Roundup: Tex-Mex and ice cream in Zionsville, plus pastry shops come and go

February 6, 2014
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The owner of the popular Noah Grant’s Grill House & Oyster Bar in Zionsville is targeting an April opening for a second restaurant flanking the town’s brick Main Street.

Shari Jenkins’ latest project: Salty Cowboy, a family-friendly Tex-Mex joint planned for a former bakery at 55 E. Oak St. (just a block from Noah Grant’s perch at 65 S. 1st St.)

The menu, finalized a month ago, features an array of smoked meats—think brisket, beef ribs and whole chickens—along with what Jenkins called a fresh take on Mexican food. She deliberately avoided borrowing any ideas from Noah Grant’s.

“It’s a new adventure for me as well,” said Jenkins, 40, her entrepreneurial enthusiasm overshadowing apprehension about the hard work that lies ahead. “It’s exciting to try something totally different.”

She has hired a chef, manager and bartender but will wait to fill out the rest of the staff of 25 to 30 full- and part-timers until closer to opening day.

Interior demolition is under way, and renovations will begin as soon as the permit comes through. Salty Cowboy is expected to seat a total of 90.

Jenkins is planning a family dining room in the front of the 2,200-square-foot building, where Le Dolce Vita Patisserie was located before moving to Main Street last year (more on that below), and an adults-only bar in the back, replacing existing office space.

The two spaces need to be connected, she said, since the rear area is only accessible through the kitchen.

Jenkins is borrowing $25,000 through Zionsville’s microloan program to help with the estimated $150,000 in startup expenses.

In other retail news from the northern ’burbs:

— Le Dolce Vita closed its Main Street bakery and coffee shop in January, about six months after moving into the former Eagle Creek Coffee Co. space at 10 S. Main. Owner Kelly Evans told the Zionsville Times-Sentinel the pastry shop grew too quickly to stay true to her goal of producing small batches of high-quality treats. She plans to continue operating Union Baking Co. in Westfield and is looking for a smaller location in Zionsville.

— A little further down Main Street, building owners John and Elizabeth Demaree are working to transform the former Nana’s Village House Flowers & Gifts into an ice cream shop dubbed The Scoop. The Zionsville Plan Commission last month OK’d planned renovations to the historic home at 305 S. Main. “It is our hope that this building will be a living, giving legacy for our town and all who patronize” it, Elizabeth Demaree said in an email. In addition to serving ice cream and gelato, she hopes to offer up space in the building as a community welcome center.
— Gigi’s Cupcakes is growing its central Indiana presence, announcing plans for a third location on its Facebook page this week. After scouting sites for more than a year, local operators have lined up space in Westfield’s Cool Creek Commons. The shopping area, located along 146th Street east of Meridian Street, is anchored by Stein Mart and Fresh Market stores. Expected to open in early spring, the Westfield location will include a party room. Gigi’s has existing storefronts in Fishers and near Keystone at the Crossing in Indianapolis—plus a pair of cupcake trucks. A south-side shop is planned for later this year or early next year.

— Carmel’s Holy Cow! Cupcakes, meanwhile, closed its doors Jan. 31 after six years in business. The shop, which started in retail space attached to a Range Line Road gas station, moved to Carmel City Center in 2011. Gigi’s and fellow survivor The Flying Cupcake (which also has a store in Carmel) are honoring Holy Cow! gift cards through March 31.

— Kolache Factory is set to introduce its signature (if difficult-to-pronounce) European-inspired pastries to Carmel, with a location in the works for 890 E. 116 St., just west of Guilford Avenue. The bite-sized treats—available with savory and sweet fillings—have proven popular with customers at the only other Indiana shop, at 9650 Allisonville Road in Fishers. Houston-based Kolache Factory has 21 company-owned stores and 21 franchises locations, mostly in Texas.

— Stanford’s in Clay Terrace is closed until spring for remodeling and “re-concepting,” according to an email sent to customers late last month. Corporate-owned Stanford’s replaced higher-end restaurant sibling Kincaid’s in April, billing itself as “your new neighborhood restaurant and bar.”

  • More for the list
    Mary and Martha's in the Carmel Arts and Design District is supposedly moving to Zionsville. At City Center in Carmel, Jack and Jill and the sports memorabilia store are both rumored to be closing. All second hand information to me, but from fairly credible sources.
  • Why Always North
    Why can't someone please bring restaurants to the Eastside (east of shadeland). Why always North. We would embrace a good 5-6 new restaurants (except mexican fare), we have enough of those.

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.