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Chef Driven, Locally Sourced, Union 50

Union 50 is a chef-driven restaurant & bar located in downtown Indianapolis in the Mass Ave neighborhood. Union 50 hosts live music multiple times per week so make sure to check out our music calendar.

Our culinary team has created an innovative menu that changes seasonally and features a variety of locally sourced ingredients.

Chef Dan Nichols

Executive Chef

Chef Dan Nichols is a culinary craftsman with a rich history of creativity and discipline. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, he ventured to Indianapolis and has had an extraordinary journey that spans over 20 years in the culinary industry.

Chef Dan honed his skills through mentorship under Military Certified Master Chef Travis Smith, a three-time Culinary Olympic gold medal recipient. His introduction to the world of food began in 1977 at Little Caesars Pizza, where he learned the importance of fresh ingredients and small-batch preparation, a philosophy he carries with him to this day.

Chef Dan’s culinary skills and diverse influences stem from living in Europe for four and a half years, where he immersed himself in the rich tapestry of cuisines from Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, and England. This experience ignited his passion for fusing European flavors with vibrant Hispanic and Middle Eastern color palettes, combined with the artistry of Asian dishes. His menus reflect these inspirations, creating a unique dining experience.

Over the years, Chef Dan has owned or operated three successful, award-winning restaurants. His accolades include AAA's Three Diamond Award in 2001, Best New Restaurant in 2004, and Best Small Plates Restaurant in Detroit in 2009. His talent and dedication earned him the opportunity to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City after winning a national competition presented by the James Beard Foundation and the National Mushroom Council. Following that, he competed in the World Food Championships International Chef Challenge in Gulf Shores, Alabama. 

Chef Dan has had the privilege of cooking for numerous celebrities, including members of the Detroit Red Wings, Bob Seger, Jane Seymour, Danny Glover, John C. McGinley, Jonathan Banks, and Alton Brown. His culinary journey has taken him through the kitchens of Indiana, Michigan, and Colorado, where he has crafted exceptional dishes and mentored culinary students at Colorado Mountain College.

In his free time, Chef Dan finds joy in cooking, playing guitar and singing, watching live music, and fishing with his wife Kelley and their family in Indianapolis, Indiana. A truly multifaceted individual, Chef Dan Nichols continues to inspire and delight with his culinary artistry and passion for bringing people together through food.