Local Restaurant Chain to Open New Location in Madison County
Writer / Seth Johnson
If you’ve lived in central Indiana throughout the past two decades, then you’re likely familiar with the local chain of Wolfies Grill restaurants.
Since establishing their first Noblesville restaurant off of Morse Lake back in 2004, owners Scott and Nyla Wolf have greatly expanded their brand, opening Wolfies Grill locations in Carmel, Fishers, Geist, Westfield and West Lafayette, in addition to their Italian House on Park restaurant concept in Westfield. Continuing with this growth, Nyla and Scott will open another Wolfies Grill in Pendleton, building a new, state-of-the-art restaurant where Downing’s Old Trail Restaurant once was.
“I’d been going up to the Old Trail for years,” Scott Wolf says. “I was a big fan of their chicken. The mom and dad were getting older and she had some health problems. They knew we were in the business so they just reached out and said, ‘Would you be interested in taking this location over?’ I said, ‘I’d be very excited to.’”
Tentatively slated to open this June, the Wolfies Grill in Pendleton will be in a brand-new, 5,000-square-foot building complete with a family dining room, bar and beer garden.
“We were going to take the building, add onto it and do some things to really enhance it,” Wolf says. “But it’d been three different businesses before and had been really cut up. We’re actually going to doze down the building, start from scratch and build a brand-new building. This one will have family dining, it’ll have a large bar, and it’ll have a beer garden off the bar that’ll have cornhole and stuff out there to do.”
Like their other locations, the Wolfies Grill in Pendleton will offer up a delicious menu of pub-style foods including burgers, wings and more. The owners first started selling this type of food back in 2004 because it worked well for customers on Morse Lake.
“We just worked on what we thought would work as far as a place to go and watch sports on the water, and get some food that would travel easy on the boats but also for dine-in, which ended up being the ribs, burgers and wings,” Wolf says of the first Wolfies Grill location in Noblesville. “That’s where we came up with the menu and started driving that end of it.”
When it comes to the ingredients used at Wolfies Grill, Wolf says the team has always tried to keep things local when they can. “We try to source out as much as possible to local suppliers and vendors,” he says. For example, Wolfies Grill gets the beef for their burgers from a farm in Muncie.
On the bar side, Wolfies Grill offers a selection of local and regional beers on draft, as well as a specialty cocktail menu.
“Our cocktails are made from scratch,” Wolf says. “They’re just high-quality, good-sized cocktails. It’s a 12-ounce cocktail. It’s not these real little ones. With what’s going on today with supply chains and the economy, a lot of people have really cut back on the size of their cocktails. We haven’t touched any of that. We’ve tried to stay true to what we have.”
While reflecting on what he’s proud of across all of his restaurant locations, Wolf is quick to pinpoint his staff and the way they’re treated.
“In the summertime we’ll have up to 500 employees that we’re responsible for, and we really take a lot of pride in knowing them all personally,” he says. “They’re like family. We don’t have a lot of turnover. We just really believe in listening to our staff and helping them out any way we can. We take a lot of pride in not turning over a lot of people.”
As a matter of fact, Wolf made sure to keep his staff employed through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, having them work on interior restaurant maintenance when they were unable to do their normal in-house jobs due to health and safety restrictions.
“We never furloughed anybody,” he says. “When it hit we said, ‘If you were a painter or carpenter in your previous life, we’re going to work on our stores, fix them up and get them better than they were.’ We kept people employed the whole time, just helping us paint, clean and get to things we weren’t able to get to with open hours. We actually came out of COVID stronger than we went into it.”
As he gets ready to open the newest Wolfies Grill location in Pendleton, Wolf looks forward to being a part of yet another central Indiana community.
“It’s a great location right off the interstate,” he says. “That area is really starting to grow. They’ve added the new sports complex up there. You’ve got Tractor Supply’s headquarters up there. Just the town itself is really, really neat.”