You are the owner of this article.

Lennie’s New Home Continues Community-based Traditions

  • 0
  • 4 min to read

Lennie’s is moving to 514 East Kirkwood after three decades as craft food and beer leader at 1795 East 10th Street.  

You’ve got until June 30 to experience the ambiance and history of an iconic space that opened in 1989 as the first to serve gourmet pizza, and in 1994 as southern Indiana’s first craft brewpub. 

What’s happening now at the 10th Street restaurant and brewpub is the nostalgic wrap-up of 30 years of revolving artwork on the restaurant and pub walls by local artists.

“The final show features two distinct exhibits, a retrospective in the dining room featuring work from past artists, staff and guests and a truly unique exhibit in the pub featuring the street style spray paint and stencil work from local graffiti legend David Ebbinghouse, aka Tom Cat Spray,” reports Michael Fox, director of operations.

“After hours, since early June, Ebbinghouse has been adding spray paint directly to the walls of the pub. The results are not only impressive but perpetually evolve as Ebbinghouse’s late night work continues. The community is encouraged to return frequently to see the progress.”

Matt Houghton, Lennie’s General Manager, enlisted the help of Sherry Rouse, Curator of Campus Art for IU and a Lennie’s regular, for a special final show at 10th Street.  “I saw the canvas, remembered the days of Tom Cat Spray and recognized a chance to make some magic,” said Rouse.

“The building is going to be demolished, which is what created my opportunity to bomb it,” said Ebbinghouse, adding that it will continue to evolve right up until the restaurant closes at the end of June.

“Our last day at 10th Street is Sunday, June 30. We're planning a parade, led by the Jefferson Street Parade Band and Pedal Pub, to our new home after brunch service,” emailed Michael Fox. “Around 2 pm, we'll gather at 10th St. We're taking a keg of our last brew at the original brewery, named ‘1242 Adieu’ because it was our 1,242 brew on that system. We’ll tap the keg at the new location and do an oven lighting ceremony in our new-to-us wood-fired oven. Please join us.” 

Starting early July, Lennie’s new space is within steps of IU’s Sample Gates. What stays constant is the upbeat locally sourced menu served from 11 a.m. until midnight Sunday – Thursday, and until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 

With the relocation, Dustin Bowman moves into head chef position to continue “to lead Lennie’s ongoing quest to offer guests a wide array of house-made options that includes vegetarian friendly, vegan and gluten free choices. Chef Fred’s menus are appealing to both the traditionalist and adventurist,”  touts Lennie’s website. “From our scratch soups and salad dressings, to our Italian meatballs and house-cured sausages, to our artisan pizzas and desserts, Lennie’s is committed to supporting local farmers and sustainable farms. Look in our coolers, and you’ll find pork from our own pigs at Loesch Farm, produce from Fischer Farms, Heartland Family Farms, Local Folks and more. During growing season, you’ll often find us at the Bloomington Farmers’ Market supporting our local economy and bringing the best of the season to our customers.”

Culinary Institute of America graduate Fred Manion “leads Lennie’s ongoing quest to offer guests a wide array of house-made options that include vegetarian-friendly, vegan and gluten-free choices. Chef Fred’s menus are appealing to both the traditionalist and adventurist,”  touts Lennie’s website. “From our scratch soups and salad dressings to our Italian meatballs and house-cured sausages to our artisan pizzas and desserts, Lennie’s is committed to supporting local farmers and sustainable farms. Look in our coolers, and you’ll find pork from our own pigs at Loesch Farm, produce from Fischer Farms, Heartland Family Farms, Local Folks and more. During the growing season, you’ll often find us at the Bloomington Farmers’ Market supporting our local economy and bringing the best of the season to our customers.”

Michael Fox adds, “There is a misconception that there won’t be any good parking at the new place. I've met with IU Parking and walked through the nearby IU lots, and there is A LOT of free parking available after 5 p.m. and weekends.” 

What changes at 514 E. Kirkwood is no on-site brewery. There’s no space for a brewery. All BBC beers on tap, in bottles, cans and carryout growlers will be coming via the off-site production brewery, overseen by head brewer Nick Banks. The nano-brewing system from the 10th street will be moved to the production brewery so experimental and small batch brews will continue to surface.

Expect to find the mainstays, including Ruby Bloom Amber, Rooftop IPA and Quarrymen Pale Ale, along with seasonals and specials, such as Seven Sips Belgian Strong Ale. Lennie’s also offers an extensive wine list.

To tour the brewery, make an appointment at: http://www.bloomingtonbrew.com/contact/ 

Here’s the back story from the website: “Located in the heart of Indiana University’s campus, Lennie’s introduced gourmet pizza to Bloomington in 1989. After a much-publicized conflict with Indiana University’s Dean of Students, Founders Jeff Mease and Helen “Lennie” Busch successfully obtained a permit to sell beer and wine at the restaurant. Imported and specialty beers were particularly popular, and it wasn’t long before the craft-beer bug bit the pair. In 1994, the Bloomington Brewing Company opened adjacent to the restaurant and became the first brewpub in southern Indiana.”  An annual Fall beer special is made with hops harvested from the vines at Loesch Farm.

 “I love beer,” says co-founder and CEO Jeff Mease, “but I didn’t come to the brewing industry so much through a love for beer as a love of LOCAL. Producing great beer, full of personality and flavor, is not the province of a few. Why shouldn’t each community have its own brewery? We love being Bloomington’s brewery.”

For a more in-depth profile, see pages 133-138 in True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana, published by Indiana University Press.

“At the Bloomington Brewing Company, we make beers that we like to drink. That’s the first rule,” states Jeff Mease. “Great ingredients and attention to detail is the second. Our goal is not to grow a large brewery operation; our intention is to make great beer that we like to drink–and to take care of our community.”

See organizations BBC supports here: http://www.bloomingtonbrew.com/about/#community

Find donation request form at: http://www.bloomingtonbrew.com/contact/

Learn more at: http://www.bloomingtonbrew.com/about/

One World Enterprises encompasses: Pizza X, Lennie’s, One World Commissary, One World KitchenShare,

Bloomington Brewing Co., One World Catering, HIVE, One World at Woolery and Loesch Farm.