New day dawning for Noblesville's Uptown Cafe

September 13, 2013
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The landmark Uptown Café in downtown Noblesville is expected to reopen next month with new operators behind the counter.

Scott and Jennifer Horsfield, owners of Sunrise Café in Fishers, have signed a five-year deal for the space in a 130-year-old building at the corner of Conner and 8th streets on the courthouse square. They’re calling the Noblesville location Sunrise Café @ Uptown.

The breakfast-and-lunch spot closed Aug. 31, at the end of previous operator Kristie Whitesell’s lease. Whitesell told customers on Facebook that she is “moving on to get married and have a family and start the next chapter of my life.”

Whitesell took over the café in 2008, soon after Noblesville businessman Jay Merrell bought the building in hopes of preserving it—and its longstanding restaurant, which had been closed for about nine months at the time.

Uptown Cafe, NoblesvilleThe Uptown has been on Noblesville's courthouse square since the mid-1930s. (IBJ Photo/Andrea Muirragui Davis)

“You have to be really, really old to remember when that was anything other than the Uptown Café,” he said. “With all the other development occurring away from downtown, it’s nice to have a good, solid business on the square.”

The building, erected in 1883, started out as a shoe store and saw other uses before the Uptown opened its doors in the mid-1930s, Merrell said.

The Horsfields, who live in Noblesville, have high hopes for continuing its long run.

Scott Horsfield, 50, grew up working in his father’s restaurants, including Noble Roman’s and Arby’s. He started Sunrise Café near Keystone at the Crossing after graduating from college 28 years ago, and moved to Fishers in 2003 after a lease dispute. (His brother owns Sunrise Café Carmel.)

Horsfield said the 38-seat Uptown will keep its small-town feel despite some equipment upgrades. The most noticeable difference: It will be open on Mondays.

"This will always be the Uptown,” he said.


That's welcome news in the community.

“Any of us who grew up in the area grew up with the Uptown,” Chamber of Commerce chief Sharon McMahon said, adding that she has photos of her family eating there over the years. “We are very pleased that the restaurant is going to continue. It’s well-recognized as an anchor in downtown Noblesville.”

  • They didn't keep enough of the original
    I decide to go try the new uptown Cafe on a weekend and there's nothing special about it. The old version that they bought had a twist on classic items and everything tasted fresh.. The new ownership has not kept with standard. Everything was loaded with butter and grease. one of my previous favorites for the Uptown with the biscuits and gravy. The new owners has seriously missed the mark. Hash browns were burnt. Just not the same. Not sure they'll last unless they make some changes.

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  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

  3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry.

  4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

  5. a vendor to both of these builders I guess I have the right to comment. Davis closed his doors with integrity.He paid me every penny he owed me. Estridge,STILL owes me thousands and thousands of dollars. The last few years of my life have been spent working 2 jobs, paying off the suppliers I used to work on Estridge jobs and just struggling to survive. Shame on you Paul...and shame on you IBJ! Maybe you should have contacted the hundreds of vendors that Paul stiffed. I'm sure your "rises from the ashes" spin on reporting would have contained true stories of real people who have struggled to find work and pay of their debts (something that Paul didn't even attempt to do).