Chicago-style pizza chain Lou Malnati’s adding Broad Ripple, Carmel sites

lou malnatis
A server dishes up a slice of deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's Pizza in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Chicago-style pizza chain Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, which confirmed to IBJ last month that it plans to enter the Indianapolis market with an 86th Street location, is also planning sites in Broad Ripple and Carmel.

The Malnati Organization LLC has purchased a 5,145-square-foot retail building on 0.37 acres at 6320 Ferguson St. in Broad Ripple. The site is just north of the Central Canal and about a block northeast of the Fresh Thyme grocery store at 6301 N. College Ave.

An Indiana property sales disclosure form shows The Malnati Organization LLC purchased the property from Broad Ripple Office Park LLC for $1.1 million on March 13.

Lou Malnati’s, which is based in Chicago, also has signed a lease for a 1,549-square-foot space at 11435 Spring Mill Road in Carmel. The site is part of The Bridges, a 65-acre mixed-use development developed by Indianapolis-based Gershman Partners and Pittman Partners. The development includes 250,000 square feet of retail space.

The pizzeria will occupy a spot adjacent to the Starbucks coffee shop in that development.

These two Lou Malnati’s sites will join an Indianapolis-area location at 2902 W. 86th St. The 1,600-square-foot space is in the Willow Lake West shopping center just east of Michigan Road, near The Pyramids office complex.

IBJ identified the site in a story in March about the chain’s move into the central Indiana market.

Lou Malnati’s operates full-service restaurants and carryout-and-delivery-only locations. The company confirmed to IBJ last month that the 86th Street location would be for carryout and delivery only.

The company did not immediately respond on Tuesday morning to queries about the two other locations. The sizes of those spaces would suggest that the Broad Ripple location would be full-service restaurant and the Carmel location would offer carryout and delivery only.

A Lou Malnati’s spokeswoman told IBJ last month that the company was unsure when it would open the 86th Street location because of “uncertain times” caused by the coronavirus pandemic. She also said the chain had plans to open additional locations in Indianapolis and the surrounding suburbs “down the road.”

Lou Malnati’s was established by the husband-and-wife team of Lou and Jean Malnati, using a deep-dish pizza recipe that Lou Malnati’s grandfather helped create. The couple opened their first restaurant in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood on St. Patrick’s Day in 1971.

When Lou Malnati died in 1978, his sons Marc and Rick took over the company. In 2016, Lou Malnati’s sold a minority stake in the company to Oak Brook, Illinois-based private equity firm BTD Capital Partners so the restaurant chain could focus on growth. The restaurant chain had 46 stores at the time of the BTD Capital deal, according to a 2016 report from Crain’s Chicago Business.

Today, Lou Malnati’s has 56 locations operating in the greater Chicago area, including a Schererville location—the chain’s first Indiana store—that opened last year. The Chicago-area locations include 18 full-service restaurants, and the other 38 offer carryout-and-delivery-only service.

The chain also has a carryout-and-delivery-only restaurant in Fox Point, Wisconsin, with a full-service restaurant in Brookfield, Wisconsin, coming soon. It also has four locations in Arizona: two full-service restaurants and two carryout-and-delivery-only locations, including one coming soon in Glendale, Arizona.

Lou Malnati’s also ships its frozen pizzas to customers throughout the U.S.

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14 thoughts on “Chicago-style pizza chain Lou Malnati’s adding Broad Ripple, Carmel sites

    1. Generally agree with you about Portillo’s but at least Chicago has a food passion and cult following. I love Indianapolis but when people visit and ask what food Indianapolis is well known for, the answer is basically nothing. Some may say pork tenderloins (or sugar cream pie) but I wouldn’t call it a cult following by any measure let alone one compared to Chicago deep dish pizza, Philly cheese steaks, Baltimore crab cakes, Seattle coffee, and Austin Taco’s to name a few. Indy is just mostly known for restaurant chains and foods that don’t have a cult following

    2. Tenderloin sandwiches are indeed unique Hoosier food.

      .

      But I’d still rather have a real cheesesteak (and not those Penn Station fakes…provolone and peppers, really? C’mon.)

    3. Ah, but the Portillo’s and Giordano’s in Chicago *are* a delicacy. It’s the satellite operations which have the problems. More times than not, it’s a management issue. And right now, it’s just as well Malnati’s isn’t coming to Fishers because the Fishers’ pizza operations are not all that great. And when you get a good pie, it’s a flash in the pan (no pun intended) — inconsistency is the watchword. Restaurants are a cutthroat industry but it’s also not that tough – but it is hard work to be consistent.

    4. Every food Chicago is known for is a cheap imitation of somewhere else, with the exception of the deep dish. Which itself is highly overrated.

  1. What – first Indy and now Carmel and Broad Ripple get a new pizza joint but Fishers is left out? C’mon Scotty – pick up your game and keep bringing the PIZZA!!!!

  2. For its Broad Ripple location, Malnati’s paid more than times the 2019 tax assessed value (which was a piddling $178,100). That kind of premium ought to send a message to property owners of Broad Ripple retail and office buildings that investing in the district is both necessary and wise. Let us hope the owners of some of the deteriorating store fronts on the avenue step up and improve their properties.

  3. Oh wow, another pizza chain – one can have a different pizza twice a day, each day of the week and delivered… meh…Happy for Broad Ripple business gain, though…just wishing for more healthy and higher-quality food choices (organic, better protein grades, less of the processed foods/fried foods, breads, soy, gluten, etc.) along with keeping them viable through this stay-at-home period – still bothered by loss of NextDoor.

  4. Hope it succeeds! But I think the location will prove to be a “Flop” in comparison to a more prime location with street frontage.

    Congrats to Walt Friehofer on the Sale!

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