Lexington, KY – A Colorado-based fast-casual restaurant specializing in noodle dishes from Asian, Italian and American cuisine will open its first restaurant in the Lexington market with a local franchisee.
Noodles and Company is expected to open in a former Long John Silver’s location at 2468 Nicholasville Road in mid-January, according to Chad Colony, president and CEO of Invictus, LLC, Noodles and Company’s local franchise. The location, between Malibu and New Circle Road, will be the first of five Noodles and Company locations to pop-up in the Lexington area over the next five years.
First launched in the Denver area in 1995, Noodles and Company was a favorite of Colony and his family’s three children when they lived elsewhere around the country as he worked as a consumer products executive, most recently for Tempur-Pedic.
“When my wife and I moved here from Wisconsin, we decided to take the kids to Noodles and Company, and we looked it up and there wasn’t one. It was a family staple; we ate there at least twice a week,” said Colony, who began to look at setting permanent roots in Lexington after 10 moves in 20 years for his career.
After most recently spending 120 nights in one year on the road, Colony began looking for options. He considered operating a mattress store and other entities closer to his consumer product background, and when he approached Noodles and Company, they suggested he look harder in that direction.
Noodles and Company “was one model that I always loved, and I thought it was a great restaurant ... I started to look into it, and when I initially contacted them, they just told me flat-out — ‘No.’ I had the business acumen, I had the financial backing, but they weren’t interested, because I didn’t have the restaurant experience,” Colony said in a phone interview Monday from Chicago.
But eventually, Noodles and Company relented.
The company, which has more than 340 locations in 26 states — including one in Northern Kentucky — sent Colony to Chicago to help in the opening of a new location there as a part of a rigorous nearly three-month training program that has seen him work in every job the restaurant requires.
Colony, who told his wife it had to get worse before it got better for his life on the road, has spent most of the last 10 weeks working at a corporate-owned location in the Kenwood Mall area of Cincinnati, Ohio. But for Colony, it is the beginning of the end of his life as a road warrior so he can spend more time in Lexington, where he said he wants to raise his kids, aged 8, 11 and 12, and eventually retire.
Colony’s market area spreads across much of central Kentucky, from Frankfort to Georgetown and down to Richmond and Nicholasville. He said he’s waiting for the right real-estate opportunities to present themselves before deciding where the next four locations will go, but he has expressed interest in the Hamburg area, Palomar and near campus for other possible Lexington locations.