway pit-stop feel,” and the menu includes some unique creations like a Captain Crunch fried chicken sandwich with a crisp and lightly sweet crust, as well as a vegetarian casserole, smothered chicken, mashed potatoes and more. The dessert menu features peach cobbler, soft serve, and a Hoss Sundae, which is made with Count Chocula and Cocoa Puffs cereals.
“We have a really unique burger – what you see right now at a lot of places is a smashed burger with a thin, crisp patty, and they’re great, but we’re doing our Hoss Burger, which is big, thick and juicy,” Sahm says. “There’s a vegetarian substitute too. We’re making our roll in-house, which very few people do. Hattie McDaniel, a baker here in Indy who’s awesome, is leading the charge developing that.”
The 100% indoor capacity at Hoss tops out at 196, while outdoor dining can accommodate up to 48 people at full capacity.
“We’ll be operating according to city mandates for seating, of course,” Sahm adds.
Sahm had begun to visualize the Hoss concept back in 2015, and after closing the doors to the 96th Street Sahm’s location, it was a matter of making that vision a reality.
“I had a rough vision for the design, and what the service style would be like,” he says. “I had ideas for how we would portray my grandfather’s legacy, and the style of food that was a little bit more upscale than what we were doing – a more elevated type of bar food – and was an homage to the highway diner style that we all know, with big plates of food with no frills.”
He feels that despite the pandemic, the timing is favorable for the eatery’s opening.
“We’re hoping that as we open up and when we move into April and May, we’ll get a lot more outdoor activity where people want to space out outside,” Sahm says. “We have a good patio here and we’ll have it ready to go by the end of March, with some additions.”
Sahm says COVID-19 has brought many challenges to all of his and his father’s locations, but he and his staff members have adapted along the way.
“We’ve been able to maintain a good amount of our staff through all of this, and were able to receive some Paycheck Protection Program money, and now it’s just time to get this new concept going as the summer comes,” he says. “I think the timing lines up pretty well.”
Sahm hopes Hoss Bar & Grill contributes to the ongoing growth of the Fishers area as what he feels is a diverse, vibrant community.
“Whether it’s places like Four Day Ray, or organizations like The Yard, so many people are putting so much effort into creating this movement around identifying Fishers as a unique place that’s gearing for the future and growing,” he says. “That’s something I’ve admired, and was something my dad did back in the 80s. He was always promoting Fishers and doing what he could to help schools and churches here. I consider this restaurant just part of my contribution to that.”
Hoss Bar & Grill is located at 7870 East 96th Street in Fishers. For more information, call 317-841-3014 or visit hossbarandgrill.com.
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