Knuckle Sandwich will reopen this fall in Bargersville

Locals will soon be enjoying “Hub Cap Tenderloins”, “Bee Bopp’in BLTs”, “Giant Hound Dogs” and more again at a staple restaurant returning to Bargersville this fall.

The Knuckle Sandwich will reopen at a new location on State Road 135 and Whiteland Road in Bargersville starting November 1 of this year. The owners of the 50s and 60s-themed restaurant have leased space at the new Duke Commercial South Grove Commons, in the newly constructed building next to Our Table Family restaurant.

Owners Brent and Linda Plunkett are delighted to reopen after two years of closure and a year and a half of searching for a new location, they said.

The original Knuckle Sandwich building, which was in a former Dairy Queen at the intersection of Huggin Hollow Road and State Road 144 near the county line, was forced to close in late August 2020 to make way for the expansion of Interstate 69 to Indianapolis. It was one of 81 commercial properties that were taken by the state through eminent domain to complete the final stretch of I-69 through Johnson, Morgan, and Marion counties.

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State agencies involved in the process weren’t helpful at all, Brent Plunkett said, and what he called a lack of transparency contributed to a convoluted journey for landowners to get their compensation for the land. . When they handed over their keys in September 2020, the state had not yet paid them for their property.

They finally received their compensation after the delays and were able to move on to find a new location. However, they lost a battle to keep their commercial range hoods, freezer and cooler from the old restaurant.

Documents and statements they received from the Indiana Department of Transportation emphasized that the agency was there to support businesses and landlords in the eminent domain process and that the state would help them find a new location. . But the Plunketts said that didn’t happen to them.

“I mean, they said at the start, they were there to help us, help relocate us to help do this, do that. You know, there was none of that,” Brent Plunkett said.

The Plunketts then spent the next year looking for a new location in Bargersville to bring their restaurant back. Last fall, they approached Mike Duke, owner of Duke Homes and Duke Commercial, who said he was constructing a new commercial building on the South Grove Commons site.

They signed a lease in April and are now awaiting interior building permits and preparing to move in.

Much of their previous equipment and decorations they have kept in storage for the past two years, and orders have already been placed for other necessary equipment.

The Knuckle Sandwich is known for paying homage to diners of the 50s and 60s, with several themed decorations, from red vintage chairs to pictures of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe hanging on the walls. They will enhance this theme with several new decorations at this location, said Brent Plunkett.

“I don’t want to reveal yet what we’re going to have. I want people to be a little surprised when they come here and see it,” Brent Plunkett said.

When it comes to food, nearly all of the original menu will be back, with full menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Filet mignon, chili dogs, hamburgers, BLTs, and regular, Sicilian, and gluten-free crust pizzas will be options customers will appreciate.

The Burger Challenge is also back for those who want it. The challenge is to finish every two fully-garnished one-pound burgers and two pounds of fries within 45 minutes. Finishers receive a free meal, a t-shirt, a trophy and they get their picture on the Wall of Fame.

An upcoming change is that the restaurant plans to charge a 4% fee for credit or debit card users. This will help alleviate the $3,000 expense homeowners were paying each month to accept credit cards, Brent Plunkett said. With the cost of supplies and food usually rising due to inflation, they have to find ways to save, and the Plunketts want to try to avoid raising the price of their food for customers.

“We are not trying to get rich. But we try to make a living and keep our prices low for people,” he said.

The Knuckle Sandwich announced their comeback this week on their Facebook page, and the post was met with overwhelming enthusiasm from those set to return. Brent Plunkett said he hopes the restaurant’s return will add another option to Bargersville’s small number of restaurants.

“We’re both a little excited,” he said. “You know, now things are moving and things are starting to take shape because there’s been a lot of people that we’ve heard from (about the restaurant).”