Wolfies Grill Takes Over Former LakeHouse at Geist Location
Writer / Josh Brown
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Geist residents have heard it quite a bit in the last five years — a new name or new ownership at the restaurant property at 11699 Fall Creek Road. It is no secret that restaurants at the location have struggled and endured a great deal of turnover over the years. Wolfies Grill owners Scott and Nyla Wolf plan to change that for the long haul.
At the end of January, the couple began conversations with the LakeHouse at Geist owners about purchasing the property and officially closed the deal on Feb. 7. Wolfies has arrived at Geist Reservoir, and the Wolfs are excited to be at the new location.
“I actually have the same landlord up north as the (previous owners) had here, and he set up a meeting for us,” Scott says. “I have always liked this location, and I think it has a lot of potential. The population and the spot being right on the lake, I’ve always wondered why other (restaurants) here have struggled. It is such a great location, a huge facility and a big undertaking for us, but the way we’ve set it up and made changes, I believe it is going to flow much better and be more functional for our staff and guests.”
The Fall Creek road location was home to Bella Vita Ristorante from 2005 to 2013 before changing its name to Bella Vita Lakeside Grill. Brothers Jack and Shaan Singh bought the restaurant and rebranded as the LakeHouse at Geist last February after more than a month of renovations and changes to try and give the spot more appeal.
For Wolfies, the Geist restaurant will be its fifth Hamilton County location. The Wolfs jumped into the restaurant business in 2004 with their first location in Noblesville and have spots in Carmel, Fishers and Westfield as well. The first Wolfies location, which is still thriving today, is located on Morse Reservoir. The experience the Wolfs have gained in already running a successful waterside restaurant for nearly 15 years played a significant role in their decision to go after the Geist location.
“That experience was a major part of the decision for sure,” Scott says. “For us, it was a no-brainer. We have that experience with the Morse location and have already made all of our mistakes and learned from them up there. We know what works and what doesn’t work. We have learned a lot in the last 14 years of being on the water (in Noblesville) and how to staff, how to operate and the seasonal aspect of it. It can be a challenge. We understand how to make it work, though.”
The Geist location will instantly become the largest one for Wolfies. Scott says the kitchen alone is twice the size of the one the Wolfs have at their Morse Reservoir restaurant. The Geist spot also houses one of the bigger outdoor dining decks in the Indy area and can seat about 200. The inside seating, including upstairs and downstairs, can seat approximately 350 people.
“It is a great building and probably has one of the best views around here for a waterside restaurant,” Scott says. “We are going to have a lot of activities and family-friendly events we plan to host. We are excited about this entire venture, and we’ve had a lot of people call and reach out about how excited they are, too.”
Once they gained ownership of the property, the Wolfs hit the ground running with renovations and updates over the last two months. The restaurant has completely new kitchen equipment. One of the biggest changes is the bar has moved from the back of the restaurant to the middle to showcase it more when guests walk through the doors. Wolfies Grill at Geist also has an open-air theme and retractable doors. The outside, covered patio will also have retractable windows to continue the theme.
“This spot has never had an open-air concept,” Scott says. “If you are on the lake, this is what you want. You want the air blowing, the breeze in your face, overlooking the lake and hearing the boats. If it starts to sprinkle or rain, guests don’t have to worry because we can simply drop down the covered doors and windows.”
If beer is what you are looking for, Wolfies at Geist will have plenty of variety with 16 craft beers on tap inside and outside with a beer garden on the deck for patrons to enjoy. The beer garden includes an all-new deck and bar top.
Wolfies has also added a raw bar showcased in the front of the restaurant with fresh oysters, shrimp and more — a feature that will be exclusive to the Geist location. The restaurant will have live music throughout the weeks, weekends and holidays as well as family-friendly events too.
Perhaps the most unique change to the location is Wolfies Grill at Geist will have a functional, outdoor kitchen. That means boaters will be able to place an order, pull up to the deck, hop off their boat and grab carryout food, beer and ice to take back on the lake.
“We are really driving that come off your boat have a burger and a beer kind of idea,” Scott says. “Come up, give your name and we will load you up and get you ready to head back out on the water. With all of these changes, I think it is going to be really exciting.”
The Wolfs believe the renovations and changes, coupled with an experienced staff, will bring stability and longevity to the Fall Creek location. The Wolfs are bringing their long-time GM at their Morse Reservoir location to man the Geist location. Wolfies also has four other veteran managers on board, meaning the restaurant will run with five managers to keep operations and service running smoothly and efficiently.
“The support system will be here that maybe wasn’t quite there in the past,” Scott says. “I’ve got probably some of the most loyal employees. Many of them have been with us for nearly 10 years. We have been blessed with some of the best staff and best people, and we don’t turn them over.”
Overall, the Wolfs are happy to be serving the Geist community and excited for guests to dine at the new location.
“We’ve lived out this way, so we know a lot of people around here,” Scott says. “This location probably hasn’t lived up to its potential over the years, and our goal is to fill that potential by providing great service, great food, and having a lot of fun on the lake.”
Wolfies Grill at Geist is located at 11699 Fall Creek Road or you can give them a call at 317-913-0293. Visit Wolfies online at wolfiesgrill.com. Wolfies at Geist will be open daily for lunch beginning at 11:00 a.m. and close at midnight.