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Catch of the Day

Noah Grant’s Cooks Up East Coast Cuisine

Writer  /  Jon Shoulders

Photographer  /  Brian Brosmer

When Shari Jenkins opened Noah Grant’s Grill House and Oyster Bar in Zionsville in 2008, her vision was a high-quality, yet casual, eatery that she herself would want to patronize frequently. Almost a decade later this philosophy is still serving her well, as Noah Grant’s remains one of the area’s premier steak and seafood establishments.

A Zionsville Community High School and University of Dayton grad, Jenkins worked as a middle school teacher before the urge came to try her hand in the restaurant business.

“I had always worked in restaurants growing up, and it was a business I knew really well,” says Jenkins, who lives in Zionsville. “My first job was in the space where Noah Grant’s is. It was an ice cream parlor, and I worked there all through
high school.”

Not long after her son Noah was born in 2001, Jenkins felt the timing was right to transition from education into the service industry and began formulating a restaurant concept that would serve high-end cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. By 2008, the doors to Noah Grant’s – named after her son – were open.

“I wanted as much time as possible with my son, so somehow I made the wrong assumption that, being a business owner, I would have more free time for him than when I was teaching,” she recalls with a laugh. “It was quite the opposite. He ended up spending a good amount of time at the restaurant and has grown up with some of the staff that has been there since 2008.”

Jenkins says many Noah Grant’s patrons leave feeling like they’ve just been on a trip to the east coast, due to both the unique ambience and the food selection. The menu includes a full range of seafood options from shrimp, crab and oyster appetizers, to an extensive sushi list, to salmon, lobster and scallop entrées. Land options include burgers, Dijon-crusted chicken and filets offered in portions of four, six or eight ounces.

“A lot of people say, ‘I feel like I’m on vacation at the Cape,’” Jenkins says of her customers. “I’ve stayed away from white tablecloths from day one, because once you see that, it screams formality and that’s not what I wanted. I’m not someone who likes to get dressed up to eat good food. And that was kind of where the idea came from.”

A new location for Noah Grant’s in the Carter Building on South Main Street is scheduled to open later this fall, and Jenkins says the decision to move came from a simple desire to offer a fresh, new atmosphere to the public while expanding seating capacity. The new location will also be Noah Grant’s main one moving forward. An unfortunate kitchen fire in September left so much extensive damage to the original location that Jenkins says it will not be reopened. So, look for the new location to open soon.

“Reinventing yourself as a restaurant is always important to keep the guests engaged,” she says. “Whether you remodel or change your menu items, you’ve got to keep your guests engaged. It was just a good opportunity for Noah Grant’s to make a change after its first decade.”

Jenkins’s keep-it-fresh attitude has also included opening her second Zionsville-based restaurant, the Salty Cowboy, on Oak Street in the fall of 2014. The establishment serves tacos (which, along with seafood, happens to be Jenkins’s favorite food category), burritos, burgers, barbecue and more in a kid-friendly dining room, as well as a lively bar atmosphere that offers margaritas, draft beers and specialty cocktails.

“We have so many great small, individual retail shops here in Zionsville,” Jenkins says. “You need a lot of that to keep a town alive. I think with these restaurants and a lot of the others that have opened in the last few years as well, and also the retail stores that are independently owned, they all fit together to make the town that I live in great.”

For additional information or to make a reservation at Noah Grant’s Grill House and Oyster Bar, call 317-732-2233 or visit noahgrants.com.

About Jon Shoulders

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