One of Indianapolis’ oldest and best-known Italian restaurants is preparing to close its doors. The Milano Inn, which opened in 1934, will close after business on New Year’s Eve. "As many know, the restaurant business is all consuming and with personal changes going on in our lives, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to close the business and sell," said owner Tina LaGrotte, who hinted that the property will have new life.
The Milano Inn was opened in 1934 by Mary and Joe Modaffari at 231 South College Avenue, in the city’s Fletcher Place neighborhood. Its legendary atmosphere includes a mural that graces the four walls of the main dining room, depicting the Allied liberation of Italy during World War II.
After the Modaffari’s passed in the late 1970s, the restaurant struggled and appeared destined for the wrecking ball, until it was acquired by local salvage owner Leo LaGrotte. The LaGrotte family has owned and operated the restaurant since the early 1980s, enhancing its reputation as an Indianapolis neighborhood tradition.
While the Milano Inn is preparing to close, the longtime site is not expected to go dark. In a statement, the LaGrotte family indicates the building and adjacent property are being targeted for a new use that will "add to the wonderful character of the neighborhood," with details to be released in 2017.