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restaurant openings / Hamilton County / Regional News / Restaurants

Casual-dining chain to test new concepts in Fishers, Noblesville

March 7, 2014
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A high-profile-yet-long-vacant former Bennigan’s restaurant along Interstate 69 in Fishers is slated to be torn down this spring to make way for Bubba’s 33—a new pizza/burgers/beer concept from casual dining chain Texas Roadhouse Inc.

If that’s not enough, the Louisville-based company also is planning a fast-food restaurant called Jaggers for the Prairie Lakes retail center at 146th Street and State Road 37 in Noblesville.

A corporate spokesman didn’t respond to an inquiry from IBJ, but public records provided a peek at the plans.

As proposed, Bubba’s 33 would occupy a new 8,700-square-foot building, slightly larger than the existing restaurant. Vacant for at least five years, the building at 9770 North by Northeast Blvd. is attached to an AmericInn limited-service hotel. When it’s rebuilt, the restaurant will be separate.
 
No outdoor seating is planned, but the prototype Bubba’s in Fayetteville, N.C., features entire walls made of overhead garage doors that are opened when weather allows. (Odds are that’s a little more often there than it will be here.)

The North Carolina location, which opened last summer, specializes in stone-baked pizzas, fresh-ground burgers and whistle-whetting beer served at an icy 33 degrees.

The restaurant’s name is a nod to its everyman appeal. “There’s a little bit of Bubba in all of us,” according to the menu. (Fun fact: Its namesake burger is made with 33 percent bacon.)
 
Just seven miles north of the future Bubba’s 33—honk at the old-school Texas Roadhouse in between—is the future Jaggers, described in a sign variance request as the first of its kind.

Texas Roadhouse “has specifically and strategically selected Noblesville for their flagship location for this concept,” wrote Emily Bernahl of Illinois-based design firm GreenbergFarrow.

Renderings of the proposed 3,400-square-foot building show a drive-through and hint at its menu staples: chicken, burgers and salads. (No word on the bacon content.)

Jaggers is planned for 1.8 acres of vacant land at 14570 Mundy Drive, one of three remaining out lots in the Marsh-anchored development.

Publicly traded Texas Roadhouse has more than 400 family-friendly steakhouses in 49 states. But this isn’t the first time the Louisville-based company has looked across the Ohio River to test a concept. Founder Kent Taylor opened the original Texas Roadhouse 21 years ago in Clarksville, Ind.

Company leaders think the steakhouse chain could grow to as many as 800 locations over time—25 to 30 openings are planned for 2014—but President Scott Colosi told analysts last month that trying new ideas is important for the staff and the business alike.

"We recognize there's always a risk when you go to multiple concepts," he said without providing any specifics of the company's plans. But "we think that risk is well worth looking at."

He said any new concepts would have to fit the Texas Roadhouse mold, with "scratch-based food, a high level of service and a high level of energy and fun."

"Those are the types of things we would think about if we were going to do something else," he said.

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