TERRE HAUTE —
It could be just the shot in the arm 12 Points has long needed.
Jimmy Saliju, a professional chef with decades of restaurant experience, is working to restore the former Old National Bank building at Lafayette and Maple Avenues and convert it to a restaurant.
With towering windows that frame the heart of the historic 12 Points neighborhood, the building seems an ideal setting for anyone wishing for a bit of old Terre Haute nostalgia with a high-caliber meal.
Recently vacant, the building dates back about 100 years when it was the 12 Points State Bank. It later became Merchants National Bank and then Old National. It was also Medusa’s hair salon.
In a few weeks, it promises to be another destination for anyone seeking an evening out in a locally owned restaurant. Saliju hopes to open for business in mid-November, he said.
“I really enjoy cooking,” said Saliju standing in the still-unfinished dining room area of what he plans to call The Old Bank Grill. The grill will seat 160 in its dining room, more than 100 in a banquet room and about 30 in the “Tellers’ Bar.”
Most importantly, Saliju is adding a 2,000-square-foot kitchen to the north side of the building with new state-of-the-art equipment, he said. “I am very picky about my kitchen.”
Saliju received much of his culinary experience while living on Long Island in New York not long after immigrating from the former Yugoslavia in 1981 at age 20. He is of ethnic Albanian decent and plans to offer Albanian, Italian and Greek dishes in addition to steak, seafood and other customary favorites.
“My life is restaurant,” Saliju said in his thick Albanian accent. “I really enjoy pleasing people. I have been in the pleasing business for 30 years.”
Saliju learned about cooking in France and also worked in the restaurant business in Chicago. He came to Terre Haute nine years ago and operated the European Grill on Margaret Avenue from 2005 to 2009, he said.
Now, Saliju is giving 12 Points a shot, almost certainly making the biggest investment in one of the neighborhood’s historic buildings in many, many years.
“This is a beautiful building,” Saliju said looking up at the high ceilings and standing next to the bank’s massive vault, which will soon be converted into a wine room.
“I really love this building,” he said.
The investment is highly welcome for the entire north side, said Neil Garrison, a member of the Terre Haute City Council who represents the 12 Points and Collett Park neighborhoods.
“I am often asked by residents in the north end ways to save or energize the 12 points area,” Garrison said. “So I hope the community will support this new development.”
Saliju said he owes a lot to his good friend, Bill Olah, a Terre Haute attorney who shares an east-European heritage (Olah’s family immigrated from Hungary). Olah has been a strong supporter of Saliju’s since meeting him five years ago.
“Jimmy has many admirable qualities” including being multilingual and possessing a strong work ethic, Olah said. “But as a restaurant developer and chef, his best attributes are his desire to please and the obvious joy he exhibits when anyone enjoys a meal he prepares,” he said.
In addition to a wide variety of dishes, the Old Bank Grill is set to offer beer and wine and also some “old bank” nostalgia. Materials associated with the former bank, some dating back 100 years, will be on display at the restaurant, Saliju said.
In addition to high-quality cuts of steak, a variety of salads, Mediterranean and other cuisine, the Old Bank Grill also will offer low-carb, high protein, low-fat dishes, Saliju said.
“What I enjoy most is to please people,” Saliju said. With a son and daughter in the Vigo County school system, he has no plans to leave Terre Haute.
“I like it here,” Saliju said. “This is home.”
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TERRE HAUTE —
It could be just the shot in the arm 12 Points has long needed.
- Local & Bistate
Purdue shooting leaves one person dead
A Purdue University engineering student opened fire inside a basement classroom Tuesday, killing a teaching assistant and prompting officials to put the campus on lockdown, police and the university said.
A real page turner
Victory was sweet for the Franklin Elementary teammates, who won their first ever Battle of the Books competition Thursday at Meadows Elementary.
THS grad Miller among students in adjacent building when shooting occurs
Kris Miller and his roommate were in a computer lab of Purdue’s mechanical engineering building Tuesday when they received a call that a shooting had occurred next door.
Bosma moves gay marriage ban bill to friendlier committee
Republican House of Representatives Speaker Brian Bosma sent a bill that proposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage to a more conservative-leaning legislature committee Tuesday, because it lacked support on the first committee to which it was assigned.
We enter the deep freeze again
If you had to step outside to get your newspaper this morning, you might have noticed it’s painfully cold once again.
