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October 13, 2013

On the trail: Foxes Den owner sets sights on Kokomo

Foxes Den owner sets sights on Kokomo riverfront spot

KOKOMO — Walton restaurateur Mike Lucas isn’t convinced the trail users running and biking past the soon-to-be-opened Fox’s Trail in Kokomo are the same crowd he’s targeting.

But the chance to be located next to the Wildcat Creek, in the middle of the trailhead area the city of Kokomo spent $1.3 million creating, was too good to pass up.

“In all honesty, [Greg] Goodnight’s done a hell of a job,” Lucas said of the Kokomo mayor, who has made downtown renewal and the city’s trail system his signature accomplishments.

Across the street from the Fox’s Trail location, on South Main Street just south of the creek, is the old Northern Indiana Service Co. building, slated as a future convention center.

It’s a good spot for a business, made more attractive by the availability of a riverfront liquor license, and by Lucas’ reputation from his Foxes Den restaurant/bar in Walton, and his now closed Sly Fox bar in Kokomo.

“This is a good addition to our city, but more importantly, this project really showcases a lot of good development practices,” Goodnight said. “It preserves an historic building, and it helps clean up an eyesore. It’s a good redevelopment use.”

Fortune Management has been doing the renovation work of the old icehouse building the new restaurant will occupy, and the obvious focal point, as soon as someone walks in, will the massive – and we mean massive – granite boulder wall in the center of the building.

The wall, which is composed of boulders several feet in circumference, all mortared together, is the brainchild of Fortune president Scott Pitcher.

The old wooden doors used as paneling, the granite countertop remnants used as flooring, it’s all Pitcher’s signature. He’s recreated the feel of wooden beams by putting strips of bark, cast off from a Knightstown sawmill, on the walls. There are cutouts in two mirrors where mounted deer heads will go.

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