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A History of CANAL 337

The name of they building was officially changed to CANAL 337 in May of 2014 when new owners Kelly and Vince Early purchased the building earlier that same year. The building, still bearing the name Buggs Temple, formerly known as the Simpson African Methodist Episcopal Church, had a rich history with early African American influences in the late 1800s and jazz and gospel influences in the early 1900s. The church had been vacant while the City of Indianapolis re-created the Canal Walk to generate pedestrian traffic and cultural substance to a historically functional element of the old City.

Buggs Temple was completely renovated; it was essentially torn down to the shell and methodically built back up with repaired wood support framing (where needed), new steel framed interior floor systems, an elevator, and circulation and egress stairs to meet current code. The masonry façade was meticulously restored and a curved, multi-level outdoor patio with fabric canopies were added to the building to provide sanctuary from the elements for future diners. The wrap-around ground floor plaza also provided an accessible transition between the main floor level and the canal level. A hidden gem is the second-floor exterior balcony with outstanding views of the Indianapolis skyline and canal basin. Creations Cafe opened in the Buggs Temple building in 2006 and operated there until November 2013.

Kelly and Vince Early were familiar with the restaurant located in Buggs Temple for many years. When they learned of its availability in late 2013, they determined it would be a fantastic location for an event venue. Unique spaces, fantastic views and ample nearby parking tipped the scale and the plans were laid to open CANAL 337 in May of 2014.

The Grand Opening of CANAL 337 took place on May 2nd, 20214, 8 years ago to the day on the date of this posting. The Grand Opening Event was met with critical and popular acclaim.

The guests who attended talked about it for years afterwards and the International Caterers Association awarded it its highest honor, the CATIE Award for Best Signature Event. Other nominees in the category included events from South Africa and Las Vegas. It was a proud moment for our company, our employees and our owners. But the real winners are the countless clients and attendees who have had their Wedding Receptions, Cooperate Events, Fund Raisers, etc. in the building. CANAL 337 is a jewel tucked away at the end of the Canal on W. 11th St. If you have not seen it, schedule a tour today.

Stunning view of CANAL 337, a Thomas Caterers of Distinction Venue at night from the historic Canal in downtown Indianapolis
CANAL 337 from the Indianapolis Canal - Photo by Jessica Strickland

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