ROUNDUP: Mac-and-cheese, pizza shops debut

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As customers venture out again they’ll find some new places to check out—including two fast-casual restaurants that are making their debut in this market.

The Boca Raton, Florida-based chain I Heart Mac & Cheese opened its first local store at 637 E. Indiana 32 in Westfield on Wednesday, and Evansville-based Azzip Pizza opens Monday at 1120 E. Stop 11 Road, just west of U.S. 31 on the south side of Indianapolis.

Matt and Elizabeth Griffin of Fishers are the I Heart Mac & Cheese’s local franchisees, and the couple is already considering opening additional stores at to-be-announced spots in Fishers, Carmel and/or Noblesville.

Matt Griffin is an officer with the Noblesville Police Department. Elizabeth Griffin was an officer with the Westfield Police Department before leaving that job to focus on I Heart Mac & Cheese.

Their Westfield restaurant is in a 2,219-square-foot space at the Oak Ridge Shoppes retail development.

I Heart Mac & Cheese offers macaroni and cheese bowls and grilled-cheese sandwiches, with add-in options, including meat and vegan Beyond Meat products, veggies and sauces. The first I Heart Mac & Cheese opened in 2016 in Fort Lauderdale; its franchising program began in 2017.

The company has 79 stores listed on its website as either now open or coming soon in 13 states. Florida, Texas and New York are the biggest, each with at least 15.

IBJ first reported on the Griffins’ plans last August.

Azzip Pizza had originally planned to open its Indianapolis store March 29, but the COVID-19 pandemic scrambled those plans.

The Indianapolis site, a 3,000-square-foot, free-standing building, is Azzip’s 10th and its first in Indianapolis. Azzip has four stores in southwestern Indiana, two in Kentucky and one each in Bloomington, Lafayette and Terre Haute.

Brad Neimeier of Evansville came up with the idea for the fast-fire pizza restaurant when he was a student at Purdue University. He entered his idea in a business plan competition at the school, won $20,000 to start the business, moved back home to Evansville after graduation and opened his first Azzip there in 2014.

Azzip customers place their orders at the counter, then wait while their pizzas are baked in a conveyor-type oven in only a few minutes. The restaurant has been named “Best Place for Pizza” three times since 2015 in the annual Evansville Courier & Press’ Readers Choice Awards.

IBJ first reported on Azzip’s Indianapolis plans last July.

Other openings of note:

— Fitness studio InCycle Strength opened Monday at Carmel City Center, located at the southwest corner of City Center Drive and South Rangeline Road.

InCycleStrength, which offers group strength classes, training and virtual classes, is an extension of InCycle, an indoor cycling studio that opened at City Center in 2013. The two facilities are in separate locations within the development.

Cathy Miller owns both studios.

— Rise ‘n Roll Bakery’s third Indianapolis-area location, at 6311 E. Westfield Blvd. in Broad Ripple, opened this week in what the establishment is considering to be its official opening.

The Broad Ripple site opened for carry-out service only on April 7, but now that dine-in restrictions are easing the bakery has opened its indoor and patio seating areas along the Monon Trail.

The franchisee is Casey McGaughey, who also owns the Rise ‘n Roll locations in Fishers and Greenwood. Rise ‘n Roll is based in Middlebury and has 13 stores in northern and central Indiana.

— Two separate local veterinary clinics opened new clinics on May 18.

Indianapolis-based City Way Animal Clinics’ newest office is at 5541 E. Washington St. in Irvington. Veterinarian and owner Kurt Phillips opened his first City Way clinic at 625 N. East St. in 2012. The company also has veterinary offices in the Fall Creek and Fountain Square neighborhoods, as well as Furr: Pet Spa and Wellness Clinic at 909 N. East St.

A different veterinary chain, Indianapolis-based Pet Wellness Clinics, opened its newest office at 1430 Broad Ripple Ave., Suite 1 in Broad Ripple. Owner and CEO Michael Graves, a veterinarian, opened his first office in Fishers in 2005. The company now has eight locations in Indianapolis and Hamilton County, with a ninth set to open this month in Carmel.

We also have a few closings to note this week.

— The Dancing Donut, which opened in 2015 at 1134 E. 54th St. in Broad Ripple, will close for good on Sunday “after our last donut dances from the shop at 1 p.m.,” owner Kate Drury posted on the business’ Facebook page May 28. “I did the best I could to keep things afloat amidst COVID-19, but she got the best of me unfortunately.”

Drury also owns The Flying Cupcake, which has six locations in Indianapolis, Carmel, Greenwood and Zionsville.

— WB Pizza, at 6165 Allisonville Road just south of 62nd St., closed Saturday after a 20-year run.

“We will always be grateful for having known you,” owners Will and Kathy Barnes wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “Nothing made us happier than feeding you well!”

— The Mug has permanently closed at 118 S. Audubon Road in Irvington, but its original Greenfield location remains open at 117 Apple St.

Owner Chris Baggott, who also owns Indianapolis-based food delivery company ClusterTruck, opened the Irvington restaurant in the fall of 2016.

The Greenfield location operated as The Frosty Mug for more than 50 years before closing in 2013. Baggott bought it in 2014 and reopened it as The Mug, which serves burgers, hot dogs and other fare made with locally sourced ingredients.

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3 thoughts on “ROUNDUP: Mac-and-cheese, pizza shops debut

  1. RIP WB’s – my family’s favorite pizza joint. I loved frequenting there as Will and all the employees knew us and always gave outstanding service. It saddens us to lose such a great local spot and we wish Will and his family all the best in their future endeavors.