Writer / Janelle Morrison
Photographer / JJ Kaplan
Nestled between its neighboring turn-of-the century buildings, Rosie’s Place bustles with local residents and visitors gathered inside enjoying the fare that is freshly prepared for them. The walls of the restaurant are adorned with family photos, one in particular that pays tribute to the inspiration behind the name, Rosie herself.
I met with the owners, Michael and Debbi Bourgerie, who gave me a tour of the original Rosie’s Place in downtown Noblesville while discussing the impending grand opening of their second location in the historic downtown of Zionsville.
Rosie’s Place was named after Debbi’s grandmother and is a tribute to her father who owned restaurants where Debbi developed her passion for the industry. She continued to work for her family in St. Louis until her husband, Michael, would move their three daughters and her to Boston. Michael would eventually change companies and move them to Indiana where he worked at Thomson Consumer Electronics before joining his wife and her team and making Rosie’s Place, truly a family affair.
Rosie’s Place in Noblesville officially opened October 1, 2010, and soon after earned the adoration of their patrons through giving back to local causes and of course, through their stomachs.
While discussing the process of opening a second location, the Bourgeries spoke about their goals for Rosie’s in Zionsville and what residents there can expect in the way of their menu, food preparation and service.
“We want our guests to recognize that they are at a Rosie’s Place,” Debbi explained. “We also want this location to have its own character and reflection of the community that it will serve. We’ve always spent a lot of time listening to what the people of Noblesville want and we’ve adjusted our menu based upon their feedback and we will do the same in Zionsville. The foundation will be the same but it will grow to the needs of Zionsville. We will be open Monday through Sunday as we are in Noblesville.”
The Bourgerie’s and their staff’s work is very labor intensive. Everything is made from scratch. “If we can make it then we make it,” Debbi stated. “There are very few canned goods in this place. We buy from local markets and farmers, as much as we can. Everything will be made on site, as we do it in Noblesville and the Zionsville location will have it’s own bakery. We take special orders for our baked goods, especially during the holidays. We also ship cookie tins all over the country. Customers can visit our locations or website for a list of our baked goods.”
Celebrating 25 years of marriage, Michael said that one of their personal goals is to spend more time together. While his previous vocations had him traveling extensively and often, he is glad to be working alongside his wife and their dedicated staff.
“We’re very much about bringing people together and we like to make friends among our customers,” Michael said. “We’re very much about community and we are setting up so that we can do that in both locations. With my previous job, I was away a lot so part of our goal, personally, is to spend more time together, regarding the Zionsville community, we’d like very much to get more involved and also provide a place for people to gather, even on Sundays after church, as they do here in Noblesville. Our customers are like family and even our staff has become family. They are all a blessing.”
Long-time customers Linda Sidener and Jeff Rickard shared their thoughts with me while I was visiting in Noblesville.
Noblesville resident, Linda Sidener and her granddaughter, Kenleigh, were having breakfast at Rosie’s that morning. Sidener has been bringing her grandchildren there since they opened. “I have several grandchildren under seven, and all of them love to come here,” Sidener confessed. “Most of the staff all know us here. I’ve offered to take the grandkids to other places but they always want to come here.”
Jeff Rickard lives on the border of Carmel and Zionsville and makes the 15-mile drive just to have his favorite meal of the day at Rosie’s Place. “It’s a great place,” Rickard said. “I hope that they have the same quality of food that they have here because it’s really good. I just had the breakfast tacos, but my standard is the spinach, tomato and feta omelet. It’s all fresh and you don’t get that in many places anymore. I am really excited that Rosie’s is opening in Zionsville because it is a really good restaurant.”
In addition to offering a fresh concept to people’s plates, the building that Rosie’s Place will be housed in is offering a fresh new “face” to Main Street after undergoing a massive renovation that was supported, in part, by the Town of Zionsville through the Zionsville Architectural Review Committee (ZARC) and their facade grant program.
The ZARC chair,David Rausch spoke about the program and their work with the Rosie’s Place project. “The ZARC facade grant program has had a number of successes already in town,” Rausch stated. “This one (Rosie’s Place) will likely be the most visible. The program was conceived in 2008 and founded in 2009.”
The program’s annual appropriations of $50,000 of funds come from the Food and Beverage Tax. The Town Council for use in downtown improvements specifically earmarks these funds from the Food and Beverage Tax.
“The program has had some refinements along the way,” Rausch continued. “It will continue to have more as it matures and as projects continue to come along. In the last two years, it has gained awareness, visibility and the success that we were hoping would be accomplished by this point. Our goals are all about Zionsville. Our town has its own character and integrity. The village business district is a small area and the buildings are old and in various stages of repair. The Town, with wisdom, decided that we have ability to rejuvenate the stock that we have here. Zionsville is the collection of buildings, not necessarily any individual building. I think that these buildings are of their time but they are also operating in the 21st century and will need to continue to operate and do so in a way that’s fitting with the building.”
ZARC committee member Tom Casalini explained the importance of Rosie’s Place’s opening and how their building’s renovation is a positive impact to the overall health of the village business district.
“The value of a Rosie’s Place opening and the new facade to the building it will be operating in, is going to be an important statement for downtown,” Casalini said. “It’s going to reenergize a community center for the village. The Bourgeries are professional restaurateurs so it’s not going to change hands in a year and then have someone else occupy the space. I feel that we are moving more towards a destination shopping and dining center. This is the kind of thinking that promotes good business and the opportunity to bring more established businesses to the village and will establish a higher balance of professional, destination retail and commercial businesses, like Rosie’s Place.”
Needless to say, there will be a mad dash of people to Rosie’s Place in Zionsville who are eager to get their own taste of “farm to table” when they open in the first part of December.