Owner-chef sharing old family recipes and expertise in new Rosie’s Place on the Square in Noblesville.
The timing was right. Her three girls had grown into teen-agers. Her husband had a good job. And after moving from St. Louis to the Boston area, the Bourgerie family was comfortably settled in Hamilton County. All Debbi Bourgerie needed now to return to what she was born and reared to do was the right “space.” Then one day, “it all fell into place,” as she described it. “In formulating what Rosie’s Place should be,
it wasn’t until we walked into this space and saw it, that it was like, ‘OK, now I have everything I am comfortable with and the recipes I love to make … it fits here better than anywhere else,’ ” said the 45-year-old chef of her search for the perfect restaurant site. “There hasn’t been a minute since then that I felt this isn’t what we’re
supposed to be doing.” The correct space happened to be 68 N. 9th St. on the Courthouse Square, most recently the home of the short-lived Trader’s Café and The
Artist’s Vineyard before that. Now it’s Rosie’s Place, a breakfast-lunch-pastry
cafe serving made-from-scratch dishes seven days a week from family recipes going back three generations. Though new to the restaurant industry here, Debbie’s family is well-known in St. Louis, where her father, Ron Amann, established a trio of family run-and-owned cafeterias. Like their father, all the Amann children went to culinary school and combined that knowledge with time-tested family recipes for a business that remains today, the iconic Miss Sheri’s Cafeteria, named for one of the Amann
daughters. When Debbie’s husband, Michael, was offered a job with the Gateway computer company in Boston, Debbi left the family business for the first time.
“This opportunity came along and Michael said, ‘Well, this way you can’t work the business because you’ll be too far from it.’ There was no way I could get up and go into work,” she said. Living in the Boston suburb of Franklin for the next eight years, Debbi dabbled in teaching cooking classes and catering but spent most of her time mothering her three daughters, Maddi, Ali and Katie. “Noblesville reminds me a lot of out East, where all the towns have a town commons, all the shops are locally owned, and that’s where you look first before you go to the chains or big box stores,” she said. “Everybody took care of each other. “Noblesville seems to have been able to hold onto that, and that’s what I love about it.” Concerned about the future of Gateway computers, Michael left the company in 2001 to work for Thomson Consumer Electronics in Carmel, where the Bourgerie’s bought a home. With her husband now working for software solutions firm Blue Horseshoe, daughter Maddi
at Auburn University, and Katie, a sophomore and Ali, a senior at Carmel High School, Debbi decided the timing was right to return to the kitchen. “When we moved to Indiana, it was always in the back of my mind,” she said. “I knew I’d do it again.”
Named for Debbie’s grandmother, Rosie’s Place has an old, home-style feel with most of the dishes, including Grandma’s biscuits, sausage gravy and corned beef hash, made with family recipes. They roast and slice all of their meats and make their own bread, soups and pies. “I had to relearn how to roll dumplings because I haven’t done that in awhile,” she said. While the breakfast menu includes everything from eggs, French toast and omelets to muffins, scones and biscotti, the lunch offerings include mostly sandwiches, soups and salads. And, of course, the family’s famous, made-from-scratch pies, to go with the café’s own blend of coffee (for less than $2 a cup, free refills). “We’ll keep our eyes and ears open to what the customers want,” Debbie said. “We know who we are and what our base is, but we have plenty of room to head in different directions. “My biggest hope is to be a part of this town, just like our business was when I was growing up in St. Louis. This is not about me. This is
about Rosie’s Place, a place I hope people can say, ‘This is the place I go because they know who I am and what I like and they take care of me.’ ”Grandma Rosie would be proud.