Thursday, May 01, 2008

Elements Sold

Yes, it's been crazy, and I know a lot of you love this place and are concerned. Here's what I know so far.


Greg Hardesty and Mike Sylvia have sold Elements. I haven't had a chance to talk with Greg directly, but through a variety of other sources I've gathered a) Greg will be staying with the restaurant as a consultant for the next month or so, b) Greg will be taking some much needed time off and may show up consulting for some local ventures in town, c) I haven't heard if Mike is staying or going. Expect some staff turnover. I haven't met the new owner, but I understand he has an aggressive plan to expand the Elements concept (not that I'm sure what that is exactly) into other mid-size city markets.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mike AND Greg have indeed sold Elements. Mike is definitely leaving, and Greg will be around as an active consultant in the kitchen for a month or so, and thereafter as the kitchen requests. Im not sure why you seem so sure about needing to expect staff turnover - sounds to me like something someone writes when they want to sound like they have some inside knowledge, but I'm not sure that you do. No one, from cook to busser, has quit. The new owner is adamant about being true to what Elements has been, which is why Greg continues to consult and the longest tenured cook, Neil, has been promoted to chef. In addition, a new cook has been brought in whose resume includes Restaurant Tallent, so dont be so quick to assume this means "staff turnover" and restaurant destruction will soon follow. The new owner has an aggressive plan to promote Elements within Indianapolis, as he believes it underperforms due to lack of market exposure. He feels that the quality of food is so high that the concept (which, by the way, is using the best fresh, local ingredients to create evolving menus which follow the seasons - its not too hard of a concept to grasp) is fundamentally sound enough that it could have appeal in other markets.

braingirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The concept is using fresh local ingredients? That's a concept? That's something every fine dining chef worth anything in the country is already doing right now. BFD.

braingirl said...

I've been innundated with emails for the past two days from people who love the restaurant who are more than a little worried.

Why do I think you'll have staff turnover? Because your staff has been applying to chefs all over town. With Neil coming up and the new guy (who I'm familiar with) -- but Greg leaving -- the kitchen situation is a wash at best. If Elements has a "concept", it's frequently changing, innovative dishes that are well conceived and well-executed. (I agree with the poster above, fresh/seasonal/local is not a "concept" when everyone else is doing it. The food still has to be awesome. Ask Daniel Orr.)

The fact is that losing the chef is a big blow to a chef-driven restaurant. I look forward to seeing how things develop, though, and wish them the best.

Anonymous said...

And they just did a write up on everyone in Dine...

Anonymous said...

What a blow to the already miserably mediocore Indy dining scene.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or does the first comment sound like a defensive new owner of ELEMENTS ?

Anonymous said...

Ditto, it's definitely the defensive new owner who doesn't have the guts to use his/her own name. I'm trying out the new guard at Elements with friends over race weekend. It better be good.

Anonymous said...

Anon, doesn't have the guts to use his/her own name, strong comment from someone not using your name either. I am sure that you know that the same staff that will cook your meal is the same staff that has cooked your meal for the last 3 years right? Of course you do but I am sure that you will find any reason to not enjoy it because your tone sure sounds that way. Why don't you embrace change and congratulate the new staff on their promotions, or maybe the new owner as well. Whatever you do though just try and have fun because it sounds like you need it.

Gastroholic said...

I had a conversation with someone last night with whom I completely respect as far as food, wine and quality service is concerned. The conversation was about his dinner at Elements the previous night. Of course the first thing that he pointed out was that Greg was not there, and it reminded me of when Mike and Greg went to start Elements and sort of turned the reins over to Ryan and myself. He said the dinner was excellent BTW.
I really remember feeling like I was being judged more critically by the customer base to see if Ryan and I would destroy what Mike and Greg had built. Of course, that didn't really happen, but people don't like change very much. In Danny Meyers book "Setting the Table" he talks about how every time he opens a new restaurant there is a certain percentage of people who won't follow him on his journey. Restaurants are deeply personal spaces to people, we get engaged in them, we celebrate our anniversaries and birthdays in them, and we go through some hard, life moments in them as well. If you ask people what their favorite restaurant is, often times if you were to dig a little deeper into their response, the reasons are far more experiential than having the best food, service, etc.
Lets not be too hasty to judge these guys on what they are doing. We all start in this business somewhere, and we all take criticism, but at least allow them the opportunity to define their new direction.