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The Depot brings food, entertainment to Greenfield in grain-elevator-turned-restaurant

Posted at 1:11 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 20:02:58-05

GREENFIELD — In the spring of 2020, the City of Greenfield planned to tear down a historic grain elevator off of West Mill Street. The elevator was built in 1906, but had sat vacant for the greater part of the last 20 years.

Two natives of the Hancock County town saw it as a vital piece of the community and decided to purchase the property together.

"They put their visions together to come up with this idea of opening this mega restaurant and entertainment complex here in Greenfield," Michael Vachon, the general manager of The Depot, told WRTV about Thomas Moore and Ronnie Riggs, the owners of the recently opened restaurant and bar.

A look at the main floor of The Depot, a restaurant and bar in Greenfield, on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022.

"Where our bar stands now used to be the entrance for semi-trucks that would drive through the building. And they would dump the grain into our basement," Vachon explained of the grain elevator's historical operations.

Local farmers would drop off their grain at the elevator. "Down in the basement, it would get filtered and cleaned and shot back up into giant silos that were outside at one time," he said.

If anyone was up to the task of restoring the elevator and transforming it into a multi-level restaurant and bar, it was Moore and Riggs. According to Vachon, one is an electrician and the other a contractor; they've worked on commercial properties across central Indiana.

Renovations to the 116-foot grain elevator took 18 months. Aside from needing to get the century-old building up to code, the pandemic, of course, presented its own set of problems.

The owners, Vachon said, struggled with "not being able to get supplies" and "having workers was a complete struggle."

A look down at the bar and patio door of The Depot in Greenfield, located at 240 W. Mill St. on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022.
An island breeze (left) and old fashioned (right) from The Depot.

Vachon knows the food and beverage industry inside and out. The Ontario, Canada native says he used to own a couple of businesses in Arizona and was a district manager for a chain restaurant. He has been helping operations at The Depot from the beginning.

"What they've done is taken all their ideas that they've seen and tried to tweak them and make them better and make one super restaurant," Vachon explained.

The Depot first opened with a limited menu in September to accommodate its staffing needs. Now, it's fully open with a complete bar and food menu offering traditional American meals.

The kitchen has steaks, seafood, pasta, and flatbreads. And, of course, the Hoosier staple, a tenderloin, which is handmade at The Depot.

"My favorite appetizer is our tater keg," Vachon shared. "They are 1-inch tater tots stuffed with bacon, cheddar, and chives."

Depot Street Park

The Depot Street Park, connected to the Pennsy Trail, has an amphitheater where live performances are scheduled to take place beginning summer 2022.

The Depot Street Park was built in conjunction with the city. As patrons step onto The Depot's patio, they have a clear and close view of the amphitheater.

"This park basically has a full sound stage that will hold up to 2,000 people to bring touring acts, local acts, festivals, and so on to the area. And we're going to be working really closely with the City of Greenfield," Vachon said.

Right off of the Pennsy Trail, the park sits on 1.3 acres. It draws on the railroad that once ran through the area with railroad-themed swings and rolling picnic tables.

The Depot Street Park is working to finalize the line-up of concerts and events it will be bringing to the town. Vachon says it's "a pretty strong line-up" and shares that for July 4, one of the winners of NBC's "The Voice" will be performing at the theater.

Although the performers are yet to be announced, the city has posted the dates for the concerts and events this summer. They are as follows:

"Live @ the Rails Summer Concert Series"

  • Saturday, June 18
  • Saturday, July 16
  • Saturday, August 20
  • Saturday, September 17

"Entertainment at Depot Street Park"

  • Friday, June 3
  • Friday, June 24
  • Friday, July 8
  • Friday, July 29
  • Friday, August 5
  • Friday, August 26

WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at shakkira.harris@wrtv.com. You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.