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Bistro, Brewery & Distillery is a Local Favorite

Writer / Amy Lant-Wenger
Photographer / Jubilee Edgell

It’s been said by many loyal customers, along with first-time guests, that Ruhe152 has become the restaurant that Nappanee never realized it needed.Ruhe152

The lush, progressively designed, and sleek environment of Ruhe152 has situated itself prominently in the heart of the city’s historic downtown district. The building that this establishment is housed within has been an integral fixture of the downtown business landscape for well over a century. The well-versed and award-winning staff of Ruhe152 has worked tirelessly to create a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere, where visitors won’t simply savor a meal. They are most certain to bask in a total immersion of the full Ruhe152 experience. Even the chosen name of the business, the use of the word Ruhe, alludes to a sense of restful camaraderie, derived from a German expression. The 152 refers to the address of the block.

Zach Lucchese, who has served as the Executive Chef for nearly a year, is always eager to showcase his culinary talents with traditional favorites like burgers and chicken, as well as more seasonal fare. Since opening its doors in 2019, Ruhe152 has become a destination spot for patrons both close to Wa-Nee and from distant metro regions. The combination brewery, distillery and bistro beckons diners to unique flavor combinations and menu options that often feature ingredients which are locally sourced. And the staff brings together a wealth of expertise to serve such sophisticated entrees and appetizers as chilled cantaloupe soup, tipsy tots with beer-infused queso, and miso ginger glazed salmon, just to name a few.

Another popular attraction to the Ruhe152 enterprise that lends a welcoming ambiance is the spacious bar and adjacent distillery. The bar also provides more than a few distinctive tastes and treasures directly from the Ruhe Brewery. The beers are handcrafted, which brings forth the talents of David Michael, who leads the creation process as the Head Brewer. The bartenders are prepared to serve a diverse range of cocktails, using house-made whiskey, rum and vodka. Ruhe Distillery also includes “Tranquila,” which has 100% agave spirits like tequila, but because it is not created in Mexico, the distillery staff had to tweak the name a bit. All of these liquors can be blended into custom cocktails for a drink that cannot be found or replicated elsewhere.

Beers from the Ruhe Brewery are also high in demand and quick to satiate every discerning palate. Many of the beers that originated in the local brewery have been presented in various public venues, such as beer festivals, and the awards and accolades continue to stream in.

Ruhe152Ruhe152 owner Scott Tuttle reflected on the journey to bring the distillery to its premiere in 2021, a situation that came with some unexpected surprises.

“We were able to fully open up our distillery in 2021, after having to wait 18 months from opening (Ruhe152), due to an archaic Indiana regarding breweries which also happen to be distilleries,” Tuttle says. “That has been exciting. We have our own vodka, run, spiced rum, gin, white whiskey and our traditional whiskey, which has been in barrels for almost a year now, with another year or so to go. All house drinks feature our in-house made spirits, unless specific brands of liquor are requested, and they have all been accepted by our patrons. In fact, some have commented about liking ours better than their previous favorites. All of our spirits are available by the bottle at Ruhe152.”

As Ruhe152 begins transitioning their menu to one with an autumn flair, Lucchese and Michael sat down with general manager Bobbi Gongwer to talk about another greatly anticipated development that lies just around the corner, so to speak. It might be considered as Ruhe152 with a twist.

The building adjacent to Ruhe152, directly to the west and located at the corner of Market and Locke streets, has been purchased by the ownership, and there are significant plans in store. The new space will be transformed into a casual hometown bar setting, where folks can spend time unwinding with friends over shared appetizers and sipping the renowned Ruhe brew. The menu will be comprised of lighter fare that is designed to pair well with specific types of beers.

They are hopeful that by summer of 2023, the kitchen area will be enlarged to accommodate the addition of pub favorites and banquet preparations, with the latter enabling the Ruhe staff to launch a catering feature. They envision a “brewpub” space, a more relaxed pace, and amenities such as large screen televisions for sporting events. Eventually, they said, there are plans to add music from live bands, and gaming equipment, with special themed events like trivia nights also being considered. Ruhe 152 also embarked on a recent collaboration with Biebs and Ash of Goshen, one which was very well received and generated a tremendous turnout. They are optimistic about continuing such local partnerships in the future.Ruhe152

Ruhe152 is open Tuesdays through Thursdays, 5-9 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from noon until 10 p.m. They are closed on Sundays and Mondays. To make reservations or to obtain more information, call 574-832-7843 or visit them online at ruhe152.com. The restaurant is located at 152 W. Market Street in downtown Nappanee.

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