A Louisville, Kentucky-based restaurant chain known for its house-made desserts is entering the Indianapolis market, with Homemade Ice Cream & Bakery Cafe locations set to open within months in both Zionsville and Noblesville.
The Zionsville location, at 10875 N. Michigan Road, is expected to open within the next 45 to 60 days, and a Hamilton Town Center store will follow in late summer, CEO Charlie Hensley told IBJ.
The company currently operates seven Louisville-area stores that operate under the name Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen. The Zionsville store will be the first to operate under what Hensley describes as an “expanded and upgraded sister concept.”
The Indianapolis-area stores will feature an expanded food menu along with the baked goods and small-batch ice cream that the Louisville-area stores are known for, along with expresso drinks, sweet and unsweetened tea, lemonade and custom drinks.
The chain’s menu of sweets includes more than 15 different pies and 10 different cakes each day, along with 20 flavors of ice cream and other house-made treats like cookies, brownies, buckeyes and cake balls.
At the Bakery Cafe locations, the menu will also include salads, sandwiches, side items and a changing selection of daily soups. The restaurant will offer a fresh-baked croissant with every soup or salad, and a cookie or cake drop with every sandwich.
The local locations are expected to have 65 interior seats and another 20 seats on a covered patio. The interiors will feature a see-through fireplace and lounge chairs.
Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen was launched in 1982, when Gina and Mike Cox opened their first restaurant in a former car dealership. Originally, the restaurant operated as a lunch counter with a small selection of baked goods, but over time the Coxes converted their menu to focus on baked goods and ice cream.
Adam and Mary Lee Burckle purchased the business in 2005. Then, last year, the brand was purchased by a restaurateur/investor group made up of Hensley, Mike Mountjoy, Barrett Nichols and Vince Tyra.
The current owners are experienced operators who built and owned McAlister’s Deli franchises in Indiana before selling off those franchises in 2015. They purchased the Pie Kitchen brand with the aim of expansion.
“We feel confident that during lunch and dinner, people will always want a combination of quality soups, sandwiches and salads, served quickly with great tasting tea and other beverages. … All other times of the day, people need a comfortable place to satisfy their sweet tooth,” Hensley told IBJ.