INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 may be over, but we have one more month of May hot-spot to visit with the only woman to race in this year’s field of 33 drivers.
Pippa Mann is a fan favorite with a love of pasta, so it was only appropriate to wrap up the month of May at one of her favorite places: Nicole-Taylor’s Pasta and Market located at 1134 E. 54th Street in SoBro.
We joined the Clauson-Marshall Racing driver earlier this month as she picked up all the essentials to fuel her in preparation for this year’s race.
But this certainly isn’t Pippa’s first trip to Nicole-Taylor’s.
Owner Rosa Hanslits said she first met Pippa about 5 years ago, although at first she didn’t even realize that her new customer was actually an IndyCar driver.
“She came in one day and we had a customer say ‘Oh, that’s Pippa Mann!’ And I thought ‘Pippa Mann? That sounds familiar.’ So that’s how it all started,” Hanslits recalled.
For Pippa— who had recently moved to Indianapolis at the time—Nicole-Taylor’s made from scratch pasta offered a taste of home.
And we’re not talking about the United Kingdom.
“I might have grown up in England and be originally from England, but I actually spent three years of my life living in Italy,” she said.
Now, she’s a regular here and typically places an order weekly. Then, during the month of May, Pippa always places a bulk order to fuel her throughout the month.
“Like most of the drivers I’m really really short on time so I don’t have the time to cook myself nutritious meals…So instead of buying ready-meals from the supermarket or something, I come see Rosa and I go home with a big bag of meals that can be cooked in under 5 minutes,” Mann explained.
So what are her must haves?
“Definitely the meat sauce. I love Rosa’s meat sauce! I can’t leave without meat sauce when I come in,” said Mann. “My husband really likes the short pasta, so we’ve got a lot of those coming home with us.”
“And there’s a red wine pasta that is one of my favorite pasta in the winter. I’m sure it’s good to eat that in the month of May, so maybe it’s a good thing Rosa doesn’t do it in May, but one of my favorite pasta’s for sure,” she added.
For Italian-born Hanslits, when it comes to her favorite pasta, she likes to keep it simple.
“Linguine is one of my favorite pastas. It’s not too thick, not too thin. You can still taste the pasta. It has a bite to it—and by bite I mean you can taste that pasta— with just a nice little red sauce with a little bit of basil in there… That’s my go-to when I’m in a hurry,” she said.
While carbs can sometimes get a bad name in the dieting world, for athletes like Mann, they are essential for fueling their bodies ahead of something as grueling as the Indianapolis 500.
“If I don’t eat my carbohydrates, I genuinely wake up tired the next day and I genuinely have less energy…and sure, if I want to get really lean then I’m on the protein and green vegetables diet like everyone else,” Mann said. “But when I want to have the energy to really perform at my best… the carbohydrate thing works really well for me.”
All of the pastas at Nicole-Taylor’s pasta and market are vegan-friendly, with the exception of the Parmesan chive pasta (which contains cheese). They are also pre-portioned out into individual portion sizes.
“So you can buy as little or as much as you want,” said Hanslits. “And if you’re watching your weight or something like that, one of them is 4 ounces you know exactly how much it weighs.”
While many folks like Pippa enjoy getting their pasta to go, Nicole-Taylors also offers eat-in options.
“One of them we call The Backroom Eatery, which is our lunch room,” Hanslits said. “We’re only open for lunch, [from] 11am-3pm Tuesday through Saturday. We have a chalk board menu that changes quite often.”
“We always serve soup, salad, sandwiches and pasta dishes, so you can just come in and we always have something new and fun,” she added.
For a special occasion, there are the highly sought after reservations for their Chef’s Table.
“It’s a four-course meal for 8 to 10 people,” Hanslits said. “It’s your private group and my husband cooks a four-course meal in front of you… Everything is customized to the party and he cooks seasonally.”
Mann said she once enjoyed a special meal at the chef’s table with a group of friends to celebrate her birthday.
“My friends still all talk about coming here to Rosa’s to get dinner that night!” she said.
But there’s one catch when it comes to the Chef’s Table.
“It does sell out fast. We are sold out until the end of 2019,” Hanslits said. “2019 sold out in an hour and a half last year.”
Reservations are only open once per year, typically sometime in July, and must be made in person.
However, Hanslits said the date has not yet been released for this year, but she recommends to follow along on social media as the opening date should be released in the coming weeks.
“We advertise it though social media or you can come in the store or give us a call and we can give you a date,” she said.
Four Things You Need to Know About Nicole-Taylor’s Pasta and Market:
- Nicole-Taylor’s Pasta and Market is owned by Rosa Hanslits. Her husband is a local chef and after they’d closed their previous restaurant, they started making homemade pasta and selling it at local farmers markets. “And this was the next step was to open a little retail store and a production kitchen,” she said. 10 years later and Nicole-Taylor’s is still going strong.
- IndyCar driver has been a regular here for several years, typically placing a weekly order and always coming by for a bulk order to fuel her through the busy month of May. Her favorite products here include the meat sauce as well as a seasonal red wine pasta that is offered in the winter.
- The Chef’s Table at Nicole-Taylor’s Pasta and Market is so popular, dates for the entire 2019 year sold out in an hour and a half last year. Reservations typically open in July but Rosa said to watch their social media because she should be announcing the opening date for 2020 reservations sometime soon.
- Not only can you find Rosa’s fresh-made pastas and sauces. You can also find bread, oils, balsamic and other Italian classics as well as locally-sourced items. “ Happy peanut butter has been one of our big sellers. I think we were the second store to carry them here in Indianapolis… I love the fact that they are family-owned,” said Hanslits.
For more information about Nicole-Taylor’s Pasta and Market, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them on social media via Facebook and Instagram.
Want to explore some of Pippa’s other favorite local hot-spots? Check out some of her top picks: