In celebration of Women's History Month, Inside Indy is highlighting women-owned businesses in Indianapolis. Each day leading up to March 8, International Women's Day, Inside Indy will feature the story of a different local business. Check out all of the stories at theINDYchannel.com/insideindy.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Missing Brick found what pizza has been missing — an urban spin and local favorites.
The new pizza joint, located on the city’s northeast side, is owned by Que Wimberly.
"Our concept is a little different than the traditional pizza joints. You can order a traditional pepperoni pizza if that's what you want to do. However, we encourage you to try one of our recipes," Wimberly said.
The 21-and-over establishment sets itself apart by collaborating with a couple of the most well-regarded restaurants in Indianapolis — Chef Oya’s The TRAP, a seafood eatery on Keystone Avenue, and Hank’s Smoked Briskets, a Texas-style barbecue joint on the city’s west side.
From those collaborations come two of the most-recommended pizzas: ‘The Trap Pizza,’ which features Chef Oya’s ‘OG Trap Buttah’ and seafood boil, and ‘The Woodstock Pizza’ featuring Hank’s BBQ rib tips.
"So what we do is we collaborate with other successful brick and mortars, and that's the missing brick,” Wimberly says.
"Sometimes it still amazes me how well all of the recipes really flow together," Wimberly said. "Spaghetti pizza, buffalo chicken dip pizza — everything is like what you grew up on."
Keeping it in the family
Wimberly, both of her sons, and a couple of their friends keep the business running four nights a week. The Missing Brick is community and family-oriented, and Wimberly bought the space off Binford Boulevard for that reason.
"The Missing Brick was something I wanted to do to basically teach my kids economics, entrepreneurship, and for us to build a business that will last through generations," Wimberly said.
According to Wimberly, her sons are opposites — the eldest is an extrovert, and the youngest an introvert — and she wanted to find a way they both could thrive in their comforts.
"You couldn't put my oldest son in the kitchen — he wants to be out here (dining area),” Wimberly said. “He's more 'What's going on out here? I want to be out here!' That pizza's gonna burn (if he were in the kitchen)!"
"But my youngest son is an introvert; he doesn't care what's going on out here. And he's the kind of person to where if you give him one job, he'll do that job perfectly. So all those pizzas that roll out, that's him," she continued.
Wimberly says it's about knowing your employees and taking the time to mentor them, especially if they're family.
"I teach them things so that they can build upon their own natural skills," Wimberly said. "This is not a 'get rich' scheme; this is to teach my children something and to stand on something — to learn how to commit and stand on something, and not give up when times are hard."
Wimberly bought the spot, gutted it, and then gifted it to her sons as a career opportunity.
"This is all like a really big dream for us, and I'm hoping that the boys carry it on," she said. "It's theirs."
The Missing Brick will celebrate one year in business come May. It was voted “Best of Indy” by Indianapolis Monthly in 2019.
‘You have to know your people’
Wimberly is a woman about opportunity, business, and most importantly, her people. As both a spa ('Que Alexander Brows') and pizza joint owner, her entrepreneurship is about bringing people together and knowing what she and her team are good at.
"You have to know your people," Wimberly said. "I just love food. I travel a lot. I'm always going to restaurants, and I love good service and good food."
"When I wanted to launch this (The Missing Brick) I was in Atlanta, and they had this atmosphere that was live ... there was music; it was fun ... I was like, this is what we're [Indianapolis] is missing," Wimberly said.
Wimberly originally wanted to open the restaurant in Broad Ripple to capitalize on the area’s foot traffic, “But you gotta go where you’re loved,” she said. “This is my area. You have to know your people, and these are my people.”
Wimberly hadn't worked in the food industry before opening The Missing Brick, but she loves pizza, and she knew her ideas were worth pursuing.
"I studied this for a whole year before I made a move," Wimberly said. "People don't understand there is literally a convention for everything you want to learn and do.”
Although Wimberly owns two businesses in the northeast area of Indianapolis, she said she still encounters people who look her over as a restaurant owner.
"I get people that ask for the owner all of the time, and I come up, and they're like 'no, the owner.' And I'm like 'Hi. Speaking,’” Wimberly said.
"Just to be taken seriously in this industry... I'm not a chef, but I've talked with people and went to conferences, so for people to look at me and to say, 'Okay, she's serious about what she's doing and what she's delivering' and not 'Oh, well she's not a chef,' is important to me," Wimberly said.
Although she was born in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis is home for Wimberly. As an avid traveler, she always hopes to bring something new back to central Indiana.
"We can continue to build our economics here in Indianapolis — and that is big for me. Knowing that I have children here that will eventually have children here, and we need to create this and build upon that," she said.
"My goal with being a female business owner is to rebuild our community brick by brick, through collaboration, because so many feel like we can't eat together and pizza is a communal food. Eat together; share this," Wimberly said. "I want to show people you can still branch out and collaborate — Chef Oya is still selling out every day; I do not interfere with her money. Hank is still selling out, you know ... At the same time, we are cross-advertising, and all three of us are building these businesses and continuing to feed our community good food."
The next five years will be busy for Wimberly as she works to get The Missing Brick Food Truck operating, block parties going, start catering and bring her family-oriented team to several pizza conventions — all before retirement.
"I would like to retire in the next five years, and they (her sons) can own and operate the business," Wimberly said. "My goal is to keep everything small, one brick and mortar, and one truck."
The Missing Brick
6404 Rucker Road
Thursday & Sunday: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 5 p.m. - 12 a.m.