Dough Masters: Noble Roman’s Brings First of Many Pub-style Restaurants
Writer / Allison Yates
Photographer / Jamie Sangar
In January, Indianapolis-based pizza company Noble Roman’s kicked off the New Year by opening a Noble Roman’s Craft Pizza & Pub. Located in the Monon Marketplace at 17409 Westfield Road, it is situated right across from Westfield’s Grant Park.
Noble Roman’s is famous for its traditional style and deep-dish Sicilian pizzas, breadsticks and cheese, and this new endeavor marks an expansion of the beloved pizzeria company.
“Operating full service is in our corporate blood,” says Scott Mobley, President and CEO of Noble Roman’s.
They’re right on trend with the foodies around the country. In May 2017 Bon Appetit wrote that, “The 80s Pizza Joint is Cool Again.” Cheesy pizza, breadsticks and booths are back. For Noble Roman’s, they never went out of style.
Noble Roman’s first opened as a full-service restaurant in Bloomington, Indiana in 1972 under the name ‘Pizza Pub.’ The brand expanded as restaurants until the mid to late 1980s when consumer demands shifted. At that point, the brand innovated and focused primarily on providing miniature pizzerias for non-traditional locations, such as airports, hotels, hospitals, convenience stores and military bases. The growth for the company in this space was enormous. Soon, there were 800 locations across the country.
The Noble Roman’s brand later began servicing take-n-bake pizzas in grocery store deli departments in 2010. More than 2,000 grocery stores throughout the U.S. have been trained and licensed to do so, and many feature baked Noble Roman’s pizza, either by the slice or whole pizza.
Then, in 2015, Scott Mobley became the President and Chief Executive Officer of Noble Roman’s. After careful consideration of the most prosperous market for the company, he decided their next move would be to open more sit-down establishments. In a February 2017 press release, Mobley said the stand-alone pizzeria is a “culmination of some of the best of our history combined with all-new, leading-edge technology and recipes to produce what we think will be a terrific growth vehicle for the future.”
As Noble Roman’s made their plans to expand, which took more than two years of planning and development, it was natural to locate their newest store in the Westfield and Carmel area. Mobley says Westfield is prospering and growing, and they wanted to be part of it.
Being a hometown brand, it’s uncommon to find a Hoosier who doesn’t have fond memories of Noble Roman’s. Most people who’ve lived around the Indianapolis area remember the company’s sit-down restaurants and are thrilled to see the shift back to this model of business. For many, Noble Roman’s was their first employer. Others simply reminiscence about the role the restaurant played in their childhood.
The Carmel and Westfield community has gladly welcomed the new restaurant, bringing nostalgia to those familiar with it and a great new experience for first-time customers.
“The community has been really gracious and receptive,” Mobley says.
Noble Roman’s is even making plans to establish itself further in the community. So far, they’ve participated in a number of community charities and they’re in the process of screening nonprofits to partner with.
Now, when both returning and new customers alike step into the new pub, they should feel a sense of nostalgia but also get a sense of what’s currently popular today, Mobley says. Some of their 13 flat screen TVs not only play sports but also black and white movie shorts and cartoons.
Noble Roman’s theme is that pizza should be fun, and it’s clear the new restaurant is ideal for friends and family to have a good time.
There’s a lot of detail in the restaurant, an important aspect of creating an optimal customer experience that Mobley learned from his father, the founder of the company. There’s not one single thing that makes a pizzeria successful, Mobley says, all the small details must be taken care of.
The space features an open kitchen so guests can watch the pizza-making process. You won’t have much to see, though, as Noble Roman’s boasts cooking times of 2.5 minutes for traditional pizzas and 5.75 minutes for Sicilian pies. They sell affordable craft beer and wine, but guests will also find a root beer tap (for kids, but Mobley admits it’s one of his favorite parts) and what they call a ‘Dusting and Drizzle Station,’ where customers can customize pizza with things like rosemary olive oil.
As for future plans for the company, Mobley says this is just the first of many more pubs set to open. In the works are plans to open another Westfield and Carmel location by the end of the year and several more throughout the greater Indianapolis area in the future. The new pub is part of their long-term growth plan.
“We see the pub as a growth vehicle for the brand,” Mobley says.
And it’s certain that the Westfield and Carmel community will be part of that.