Kountry Kitchen reopens at temporary location

By Tyler Fenwick

Kountry Kitchen Soul Food Place is back.

Ten months after a fire destroyed the iconic soul food restaurant in Indianapolis, Kountry Kitchen opened Nov. 3 at a temporary location for carry-out only. It’s not the ideal way to make a comeback — especially during a pandemic — but co-owner Cynthia Wilson said it’s good to be back anyway.

“We’re glad to be able to at least provide food for the community and maintain our own financial stability,” she said.

Kountry Kitchen is open 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday at the Ruckus Building, 1417 Commerce Ave. Order ahead online.

Wilson and her husband, Isaac, are planning to rebuild at the original location. Wilson said they’ve had to tweak some of the plans but hopes to have the new facility ready by the end of 2021.

The fire in January at Kountry Kitchen is believed to have been caused by a wiring issue in an office. The community organized a drive-by fundraiser, and a GoFundMe campaign raised $50,000, including $25,000 from Colts owner Jim Irsay.

People were eager to get their first taste of Kountry Kitchen in months and packed the parking lot.

“It’s a good feeling to have them back,” Chris Sanders said as he stood outside with two of his friends, Scott Harris and Larry Williams.

Sanders, 40, voted in the morning and then went for lunch. His favorite things to order are the catfish filet and lemonade.

“We gotta support Black businesses because we’re limited in the Black businesses that we have,” he said.

Harris, 49, was about to eat at Kountry Kitchen for the first time. Of course, he had heard about the restaurant’s reputation from friends and family, but he just never got around to actually eating there.

“It just brings the community together,” Harris said of having the restaurant back.

Williams, 38, went to Kountry Kitchen on his wedding day with his groomsmen and remembers going another time with some friends and seeing a few Colts players. That’s one of his favorite things about the restaurant.

“You never know who you’re gonna see in here,” he said.

A few minutes later, as the three of them stood in the waiting area, Mayor Joe Hogsett walked through the door and bumped elbows with the friends.