Rua wants to finish its final phase of construction the way it began its life: with family, friends and community support.
As a result, Andrew Jones and Andrew Holladay, the chefs and proprietors at Rua, initiated a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign was created to help with “a few more lights to show the textured walls; a few more speakers to bounce around music; a few more tables to complete the dining experience; a little more paint to finish the bathrooms and a little more money to pay the bills,” the page says.
The campaign enables them to finish the project fighting for their authenticity and originality, both traits exhibited in the historic downtown building they are slowly transforming into a restaurant.
It’s obvious from conversing with both chefs that the Warsaw/Winona Lake community is an area they have an affinity for, an appreciation that has only grown since childhood.
“I grew up in this county and feel a strong connection to Warsaw. I started my catering business here, six years ago, because I felt bonded to so many great people living and working in the area. My wife and I live in Winona Lake with our three sons and we can’t imagine raising them anywhere else. This is home,” said Jones.
Holladay echoed the sentiment from Jones and explained his lifelong love for the city.
“I grew up on Main Street, played basketball at Warsaw High, swam at Pike Lake and went to the county fair,” he said.
It’s that connection to Warsaw that’s the fuel for the fire when it comes to opening Rua. Jones and Holladay see the potential that downtown Warsaw offers, and they want to polish it to a shine.
“I would love for Warsaw to be a dining and cultural destination and for Rua to play an integral role in that. We could have moved elsewhere to open a restaurant, but we recognize the value of our families, friends, and the support of this community,” Jones said.
For Holladay, the diamond in the rough aspect of Warsaw is a large part of the appeal.
“I left [Warsaw] and I’ve been cooking in Chicago for eight years and I’m back for many different reasons — one of them being that I think Warsaw’s downtown is beginning to bud. I only remember a handful of cool shops and restaurants growing up, but to see the potential that Warsaw has for growth — that makes me want to be a part of the path that Warsaw is taking,” he said.
The sentiment of old and new colliding to become a single cohesive idea reverberates off the very walls of Rua.
“Part of picking the Brennan building as our restaurant location is that the building is full of history; we’ve said it on social media, but everything — from the walls to the floors — are textured with history, and we want to preserve that. So I guess we want to mix where we’re coming from — our childhoods and this inherent history of Warsaw — with where we’re going and whatever that may blossom into,” said Holladay.
When asked what they were most excited about as that day inches closer, the excitement was palpable in their responses.
“The most exciting part of this process for me is cooking good food. As we complete the restaurant build-out, Andrew [Holladay] and I lament almost daily that we just want to get back in the kitchen,” Jones said.
Holladay expanded on Jones’ statement, adding that folks shouldn’t get too used to the same menu items.
“I’m excited to add our own twist to lunch and dinner, one of them being our changing menu. We plan on changing the menu often — if not daily, then weekly,” he said. “We want to show everyone in Warsaw that you can eat out often for lunch and dinner without breaking the bank — all the while getting something fresh and simple. Everyone will have to come eat at the restaurant to see how we pull that off.”
Holladay confessed that it hasn’t all been peaches and cream when it’s come to opening Rua, but the Andrews remain ever positive and both seem to find the silver lining in all things.
“Opening this restaurant might be the hardest thing I’ve done in my life, and the impact it’s having on my own life is all encompassing. From having to figure how to mud drywall to how many outlets go into the dining room to how to work with a business partner, opening this restaurant is slowly shaping my work ethic and thought process. And I love every minute of it!”
If you would like to help these two young up and coming chefs realize their dream, you can find their Kickstarter campaign here.
Reward levels include Facebook shout outs, a sneak peek at the restaurant before opening day, reservations for opening night and renting out half the restaurant. There’s also an all inclusive package for $10,000 that stops just short of making you a partner in the business.
The campaign for new improvements ends at 1 a.m. Monday, Aug. 16. As of publication, there have been 16 backers for the campaign with a total of $3,585 pledged toward their $15,000 goal.
Rua will find its home at 108 E. Market Street in downtown Warsaw.