North of 96th - Lindsey

Welcome to North of 96th, your source for business news from Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield and Zionsville. Your host, Lindsey Erdody, can be reached at lerdody@ibj.com.

Carmel / Fishers / Hamilton County / Westfield / Regional News

Westfield barbecue joint opening Carmel location

July 18, 2013

Big Hoffa’s is getting bigger.

The owner of the Westfield barbecue joint expects to open a second location in Carmel this fall, transforming a former tearoom at 220 E. Main St. into an homage to smoked meat.

California transplant Adam Hoffman opened Big Hoffa’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que on Main Street in Westfield seven years ago, opting for a bricks-and-mortar location after three years running a food truck in Noblesville.

He’s planning to seat at least 60 at the fast-casual restaurant, serving culinary creations like the Hoffanator—French fries topped with macaroni and cheese, baked beans, pulled pork, barbecue sauce and ranch dressing—and the Marley, a pulled chicken sandwich adorned with what’s billed as a “Caribbean white barbeque sauce” and spicy habanero Cole slaw.

“I take advice from my customers, make what they want to eat,” said Hoffman, 37. “If no one is complaining, I know I’m doing something right.”

Hoffman said the Westfield eatery, which shares space with Main Street Shoppes antique mall, is running out of room. He hopes to expand seating capacity there later this year or early next year.

The 37-year-old Fishers resident said he has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and loves to experiment in the kitchen.

A seven-year veteran of the California Pizza Kitchen chain, he fell in love with Indiana after visiting to check out a smoker he found online. He returned home after a weekend trip, packed up his belongings and moved here within weeks.

“I have no regrets,” Hoffman said.

The Carmel restaurant will include a 10-foot smoker capable of handing “a couple thousand pounds” of meat, he said.

When that project is complete, he plans to expand seating in Westfield. Someday, he’d like to open a location in Fishers.

In other retail news:

— Carmel Couture Boutique has opened at the southeast corner of Main Street and Range Line Road, in the heart of the city’s Arts & Design District. A grand-opening event is scheduled for today from noon to 8 p.m. The shop carries handbags, scarves, jewelry and jewelry-making supplies.

— KLC Realty LLC is proposing to build River Road Shops on 5.4 acres of land at the southwest corner of River Road and 146th Street in Carmel (just west of the site of a controversial proposed gas station). Plans call for 58,400 square feet of commercial space to be built in phases, starting with a 19,000-square-foot Payless Liquors store. City officials are reviewing the development proposal.

— First Merchants Bank has plans for a branch at 10210 N. Michigan Road, in the under-construction West Carmel Commons commercial development. It would join national restaurant chains Outback and Olive Garden in the center, located across from a popular Super Target store.

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