Evansville Looking For Next Great Restaurant

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A competition designed to spur economic development in downtown Evansville is underway. The Main Course Restaurant Challenge, organized by the Southwest Indiana Chamber, will award an entrepreneur a more than $250,000 package to establish a restaurant and bar in a vacant former jewelry store. July 24, 2014

News Release

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (July 23, 2014) - The Southwest Indiana Chamber today announced the launch of a unique economic development contest designed to stimulate growth in downtown Evansville with the addition of a new dining option.

The contest, called Evansville's Main Course Restaurant Challenge, will target already-successful restaurateurs and entrepreneurs with interest, and the ability, to establish a new eatery in downtown Evansville.

The winning concept, which will receive a privately-funded prize package valued at more than $250,000, is to serve lunch and dinner and is to include a bar to accompany the restaurant, according to Southwest Indiana Chamber Downtown Alliance Director Joshua Armstrong. "We want to introduce another restaurant to our community that brings the perfect mix of great food and fun to downtown Evansville."

Evansville's Main Course Restaurant Challenge calls for the new eatery to be open for business no later than Sept. 1, 2015 inside a now-vacant building at the corner of Fourth and Main streets that once was occupied by Rogers Jewelers. The location was selected, in part, because of its high visibility in downtown Evansville, its open and flexible floor plan, and the opportunity to renovate a downtown fa?ade.

The privately-funded prize package includes both cash and in-kind contributions from local and national companies and organizations, including The Gene Warren Jr. Family, Old National Bank, South Central Communication, Hafer Associates, South Central Digital, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc., Industrial Contractors/Skanska, Evansville Courier and Press, Gordon Food Service, Bourbon Blog, Leadership Evansville, Kahn Dees Donovan & Kahn and Berry Plastics. Included are grants for fa?ade improvements, provided by the City of Evansville Department of Metropolitan Development and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

The Southwest Indiana Chamber will begin accepting entries today and all entries must be submitted no later than Wednesday, Oct. 15. Finalists will be carefully selected from received entries, which will be evaluated on overall creative concept, grasp of the downtown Evansville market, and portfolio of past successes. Entrants and interested individuals can visit www.maincoursechallenge.com to apply or for more information.

Evansville's Main Course Restaurant Challenge Committee is planning an event, tentatively scheduled for early November, to provide the community with an opportunity to meet finalists and for finalists to present sample menu items to a panel of judges. Committee members include Bob Jones and Ben Shoulders from Old National Bank; Mark Samila from Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn, LLP; Jon Ruthenberg from Gray Loon Marketing Group; Christy Gillenwater from the Southwest Indiana Chamber; JP Englebrecht from South Central Digital; Alan Braun from Skanska; Jeff Justice from Hafer Associates; Shance Sizemore from the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville; and Otha Warren from North Park Corporation.

About Southwest Indiana Chamber

For nearly a century, the Southwest Indiana Chamber has been a trusted ally of the regional business community. Today, we're one of the state’s largest, strongest, and most impactful nonprofit business organizations, representing a total membership of nearly 1,700 businesses, organizations, and agencies. About one-third of members have invested in our organization for 10 or more years. While nearly all major employers in our region are members of the Southwest Indiana Chamber, 71 percent of our members have fewer than 25 employees.

Learn more about the Chamber, our members, and the Southwest Indiana regional community at www.swinchamber.com.

Source: The Southwest Indiana Chamber