Levy redirects school funds
If the new “protected levy” legislation goes into effect later this year, it would mean “a substantial reduction” in revenue for Vigo County School Corp. bus transportation, capital projects and bus replacement funds, according to the district’s chief financial officer.
School debt levy redirects funds across Indiana
School officials and state legislators from around the state are searching for ways to keep the school buses running — and children safe on the streets — pending the loss of millions of dollars for school transportation.
More than 50 school districts in Indiana stand to lose at least 20 percent of their revenues for transportation, new buses and other big-ticket projects under a new law that requires them to first pay off their debts.
VIDEO: Sen. Donnelly updates T-S editorial board
Passage of a long overdue U.S. farm bill could be completed by the end of this month, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said Tuesday.
Vigo coroner tries again for salary increase
After being denied last year, Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos is again seeking to have her county salary increased to match that of several other county office holders.
Rep. Bucshon leads discussion on minority care in Vigo County
The list of problems seems endless: Lack of health insurance, mental illness, cultural barriers and stigmas about routine medical check ups, to name only a few.
Vigo County students, educators recently made a 2-week trip to Terre Haute’s sister city of Tajimi
Six Vigo County high school students and two educators, including superintendent Dan Tanoos, recently returned from a two-week cultural exchange trip to Tajimi, Japan.
Tribune-Star columnist named company’s best
The Tribune-Star’s Mark Bennett has been named CNHI’s Columnist of the Year for 2013 in its large newspaper division.
Clay man arrested on drug charges
An eight-month investigation by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies resulted in the arrest of Wednesday of a Clay County man on meth-related charges, authorities said.
Drug raid leads to arrest of siblings
Siblings were arrested Thursday after police said they discovered an active meth lab in a Terre Haute home, authorities said.
Visions, Voices project to mark decade of work
Wabash Valley Visions & Voices Digital Memory Project will mark a decade of Hoosier historical preservation at its anniversary kickoff event Tuesday.
Vigo County Jail Log: April 17, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on jail records.
Remember Your First Car?
Tell us about it! Your memories could be part of an upcoming story in the Tribune-Star. Click on this story to find out how.
An ambassador of Wabash Valley sports
Veteran Tribune-Star sports reporter Andy Amey will be inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame on Saturday in Indianapolis.
Former Vigo treasurer facing $26,000 bill
Former Vigo County Treasurer David Crockett could be required to personally pay back more than $26,000 to reconcile a bookkeeping discrepancy discovered in 2012 during an audit from the Indiana State Board of Accounts.
MARK BENNETT: Cleaning up Indiana could be as easy as a 10¢ deposit
Scan the roadside on a drive through the Wabash Valley, and you might spot an empty pop bottle or two.
Wabash Valley Foundation hands out $104,925
Looking around the West Terre Haute Little League park last year, Wade Fulford said, he was one of the league’s board members who realized improvements needed to be made.
Graduation rates fall at three big Vigo high schools
The Indiana Department of Education released graduation rate data Tuesday for the 2012-2013 school year.
Bloomfield man killed in Tuesday night crash
A Bloomfield man was killed in a single-vehicle crash Tuesday night in central Greene County.
Central Indiana Girl Scouts council kicks off capital campaign
Local support is growing for a Girl Scouts of Central Indiana initiative to nurture female leaders.
Zoning Appeals Board grants alley variance for ISU downtown housing building
A unanimous vote from the Terre Haute Board of Zoning Appeals on Wednesday cleared the way for foundation work to start on the construction of a new five-story building to house Indiana State University students, a restaurant and retail shops at 500 Wabash Ave.
Courthouse polling closed for weekend
An absentee polling site at the Vigo County Courthouse is scheduled to be closed Friday and Saturday.
Airport Board frustrated over moving of power lines
Terre Haute International Airport officials are working on a power line project that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they seem to have their lines tangled with a utility company.
State Education Department releases graduation rates
The Indiana Department of Education released graduation rate data today for the 2012-2013 school year.
The overall graduation rate for all schools was 88.6 percent, virtually unchanged from the previous year’s rate of 88.7 percent.
College Board provides a glimpse of new SAT
WASHINGTON (AP) — Anxious students — not to mention their parents — can get a heads-up for how the redesigned SAT might look in two years.
Vigo County Jail Log: April 16, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on jail records.
- More Local & Bistate Headlines
- Purdue shooting leaves one person dead