Carmel events venue gets new name, look 


By Mark Ambrogi

Black Iris owners Vince and Kelly Early. (Submitted photo)

Black Iris owners Vince and Kelly Early. (Submitted photo)

Oak Hill Mansion has been transformed into Black Irish Estate.

The Carmel events venue not only has a new name but a new look. Black Iris Estate, 5801 E. 116th St., was purchased by Thomas Caterers of Distinction earlier this year.

Thomas Caterers is owned by Kelly Early. The business was started by Kelly’s mother, Susann, and her stepfather, Tim Thomas, in 1983 after the couple’s upscale Indianapolis restaurant was destroyed by a fire. So rather than rebuild the restaurant, they started a catering business.

Kelly’s husband Vince Early is the director of sales for Thomas Caterers.

Vince said the renovations for the venue, which started in January, are extensive.

“Everything you can touch is being replaced,” Vince said. “The entire building and its surroundings are getting a facelift.”

The event space will be used to host private events only, Vince said.

“Black Iris Estate will host everything from wedding ceremonies and receptions to corporate and social events,” said Vince, who lives in Indianapolis with his wife. “We incorporated the word Estate because we wanted the name to be synonymous with a grand venue that will have multiple event spaces for rental in the future.”

Thomas Caterers also owns two Indianapolis venues, D’Amore Events, 111 Monument Circle, and CANAL 337, 337 W. 11th St. The venue managers report to Vince. Thomas Catering also has the exclusive catering rights to Scottish Rite Cathedral in Indianapolis and co-exclusive rights to Indianapolis Central Library.

For more, visit or call 843-9870.

Black Iris Estate catering minimums

  • Saturday: $15,000
  • Friday: $8,000
  • Sunday: $5,000
  • Monday-Thursday: $1,000 for evening events.

Catering minimums include menu price, beverage, bar, labor, rentals, service charge and taxes.


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