The Italian House on Park
Westfield Favorite Has Served Up Italian Fare For Nearly 4 Years
Writer / Jon Shoulders
Photographer / Ellie Sophia Photography
The Italian House on Park, Westfield’s upscale-casual, Italian-inspired eatery, is the result of a momentary, serendipitous occurrence experienced by its owner.
Several years ago, while considering the idea of opening a slightly upscale establishment to complement his more casual Wolfies Grill locations around the city, Scott Wolf was visiting a friend who owns the Westfield property where Rail Restaurant & Bar is located. During his visit to Rail, Wolf’s glance eventually fell on a particular 1950s house he immediately thought could be transformed into a quaint, intimate restaurant.
“Scott was actually thinking of doing an upscale bar concept on the top floor of Rail, and he was there standing on that second floor looking out the window and saw that the house next door was available,” says Jim Nethercott, general manager of The Italian House on Park and a veteran of the Central Indiana restaurant business for nearly four decades. “Scott’s an entrepreneur, and since he was interested in doing an upscale theme he started researching Italian dining after looking at the property where we are.”
The result is a concept that blends traditional Italian fare with unique dishes and appetizers as well as an extensive wine and cocktail list. According to Nethercott, it’s the fact that the establishment isn’t exactly a traditional Italian restaurant that makes it stand out.
“We try to offer a good sampling of traditional Italian — lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs, chicken and veal parmesan — but we also have our meat and fresh fish dishes like our halibut piccata, which is just unbelievably good,” he says. “So we want to be authentic but we also want to reach out to the people who just want a good meal and good service.”
Appetizers include charcuterie, shrimp cocktail, fried ravioli and calamari, and you’ll find plenty of meat and seafood entrées as well as pastas like linguini with shrimp scampi, penne with tomato cream sauce and angel hair with eggplant parmesan. Everything on The Italian House menu is made from scratch, and daily appetizer and entrée specials are also offered.
Those dining in find themselves amidst a warm, rich color scheme, wood accents and a few touches added during the renovation process including stuccoed walls and arched doorways. The house itself, which consists of three dining rooms, seats 55 people, and there’s room for 48 in the back bar and another 60 on the patio.
“We decided early on that we didn’t want to be formal exactly, and we wanted to be perceived as non-corporate,” Nethercott explains. “Our staff is responsibly trained to offer a level of service that you don’t get at corporate restaurants. We have people coming in twice a week, and we can also accommodate anniversaries, rehearsal dinners and special days.”
The drink menu is made up of house cocktails as well as a red and white wine list that is about 80% Italian, curated and continually adjusted by Nethercott.
In his observation as general manager, Nethercott feels the timing of his restaurant’s appearance in Westfield is fortuitous given the area’s rapid growth and economic development in recent years.
“Fifteen years ago if you said you were going to Westfield, the response would be, ‘Who do you know there and why are you going?’” he says with a laugh. “There wasn’t a lot to offer. So getting our name out at the start was a challenge and it took a while to build momentum.”
“It’s been fun getting to know a lot of locals, and I also think I’ve met all the people who’ve lived in the house over the years,” Nethercott says. “They’ll come in and tell us what the rooms used to be used for. They love what’s been done with the building.”
The Italian House on Park is located at 219 Park Street In Westfield. For more information, including a full food and wine menu and hours of operation, as well as a link to join a mailing list, visit theitalianhouseonpark.com or call 317-804-5619.