Nice Try, Though

by , under Indianapolis

Sometimes a building’s architectural style is so identified with its original business that it’s hard to shake the association, even when the business is long gone. Here’s a photo gallery of bad building conversions around Indianapolis. Let me know about the ones you’ve spotted around town…

This Indian Restaurant on east 38th Street doesn’t disguise its former existence as a Pizza Hut very well.
Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut

Woo hoo! Let’s go to the Taco Bell Dentist!
Taco Bell Dentistry

Taco Bell Dentistry

Peggy’s Restaurant can try all it wants, but it’s no Lums Restaurant.
Lums

Lums

It’s not really that obvious at first, but if you look at Rancho Grande Restaurant near 86th and Ditch, you can see it used to be a Chinese Restaurant
Rancho Grande Chinese Buffet

Rancho Grande Chinese Buffet

The Fox Photo at 86th and Ditch is now Joey’s Produce. They should probably take down the digital services sign to make the complete transformation.
Fox Photo

Produce Fox Photo

Jen’s theory that this lighting store on 38th Street might be a former Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips is close, but I think it might not be the case after comparing the signs. (Update – it was a Laughner’s Cafeteria!)

They tried adding some Asian design adornment to the windows, but it’s pretty obvious that Tokyo Joe’s started life as a Noble Roman’s.
Tokyo Joes

Tokyo Joes

However, they do have a great “Lunh Buffet.”
Lunh Buffet

Lunh Buffet

I’m not certain, but I think this Pawn shop used to be a Steak place.
Ponderosa

Pawn Shop/Steak

Indianapolis residents were devastated when the Roslyns Bakeries all over town closed, and even more upset when their classic “googie” style signs were converted to Cash and Go signs.
Roslyn's Bakery/Cash N Go

Roslyn’s Bakery/Cash N Go

This former Ponderosa on east Washington now serves up Chinese food
Ponderosa China Buffet 2

Ponderosa China Buffet 2

As does this one on 10th and Shadeland. Notice the nice Ponderosa landscape image still in place.
Ponderosa China Buffet

Ponderosa China Buffet

This Long John Silvers ended up being an auto service place/tax preparer.
Long John Silver's Auto Repair

Long John Silver’s Auto Repair & taxes

The Blockbuster sign doesn’t quite hide that this building used to be a Papa John’s Restaurant.
Blockbuster Papa John's

Blockbuster Papa John’s Pizza

I recognize the original building as a restaurant, but can’t quite put a name to it. It wasn’t a Napa Auto Parts, though. Was it a steakhouse?
Denny's Napa Auto Parts

Denny’s Napa Auto Parts

  1. Steph Mineart

    Yep, Roselyn’s is on our list of pictures to take. There’s also a great Dentist’s office/former Mexican restaurant on east Washington that’s just dying to be included here.

    Reply
  2. Steph Mineart

    Jen was suggesting that the Indiana Lighting Center on 38th and Lafayette might be a former Arthur Treacher’s but I think it’s slightly different.

    Reply
  3. Jennifer

    Be careful not to judge an eatery by it’s outery! Have you been inside and given Tokyo Joe’s a try? The external package disguises one of my favorite places to drop in for some really great food, service, and atmosphere.
    (I love the “digital produce” pic, by the way — I never noticed that detail, even though I drive by all the time!)

    Reply
  4. Lisa

    Stumbled upon this website after googling Tokyo Joes for their number. I busted a gut. Thanks for the laugh. The Pizza Hut building is frightening at best, but the food is better than Benihana and the people twice as nice.
    Oh, and the lunh was great too.

    Reply
  5. Sabrina

    Don’t let the building discourage you if going to Tokyo Joes. They have the best food and friendliest service of any establishment of their kind.

    Reply

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