by Courtney Walker-Pope
Three exciting new restaurant concepts launched earlier this year at Fishers Test Kitchen, a culinary accelerator that is located adjacent to the new Sun King Fishers brewing facility in The Yard at Fishers District. The accelerator hosts three culinary entrepreneurs who are in the midst of launching their restaurant concepts while learning and gaining real-life restaurant business experience. The concepts include Lil Dumplings global street food, Korave Korean barbecue and Natural State Provisions southern-inspired fare. The Signature Table, a culinary performance space featuring classes, chef dinners and special events, is also a part of Fishers Test Kitchen.
The Test Kitchen functions as a small food hall designed to allow diners to sample the restaurants’ evolving menus and then dine in Sun King’s family friendly taproom. But with dining room closures prompted by the current global pandemic, the Sun King taproom was unable to host guests. One Test Kitchen chef powered through the challenging circumstances with delivery options and a curbside pickup menu.
Carlos Salazar, chef/owner of Lil Dumplings, has continued to offer his take on creative street food. Salazar is a graduate of The Chefs Academy, recipient of numerous local accolades and has been a contender for Food & Wine magazine’s People’s Best New Chef award.
“My biggest goal was to change Indy in some way with my food,” said Salazar, explaining why he wanted to be a part of Fishers Test Kitchen.
Of course, his goals, daily menu and presentation drastically changed in mid-March with mandated dining room closures. But Lil Dumplings’ current to-go menu attests to Chef Carlos’ innovation and creativity as he and his staff adjust to the challenges of a carry-out only business. With a menu that celebrates street food from around the world, Chef Carlos has worked to stay in tune with his customers while unveiling new entrees – including what has become a popular weekly ramen special.
“The learning process is going through it day by day, listening to customers, listening to what they’d like, what they didn’t like or what they expect from us,” he said.
To support Fishers Test Kitchen and learn more about this new restaurant accelerator program, visit the website at FishersTestKitchen.com.