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

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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.”

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