The history of the Essenhaus is a story of growth, commitment, and genuine hospitality. In 1970, Bob and Sue Miller moved west from Sugarcreek, Ohio to Middlebury, Indiana. After arriving in Middlebury, the Miller’s purchased property on U.S. 20. The property contained a small 24-hour truck stop known as Everett’s Highway Inn.
After a week of minor repairs and cleaning, they reopened January 4, 1971, as an Amish-style restaurant complete with Amish and Mennonite cooks and wait staff. Open six days a week, there was some concern in the community about how these new residents would survive being closed on Sunday. The Miller’s held true to their convictions, feeling a day of rest, time for worship, and family fellowship for their employees was more important than offering 3 square meals a day 7 days each week.
Despite the odds, the Miller’s were committed to pursue their dream of establishing a solid business and much has changed since the early 70’s. Bob and Sue have witnessed their children and grandchildren develop an interest in the organization. Some of them are involved in the daily operations and strive to continue the traditions of the family-owned company.
The restaurant, flagship of the campus, has grown from 120 seats to over 1,100 and is considered the largest restaurant in Indiana. In addition to the world-famous restaurant, Das Dutchman Essenhaus also offers a home style bakery with over 30 varieties of pie, 6 unique gift shops and stores, an inn with 89 guest rooms, a 4,000 square foot conference center, catering capabilities (on and off-site), a wholesale food operation, and seasonal recreation all located on the Middlebury, Indiana property.