Founder & President, Patachou, Inc.
“Before opening my first restaurant in 1989, I was a sex-crimes prosecutor and public-service lawyer. We were an all-female department given authority to redefine the way the justice system classified and protected women and children. Having never been in a police station, an interrogation or courtroom before hardly stood in my way of acting like I knew what I was doing — which was perfect practice for entrepreneurship. I had never worked in a restaurant. I was not a chef. I had no business training — and I was pregnant with my third child. Talk about uncertainty. What should have been a clear recipe for disaster, 30 years and 13 restaurants later, is a formula that worked. Leaning into uncertainty allowed me to create an organization that has defied existing norms, standards and statistics.”
As a former sex crimes prosecutor, Patachou Inc. owner Martha Hoover had excellent, if unorthodox, training for the restaurant business. Without even one day spent working in the restaurant industry, she created a successful collection of establishments—Cafés Patachou, Petite Chou Bistro, Napolese Pizzeria, Public Greens and Bar One Fourteen. In 1989, Hoover used premium ingredients, prepared from scratch, and partnered with local vendors and farmers — unheard of at that time, when the phrase “farm to table” had not yet been coined and overused. Today, Patachou Inc. supports more Indiana family farms than all the other restaurants in Indianapolis combined.
In 2013, Hoover created The Patachou Foundation to feed healthy meals to food insecure children in Indianapolis. The Foundation started small, adhered to smart growth strategies, and made an immediate impact; in keeping with Patachou’s 2020 vision, is a also a radically different and radically better organization. To date, more than 100,000 healthy, nutritious meals have been served by The Patachou Foundation to children in our community who live with pervasive food
In 2019, Hoover was nominated for Restaurateur of the Year by the James Beard Foundation for the fifth time; Food and Wine named her “One of The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink”; Eater named her “Empire Builder of the Year,” and InStyle named her to their “Badass 50” list. Vogue Magazine profiled her and the company for their sustainability practices and she won a Centric Excellence in Innovation Award and the My Domaine Womaneer Award. Additionally, Café Patachou was named one of Restaurant Hospitality’s Top 25 Coolest Concepts, and Patachou Inc. was named among “19 great restaurants in the US to work for” by Food and Wine.