What’s up, Indianapolis!
Here are some facts about our beloved city. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Area consists of over 1.7 million people. Indianapolis, itself, is the 12th largest city in the US. More people live in Indianapolis than the entire state of Vermont. Yet, compared to cities our size, we don’t have many vegetarian eating options. Certainly, Spice Nation exists. And there are a handful of other restaurants that make an attempt at being vegetarian-friendly, but overall- compared to cities like Columbus, OH, or Louisville KY, or Grand Rapids, MI our vegetarian/plant-based options are pale in comparison.
People have theories about why that is: Hoosiers love their meat; Indianapolis is more “conservative” than other midwestern cities; Indianapolis doesn’t have a market for vegetarian options. People will cite a handful of poorly managed vegetarian restaurants that cropped up about 8 years ago to demonstrate how we’re just “not ready” for an all-vegetarian restaurant.
I think those theories are bogus. And I can prove it.
From my own experience, I can tell you that I’ve- personally- sold over 1,000 lbs of seitan in just over 8 months in 2012. And I’m on pace to sell at least 2,000 this year. I can also tell you that the seitan wings are the best-selling appetizer at the Sinking Ship and are second only to hamburgers on the entire menu. I can tell you that the two vegan items I created consist of nearly half of the dinner orders at SoBro cafe. I can tell you that, by the time the Earth House met our untimely ending, the cafe had gone from a financial drain on the collective to one of the only sources of positive revenue.
We can also look at more generalized data. People in the US are eating less meat. More and more people are looking for vegetarian options, even if they’re not vegetarian. Bookstores have shelves upon shelves of vegetarian cookbooks. Farmers Markets are packed year round. People like Bill Clinton and Ellen Degeneres have made plant-based diets mainstream, while events like “Meatless Mondays” have demonstrated that plant-based food can taste great while being better for individuals and the environment. People have started to make the connection between CO2 emissions from livestock and global warming. The USDA (a long time nemesis of vegetarians) has even come out in favor of people adopting more plant-based food sources.
So now is the time. There is no reason why Indianapolis can host a Super Bowl, but not have an entirely plant-based restaurant. Everyone, even Hoosiers, are seeking out less meat and more plant-based alternatives. The market exists. The only question is “who will fill it?”.
Hopefully, that’s us. We’re Three Carrots. Right now, we’re in the very early stages on planning and still looking for investors. Our goal is to open by the end of 2013, but there is still a lot of work to get done. The purpose of this web-site/blog is to help build and sustain momentum and to demonstrate to potential investors that there is a sizable market for a plant-based restaurant in Indianapolis. Also, we want to use this format to document the ups and downs of opening a restaurant and to give you (the reader) some insight into why it’s just not as easy as simply opening a restaurant. I hope you stick with us and give us your support.