Patachou Incorporated serves as the umbrella organization for the brand of farm-to-table restaurants Martha Hoover started in 1989 with her first restaurant, Café Patachou. With no formal culinary training, Hoover opened the breakfast cafe in her own Meridian-Kessler neighborhood to provide a place where she could spend time with her children and serve her community the types of food she offered to her own family.

A restaurant with brick exterior.
Café Patachou at the corner of 49th and Pennsylvania streets, 2021 Credit: Kara Chinn

Hoover attended Indiana University, majoring in political science. Although passionate about food and cooking, she decided to attend the Indiana University McKinney School of Law, graduating in 1980. Following law school, she became a deputy prosecutor under Stephen Goldsmith. 

As Hoover found locally sourced ingredients to cook simple, healthy meals for her family, she identified a location at the corner of 49th and Pennsylvania streets where she imagined serving these same types of meals to her neighborhood community. She secured a loan, designed, and built her restaurant, and chose the name Café Patachou, French slang for cream puff, as a nod to Marion County, prosecutor Stephen Goldsmith’s nickname for her. The café served simple breakfast foods from 5:30 am to 3:30 pm and had a play area so Hoover’s children could be close by. In 2002, Café Patachou received recognition as one of Bon Appétit food magazine’s 10 favorite breakfast places.

Shortly after opening Café Patachou, Hoover laid the groundwork for what would become Patachou, Inc. In the mid-1990s, she opened a separate production kitchen in Carmel for food preparation, a farsighted move that accommodated the accelerated growth of the Patachou brand. Hoover has created a successful brand of restaurants, all under the Patachou, Inc. brand.

By the late 2010s, Patachou, Inc. operated a variety of concept restaurants, or brands, in several Indianapolis locations. It also established the Patachou Foundation in 2013, with the aim of combating children’s food insecurity and providing job training for students.

In August 2019, Instyle magazine listed Hoover on its list of the 50 most influential women. The popular fashion magazine spotlights women for their work to lead “the way to a better world.”

Revised March 2021

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