Recess is the ultimate culinary playground. Every day chef Greg Hardesty and his culinary team create a four-course pre-fixe dinner from scratch, using for inspiration the season’s freshest local and regional ingredients.
Greg Hardesty is the chef-‐owner of Recess restaurant in Indianapolis. His enjoyment of food began at his family’s dining table where meals and time together were savored. However, cooking took on an increased importance when he was in college and
Hardesty graduated from Indiana University in 1991 and then began working at the Glass Chimney in Carmel, Ind. There he received a solid foundation in continental cuisine that is still evident in his cooking today. Seeking to expand his cooking knowledge, he moved to Los Angeles in 1995 and began work for Chef Joachim Splichal and his expanding Patina/Pinot restaurant group. Greg moved up to become a sous chef and helped open Splichal’s third Pinot restaurant in Hollywood. During this time he was introduced to the light and simple flavors of Splichal’s cuisine, and the importance of fresh, seasonal ingredients. His next career move was to Drew Nieporent’s Rubicon in San Francisco. As a sous chef there he learned the importance of a well-‐paired wine with expertly executed food.
In 1999, Hardesty returned to Indianapolis and opened H2O Sushi Bar, where he created food using classical sushi techniques from a contemporary California-‐French perspective. He opened his second restaurant Elements in 2003 which featured modern American food that married many of the influences of the Mediterranean with the simplicity and clean lines of Japanese cuisine. Elements was named ”Restaurant of the Year” by Indianapolis Monthly that same year. Hardesty sold H2O Sushi in 2004 to concentrate on Elements and his two young daughters.
Despite the success of Elements, Hardesty was still not experiencing the culinary freedom he desired in the kitchen. He decided to sell the restaurant and concentrated on developing a format that would allow him to focus all his energy and efforts on the food and service – a restaurant where there were no culinary boundaries. Recess, which opened in 2010, offers a format where Hardesty is free to offer his interpretations on any cuisine he chooses. His menu is a playground for him and a flavorful ”break” for his customers. Hardesty and his culinary team create a new four-‐course pre-‐fixe menu daily that is inspired by the season’s freshest local and regional ingredients.
To build on the success of Recess, Hardesty opened Room Four in early summer 2011. Located next to Recess, Room Four offers a new á la carte menu daily. Just like at Recess, the menu is inspired from cuisines around the globe and showcases local and regional ingredients. Room Four is Hardesty’s fourth restaurant, hence the name Room Four.
Hardesty has garnered national attention including mentions in Food Arts, USA Today, The New York Times, Popular Plates, Wine Spectator, PBS: Food and on Martha Stewart Living Radio Sirius XM. In 2012, he was honored as a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s ”Best Chef: Great Lakes” award. Several high-‐profile celebrities have dined at his restaurants including NBC’s ”Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” host Jimmy Fallon and ”How I Met Your Mother” TV star Neil Patrick Harris.
Hardesty is also dedicated to helping the community. He has been the Taste of the NFL Indianapolis chef since 2006, where he works with a former or current Indianapolis Colts player to raise funds and awareness for hunger relief. He has an urban garden behind his restaurants and is known for hosting innovative themed-‐dinners like “Rainier Cherries” and “The Big Leboswki.”
RECESS | 4907 N COLLEGE AVE. | INDIANAPOLIS, IN | TEL. 317.925.PLAY | WWW.RECESSINDY.COM