NEW PALESTINE — As soon as next spring, if construction goes as scheduled, residents will have a new sit-down restaurant to enjoy in Sugar Creek Township.
Officials from Tharp Realty, a commercial real estate firm in Indianapolis, own much of the land on the northeast corner of U.S. 52 and Mt. Comfort Road, behind Needler’s Fresh Market. Representatives of the company say the owner of Dale’s Family Restaurant, which is on the south side of Indianapolis, has decided to build another restaurant in New Palestine.
Excavation work at the site began this week. The project is the first of what town officials hope will be many new businesses coming to the area as part of a new commercial center.
Dale’s Family Restaurant, 5209 E. Thompson Road, will remain. Owner Dennis Beikman said he will name the restaurant in New Palestine something other than Dale’s Family Restaurant, but he didn’t want to reveal the name just yet.
Beikman and his family are building a home in New Palestine and feel with so much growth in the area, a sit-down restaurant with a full breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert menu, as well as a full bar, are needed.
“We hope to hire anywhere from 40 to 50 people starting in February,” Beikman said. “We certainly hope and think we’ll get the support.”
The menu for Dale’s Family Restaurant features a full breakfast menu and a large selection of sandwiches/wraps, soups and salads, pasta, burgers and entree dishes.
Bill Niemier, New Palestine Town Council president, is an attorney for Don Tharp and has abstained from any votes surrounding permits and approval for the new business area as part of the council and the town plan commission. As a longtime community resident, he noted the restaurant will fill a major need.
The restaurant will be located just north of the Fifth Third bank branch. It is the first of what town officials hope will be several businesses going in that area. Town officials are looking at the parcel as business hub. It is being called the New Palestine Commercial Center.
“Construction of the building is moving forward,” Niemier said. “It will be a good addition to the community.”
Tharp personnel visited with the plan commission on Wednesday, Oct. 20, to present their full plans for the area and get rezoning for two residential lots just west of the site. The plan commission unanimously agreed to rezone the area for businesses.
“I’m 100% for this,” planning commission and council member Chris Lytle said. “The more we can get business-wise and restaurant-wise, I’m all for.”
Town officials are hoping to get positive news about additional development there soon.
“Nothing is official yet, but we are in talks with other tenants for that area, and we may have word soon,” Niemier said.
Two older homes were recently demolished on the lots to make room for the commercial development that has been years in the making. With the addition of the Woodland Terrace complex, the Hancock Health Wellness Center and numerous housing additions, the face of the southwestern part of the county is changing.
“With the renovations at the high school here in town and the addition of the wellness center, we’re trying to be proactive and use these as catalysts for other developments,” town manager Jim Robinson said. “When you look at the big picture, a lot of things are happening, and we’re really changing the look of New Palestine.”
While the commercial and residential growth is important, Robinson said the key is to make sure as the town grows, leaders figure out ways to keep the small-town charm for which New Palestine is known.
“That’s why people are coming out this way, because they’re looking for that ‘small town’ feel, and we’ve got to find a way to make sure we don’t lose that,” Robinson said.