Indaco (“Indigo” in Italian), part of Indigo Road Hospitality, made its debut in August 2013 in Charleston, S.C., serving regional Italian cuisine like wood-fired pizzas and handmade pastas. A decade later, the concept has expanded to Charlotte, N.C. in November 2019 and Greenville, S.C. in June 2023. Now, a fourth location is preparing to open in Atlanta this fall.
Indaco is one part of the Steve Palmer-founded group that’s behind more than 30 restaurants across the southeast, including Oak Steakhouse, O-Ku and Colletta, as well as a handful of hotels.
Mark Bolchoz oversees the culinary side of Indaco. He’s a native Charlestonian and grew up surrounded by the cuisine and culture of the Lowcountry. Bolchoz left to study in Italy and work in New York restaurants before making his way back to Charleston, where he joined Indigo Road, first as executive chef of Indaco, and then as culinary director of Italian concepts.
Bolchoz’s menu at Indaco is broken up into antipasti, pizza, pasta, piatti, and contorni sections, and pulls inspiration from Southern and Italian cultures. Although Italy and the Southeastern United States are far apart geographically and culturally, the two cuisines share one driving force: dishes that highlight seasonal ingredients.
This synergistic union is seen in Indaco dishes like heirloom tomato toast featuring Southern staples, pickled okra and benne seeds, alongside classic Italian flavors like roasted garlic and sherry vinegar. The agnolotti is filled with local corn and chanterelle mushrooms, and the bucatini nero combines South Carolina shrimp with San Marzano tomatoes and Calabrian peppers. A roasted half chicken is sourced from a local farm, then paired with ricotta gnocchi, charred okra, spicy tomato, and Parmesan.
The wine list features dozens of Italian bottles, while the cocktail menu is eclectic, combining Italian aperitivos with local spirits.
“All over the Southeast, food traditions are [based on] cooking with the seasons out of necessity,” Bolchoz said. “This is the same in Italy. There are many produce parallels in both regions, and we work with local farmers and what they have available to drive our food direction within each concept and city.”
Italian cuisine has long been a favorite among American diners, but new types of Italian restaurants have been popping up all over the country in recent years, covering a variety of regions and styles and introducing diners to a seemingly unlimited supply of options. With so many to choose from, it takes a lot of effort to stand out from the pack.
“We stay in touch with Italian traditions, techniques, and styles,” Bolchoz said. “Our commitment to consistency and quality is a huge reason we have success with our diners. Few people in America have experienced the beautiful marriage of fresh pasta and proper saucing techniques, so when they do at one of our restaurants, we become unforgettable.”
Indigo Road Hospitality shows no signs of slowing down, and it will soon expand the footprints of Indaco, as well as select other concepts. Palmer said the group is actively seeking new locations for Indaco in Jacksonville, Savannah, and Tampa. They will open additional O-Ku locations next year in Tampa and Alys Beach, Fla., and are also looking at locations in Sarasota and West Palm Beach.
Whether expanding into new markets or going deeper in existing markets, the group considers restaurant locations based on labor and culinary opportunity strategies.
“Our growth has always been organic based on where the growth of our team is, and based on what concepts will fit in certain markets,” Palmer said.