There’s no doubt that South Broad Ripple has really taken off, with local businesses like GoldLeaf Savory & Sweet, Loom, Hawkmoth, and Foundation Coffee Company just to name a few. Among those businesses is Papa Bears Chicken, which has helped to build this community. Kelvin Brasher, owner and operator, is proud to operate his business as a one-man show, and says he’s excited to see his community grow. When businesses open it helps build others up, especially with an increase in foot traffic.
Before the opening of Brasher’s business, his wife previously owned a boutique in the same building.
“She came home one day and said, ‘We are opening a restaurant,’” Brasher says.
It just made sense, as Brasher and his family have always been cooking and eating food the way he serves it to his customers now. He’s a proud one-man operation because he truly loves what he does.
“This is fun,” he says. “I’m a people person. Meeting people is what I like to do.”
The other benefit when you’re the only one is that you get to see the benefits quicker. It’s his name on the food, and he wants his company to be built on hot food and great customer service.
“I make everybody’s food as if I’m going to eat it,” he says.
Brasher knows a thing or two about marketing, as his Instagram page has more than 10,000 followers, and the sign outside his building draws people in – a big yellow sign advertising two-piece chicken dishes for 99 cents. Once you’re inside, you’ll see that the establishment offers more than just chicken. Brasher offers lamb burgers, catfish dinners, stir-fry dishes, pizza and rib tips. His Instagram is filled with daily specials. Fried chicken wings are the most popular, with an abundant amount of sauces to choose from including lemon pepper, parmesan garlic, mango habanero, hot honey, spicy garlic, and what Brasher suggests to all his new customers – honey garlic pepper.
When the topic of growth comes up, Brasher dreams bigger than just a second location. He has ideas of Indiana college tours with his menu, with an end goal of bringing all that new reach back to 46th street.
“I based my business on some of the best mom-and-pop restaurants in the city that have been around for 30 to 40 years in one location,” he says.
Brasher differentiates himself in many ways from your typical mom-and-pop place. One draw for newcomers is that you can often find him in the kitchen cooking his heart out until 3 a.m.
“I love when I get a new customer and they turn right back around and bring more with them,” he says. “I like that because that means I’m doing a good job.”
He’s excited for the coming years, and to continue to see SoBro grow.
“I’ve seen how the traffic has trickled down from Broad Ripple and now we’re jumping harder,” Brasher says.
He has a lot to do with that trickle.
Papa Bears Chicken is located at 1938 East 46th Street in Indianapolis. You can follow them on Instagram @ppapabearschicken. For more info, call 317-253-2697.