Roundup: Westfield cafe closes; plus new pho, fro-yo, BBQ and baked goods

October 4, 2013
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Marlow’s Café closed in September after more than three decades on State Road 32 in Westfield, and the breakfast-and-lunch spot is set to be replaced by an eatery specializing in Vietnamese soup.

Super Bowl Pho could open this month, said building owner Bob Marlow, who is renting the space to another restaurant operator.

Marlow and his wife, Annette, ran the café in downtown Westfield for 36 years, working more than their fair share of weekends and holidays. For the past two years, they were its only employees.

The Noblesville couple hung up their aprons when it stopped being fun.

“My wife and I didn’t enjoy it any longer,” said Marlow, 63. “The restaurant business will drive you nuts.”

Among their challenges: selling enough biscuits and gravy to pay for maintenance of the aging building and property taxes, which Marlow said amount to about $6,000 a year. The state’s 3-percent cap on business property taxes is onerous for small businesses, he said.

“I’m drowning in taxes,” he said.

The Marlows are keeping the Main Street building, which also houses a Carpet Express store. About 1,200 square feet of second-floor office space is available for lease.

In other retail news from the northern ’burbs:

— Tenants are emerging for The Bridges, mixed-use project taking shape at 116th Street and Spring Mill Road in Carmel. The latest additions to the 9,600-square-foot retail center that developer Gershman Brown Crowley Inc. is building next to a 13,200-square-foot CVS pharmacy: outlets for Orange Leaf frozen yogurt and Morellis Cleaners.

— The long-awaited Fishers Marketplace development at State Road 37 and 131st Street also is making progress. In addition to the Walmart Neighborhood Market and Lake City Bank branch under construction, national tenants include Zaxby’s, Bagger Dave’s Legendary Burger Tavern, City Barbeque, Noodles & Co. and Which Wich, according to developer Thompson Thrift’s website. New to the lineup: Mooresville-based Squealers BBQ Grill, which plans to build a 5,300-square-foot restaurant.

— A Carmel building that once housed Ritter’s Frozen Custard and a now-shuttered crepery is set to become Faith’s Cake Ball Factory. Owners Faith and Jeff Bublick want to repaint the blue steel roof and signage at 930 N. Rangeline Road with a more frosting-like fuchsia. Their goal is to distinguish the new business from the previous failed enterprises and “create an exciting new appearance reflective of a shop that sells … chocolate-coated confectionery items,” they wrote in an application for the change.

— Back in Westfield, Union Baking Co. has opened in a historic bank building at the corner of Union and Main Streets—just down the block from Marlow’s Café. Owner Kelly Evans also operates Le Dolce Vita Patisserie in Zionsville. The European-style bakeries offer a range of mouth-watering sweet treats, plus the requisite array of coffee drinks.

  • Yogurt and stuff
    First, do we really need another yogurt place in Carmel? There are more than enough of these places in the north 'burbs/north side of Indy. Second, it is good to see someone trying to revive the former custard place between Rangeline and the Monon. I am surprised that this location has not been filled or profitable given its high density/high traffic location.
    • More of the same
      Sounds like the Bridges is filling up with more outlets of the same stores in every other strip mall. How about something unique?
    • Exactly
      Ben and Sam, exactly. None of this development was needed. That was one of the main objections in the first place. Duplication of services already offered, and forced upon us in a traditionally residential area. I hope these folks got sweetheart leases, especially during the early years. The 31 construction is going to be tough to overcome. Expect Walgreens to apply for zoning for the north west corner of Spring Mill and 116th, as if we need another drug store there. Would have made sense if these were on the east side of Meridian. The Jimmy Johns going in will probably do well there, with the offices and hospital. I will never shop at any store in that development myself, just because I don't believe they have any business there. The developers and owners insist they are also going to have a grocery store there also. No thank you. And, wait for the gas stations and Bars.
    • CVS everywhere
      Very disheartening to see a prime location such as the Bridges as home to yet another CVS/Jimmy Johns/yogurt shop. How many empty yogurt shops will there be in 5 years?
    • Carmel
      We need a gas station on Rangeline. Take one of those empty spots and make a convenience store. I think it would do really well along there.
      • Rangeline Gas
        There already are gas stations on Rangeline. There are 5 of them from 116th to 131st.

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      Sponsored by
      1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

      2. Merchants Square is back. The small strip center to the south of 116th is 100% leased, McAlister’s is doing well in the outlot building. The former O’Charleys is leased but is going through permitting with the State and the town of Carmel. Mac Grill is closing all of their Indy locations (not just Merchants) and this will allow for a new restaurant concept to backfill both of their locations. As for the north side of 116th a new dinner movie theater and brewery is under construction to fill most of the vacancy left by Hobby Lobby and Old Navy.

      3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

      4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

      5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.