NAPPANEE — A newly opened restaurant in Nappanee is creating fresh enthusiasm downtown – if no other reason than it offers another dining option.
“People have been very excited about this for a long time, so on Saturday and Sunday there were some long waits,” Gary Nephew, co-owner of Ruhe152, said about the recent opening.
Aside from fast-food locations, downtown Nappanee has few restaurants, and even fewer are open late.
“We don’t have a lot of options,” Chamber of Commerce president Jeff Kitson said.
El Cielito Lindo, Hunter’s Hideaway, Panthers Pizza, Dutch Kitchen, Mancinos, Panther Pizza, Main Street Coffee House, US 6 Diner and Amish Acres, along with a small group of fast-food options on the east side of town, are the only dining options in the city of almost 7,000.
“We’re very excited to add another restaurant downtown,” Kitson said. “This will give people more options and more choices and give them an opportunity to sample more beverages and foods they can’t get at other establishments.”
Ruhe152 offers a menu unlike anything else offered in the city. The building is different from others nearby as well.
“Everything is very unique and intentional,” Nephew said. “The environment that we created is really three very different environments for people to relax in and we really put a lot of emphasis on relaxing.”
“Ruhe” is the German word for relax, and the number is the address on West Market Street.
At 10,000 square feet, the building has a seating capacity of over 300, with sections functioning as a brewery, a family dining area and a lounge.
“The back of building has an industrial feel. Through the glass windows inside, guests 21 and over can see brewing tanks and brewing equipment. It’s the third largest bar in the county. Multiple mixologists can many any drink a customer would ever want,” Nephew said, with plenty of varieties of whiskey, bourbons, rums, gins and vodkas and handcrafted cocktails of their own imagination. Craft beer is brewed on site.
The front of the building is an elegant family dining location and the loft features a lounge with couches and chairs.
Originally from New York, Nephew decided to live in Nappanee where his wife was raised, and came to be interested in opening a brewery in Nappanee a few years ago, after he helped his friend open a brewery in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
His co-owner, Scott Tuttle, a Nappanee native, had been mulling the idea of opening a restaurant downtown.
“Due to a lack of options in our area, they had always been interested in opening a restaurant here,” Nephew said.
The two decided that, rather than divide their efforts, they could work together to make a one-of-a-kind spot in Nappanee.
“Every person that has walked in so far when they have a comment, the two comments we’ve heard most often are, ‘Are we in Chicago?’ or ‘Are we in Las Vegas?’ It feels like the building transported you to downtown Chicago.”
In the early going, the most popular dishes have been sushi, steaks and mac ‘n’ cheese skillets.
“All of our food is made from scratch,” Nephew said. “It’s a very different experience than any place else in Elkhart County, that’s for sure.”
“It’s hard to explain without seeing it. This is an incredibly unique environment.”
Ruhe 152 is located at the former Market Street Tap and Dine, 152 W. Market St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Monday.
Find them on Facebook, call 574-832-7843 or visit www.ruhe152.com for more information.