McCORDSVILLE – For Robert Garcia, it started out as a plan to simply update his restaurant’s kitchen and relocate his office.

“I thought, since we’re going to be closed already, we might as well just really give the store a whole new look,” he said. “Get it updated, give it a whole new feel and change it around.”

That’s exactly what The Grill in McCordsville got. It’s the first major update in the eatery’s nearly 16 years, and comes at a time when much of its surroundings are developing as well.

The restaurant, located at 6621 W. Broadway, was closed for about six weeks while work was underway. Improvements include new booths, lighting, televisions and wall-hangings. The bathrooms and bar were redone, and a separate dining area often used for private parties was updated as well.

“We gave it a very modern feel, with the same flavor and same taste and the same great food and service,” Garcia said.

March will mark 16 years in business for The Grill. Aside from touch-ups and new coats of paint, the recent renovations made up its first extensive renovation.

“We should be good for another 20 years, so hopefully our guests won’t ever have to worry about us closing,” Garcia said with a laugh.

The Grill is about to get plenty more potential guests when Gardens on Gateway Senior Apartments right behind it opens, which is slated for this winter. The 119-unit complex is just one development representing McCordsville’s growth over the last several years. The town continues to work with housing developers on new neighborhoods, and a two-building apartment complex kicking off the new town center recently broke ground.

“With regards to the area, it’s starting to really grow and develop,” Garcia said. “We’re really starting to build up around here.”

The recent updates to The Grill are not only aesthetic, but operational as well. Garcia said the kitchen “went from a Pinto to a Rolls-Royce” by opening up with more room and getting new lighting, flooring and equipment.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “We doubled it in size, it’s much more practical, it’s more economical, your service work pattern’s a lot better back there, it’s more efficient.”

Garcia has been in the restaurant business for nearly 40 years.

“One of the things that I really enjoy about it is the challenge,” he said. “It’s different every single day. It’s very interesting work. You’ve got to really be on top of it as far as the restaurant business is concerned, because this industry – people have so many choices. That’s why to me it’s very, very important to make sure we do the best that we can to take care of our customers, and bend over backwards, give them that customer service they deserve. We appreciate them spending their hard-earned money here with us, so it’s very important to make sure that we take care of them.”

Like his line of work, he’s fond of McCordsville as well.

“It has that hometown feel,” Garcia said. “It’s an up-and-coming area, which is very, very exciting for us. We’ve been here – it’ll be 16 years in March. We’ve seen a lot of growth exploding now, and it’s a great community.”

That community helped The Grill get through the COVID-19 pandemic, which was far from kind to restaurants.

“We were very blessed and fortunate,” Garcia said. “In those 16 years that we’ve been here, we have built such a loyal, solid base and foundation, and I’m telling you that even through COVID, they came in droves. We were very, very blessed to have such a great community. Now that we’re past that, hopefully things are going to continue to grow and get better. We’re excited about that.”