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Here's what's on tap at Gallery Pastry Bar — and what the owners have planned next

Cheryl V. Jackson
Indianapolis Star

Dining options in the Wholesale District are a bit sweeter thanks to the team from Gallery Pastry Shop, the Broad Ripple spot known for macaroons, brunch and bottomless mimosas.

The spinoff, Gallery Pastry Bar, is a lot more spirited. Unlike a lot of places that put the word bar in the name, the downtown dessert lounge offers a place to get all forms of booze.

Beverages at the new 110 S. Pennsylvania St. location go a step above complementing foods, with some cocktails crafted by mixologist Corey Ewing incorporating elements of Gallery desserts. 

His Reclaiming Mai Time uses broken macaron shells to make the orgeat syrup to flavor the pineapple rum. The It’s Berry, B*itch uses the made-in-house mixed berry compote along with vodka, lemon and lime.

Pillow mousse dessert and Reclaiming Mai Time cocktail at Gallery Pastry Bar.

On the bottom floor of the Hyatt Place hotel across from Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Gallery Pastry Bar was in the works for about two years before its July opening. Partners Alison Keefer and pastry chef Ben Hardy envisioned a place filled with workers coming from downtown offices, visitors attending conventions, concert attendees, sports fans and spillover from Georgia Street restaurants around the corner in the mood for desserts or drinks.

But then COVID. 

With offices closed and sporting and entertainment events canceled, the attached parking garage that would have steered foot traffic past its doors, Gallery Pastry Bar, like all other downtown eateries, opened to the same challenge faced by all other eateries in the area — a need for more diners, even with current capacity caps.

“We’d be in playoff season right now and would have been slammed in here,” a hopeful Keefer said. (Eh — the Pacers went out in the first round.)

Seared salmon at Gallery Pastry Bar.

The brunch menu brought over from Broad Ripple is keeping the dessert bar going. The Brulee Trillium Croissant with Tulip Tree’s triple-cream cheese, candied pecans, honey and mixed berry compote has proven popular at the new place, as well as a play on eggs Benedict made with Smoking Goose jowl bacon and topped with caviar. But the dinner menu has some stunners, especially on the seafood side. Hardy is particularly proud of his scallops, and the salmon, pan-seared and tender, is not to be missed.

Crisp fries come with choices of some innovative dipping sauces, including avocado mousse and apricot mustard.

“You can come here any time of day and get something different,’ Keefer said, “It’s unique but approachable. “

Downtown, the kitchen is bigger, allowing the brunch preparation and pastry production to coexist simultaneously, something not possible at Broad Ripple.

There’s plenty of space for events, as well, like a wine dinner happening Sept. 25.

Gallery Pastry Bar, open Tuesday through Sunday, serves coffee and pastries from 7-9 a.m. and then a full brunch until 4 p.m., followed by dinner until its 10 p.m. close (9 p.m. on Sunday).

Lots of changes for Keefer

It’s only the latest in a bunch of projects Keefer and Hardy are juggling.

Gallery Pastry Bar.

Keefer has been especially busy. She got married on Saturday and is preparing to deliver her first child in November.

“It’s been an interesting year,” she said. “But luckily, we were able to continue our business and get downtown open and switch a lot of things to catering and carryout, and now we’re building our business back up.”

The year saw her close on her home March 13, see the COVID-19 shutdown announced March 16 and her staff laid off March 17. Then she learned she was pregnant March 18.

Gallery Pastry Shop shifted to delivery at the beginning of the pandemic, having servers do production or delivery. Cakes were a hot seller, and then they opened for carryout brunch.

A brunch spot in Old Northside

Now irons in the fire include the opening of an Old Northside location, this one breakfast and brunch-focused, next spring or summer.

Simply titled Gallery Brunch, the 3,000-square-foot space on the bottom floor of the Three 19 apartment and townhouse complex at 319 E. 16th St. will be part lounge, with coffee and mimosa stations, and have cases for grab-and-go food and pastries.

There’ll be a bar there, as well.

The Old Northside location was slated to open by this summer. Keefer and Hardy had been working with a developer at 16th Street and College Avenue before learning the property had been sold, she said, so they turned their attention to the Pennsylvania bar project.

Treats in Gallery Pastry Bar's pastry case.

Still, during pop-ups in the area, they'd field questions from residents wanting to know when Gallery was going to commit to the neighborhood.

The brunch spot got back on track about eight months ago when they learned of the availability at 16th and New Jersey streets.

“We always wanted to be there. We love that neighborhood,” Keefer said.

They figured they could make a concept different enough. And the neighborhood was lacking a breakfast place, they said.

“This space is very conducive to that open-kitchen concept we pride ourselves on. We want people to see where their food is coming from and watch the chefs work,” she said.

Gallery Brunch will be open from 7 a.m to 3 p.m. with the potential for longer hours to meet demand, she said.

What's next for the Gallery Pastry

Meanwhile, the Gallery duo has been working on a mail-order macaron business and is considering more north side projects — Carmel and Westfield are in the mix — as well as a Fountain Square location to handle wedding consultations.

Wedding orders that had been postponed are now a go, but they've been drastically downsized.

“We’re just ready for the new normal,” Hardy said.

Contact IndyStar reporter Cheryl V. Jackson at cheryl.jackson@indystar.com or 317-444-6264. Follow her on Twitter: @cherylvjackson.