Fat Dan’s Deli, expected to open the third week of October at 221 E. Kirkwood Ave., will bring its Chicago-style food, laid-back atmosphere and love of sports to Bloomington.
“It’s a great place to come and sit down, enjoy some good food and enjoy the games,” said Ian Segerson, who will be general manager of the Bloomington location.
The Bloomington restaurant will be the fourth location under the Fat Dan’s brand, and the first not in the Indianapolis area.
Mara Segerson, Ian’s sister and director of operations for Fat Dan’s Deli, said they decided Bloomington was a good fit for the restaurant as it expands out of Indianapolis.
“I think it’s going to be a perfect place for students to come,” she said.
Ian Segerson said the Bloomington location will most likely be the largest restaurant under the Fat Dan’s name.
The kitchen is four times larger than any of the kitchens at the other locations.
Mara Segerson said she likes that many students from Indianapolis already know the restaurant.
Junior Maggie McNulty is from Indianapolis and said she is excited about Fat Dan’s opening in Bloomington.
“It’s one of my favorite restaurants at home in Indy,” McNulty said. “It is such a good environment and a great place to go for some really good food and good vibes.”
The aesthetic of the restaurant is centered around owner Dan Jarman’s idea of the perfect basement.
“Where would I want to go with all my friends and hang out?” Mara Segerson said. “This is what it’s supposed to look like.”
Despite being an Indiana-based chain, Chicago sports are a major part of the restaurant’s brand. Cubs and Bears decorations fill the walls of all the locations.
Ian and Mara Segerson both said IU sports will be added to the Bloomington location.
The original concept of Fat Dan’s was never a fully functioning restaurant with servers and tables.
“It was supposed to be a traditional Chicago-style deli,” Mara said. “You walk in, there’s a counter, you order and you leave.”
However, when the restaurant moved from its original location on Broad Ripple Avenue to its current spot on College Avenue in Indianapolis, the siblings decided they needed to change their design.
“People just started coming in constantly,” Mara said.
The number of customers warranted a sit-down restaurant, so the restaurant changed its focus to establishing a family-friendly feel.
They hope to bring this same atmosphere to the Bloomington location, which has a whole room that will be dedicated to family-style seating.
The restaurant serves beer and wine but no hard alcohol. It will be located underneath the Kirkwood Towers apartments but operates separately from them.
Mara Segerson said she hopes the restaurant will be around for a long time and become a Bloomington staple.
“We’re Hoosiers born and raised,” Mara Segerson said. “We’re Indiana basketball, Indiana football, Indiana soccer, Indiana rugby. Pretty much anything goes.”