When Martha Hoover opened Café Patachou in Indianapolis 27 years ago, her mission was about as simple as her minimally prepared dishes: run a restaurant she could take her family to for seasonal, straightforward cuisine. “I felt strongly that if I wanted to eat [those] foods, there would be others who felt the same way,” Hoover says.
Today, Hoover is widely credited with shaping dining in Indianapolis. “I was blown away by how the food scene has exploded,” restaurateur and former Yahoo Food Editor-in-Chief Kerry Diamond told Restaurant Business following a visit. “She gets a lot of credit for pushing that scene forward. She has a really impressive group of restaurants.”
That porfolio, Patachou Inc., includes Café Patchou and four other restaurant concepts. It also encompasses a food-security foundation, where Hoover’s has pushed food literacy and the locavore movement in Indianapolis. With a business plan that puts honest, local food center of plate, Hoover’s operations support more local farms and producers than all other restaurants in the area combined, she says.
While the market has expanded, so has the competition, yet Hoover’s operations have managed to stay relevant. “We have evolved by staying above trends—staying true to our core belief that we are a radically different and radically better company in five distinct areas: food sourcing, customer experience, leadership opportunities, sustainability and commitment to our community,” she says. “We focus on these five areas every day. My goal is to build a restaurant company that is timeless, sustainable and impactful.”