After spending 15 formative years in Washington, D.C., Todd Rudicel never thought he would return to his home state of Indiana, let alone Kokomo, for a business venture.
Rudicel, who grew up in Kokomo and graduated from Kokomo High School, has returned to his hometown, bringing with him a piece of his past with his new Washington D.C.-inspired restaurant and bar, The District.
Rudicel said it is exciting to be a part of the city’s downtown revival, as he puts the finishing touches on the new restaurant that will open on Thursday at 107 W. Sycamore St. The new business, one of a host of buildings repurposed in the downtown area, will open in conjunction with the annual Strawberry Festival, opening at 11 a.m.
“When you say full circle, that’s absolutely right,” Rudicel said of his return to Kokomo. “It is a completely different city from when I was here [as a kid], and it’s been good.
“It’s neat to drive around the downtown area and see all of the things that are popping up on Buckeye Street, and the announcement of the new baseball stadium,” he added. “It’s great to be here during the infancy stages of all of that.”
The building, which served as the former home of the Elks Lodge No. 190 for many years, has been reimagined as a restaurant and bar that will feature two different lounge areas in the front and back of the building, seven TVs, a jukebox, a shuffleboard table and spots for outdoor dining in front of the building.
The walls inside the building proudly display photos taken by Rudicel of the D.C. area, along with other homages to his former home, including subway metro signs, a sign from Canal Street and a paddle paying tribute to crew, a popular sport on the East Coast. Leather chairs and a sophisticated interior design give the bar and restaurant a modern but casual feel.