Brick House Grill owners fulfill a dream with restaurant opening

Brick House Grill owners Andrew Sprinkle and Garin Stephan (front, fourth and fith from left) cut the ribbon to open their new restaurant at 19 W. Washington St., Huntington, on Thursday, April 16.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Huntington's newest restaurant is the result of a friendship forged in high school - and the help of a lot of family and friends.

"We met in foods class at Huntington North," says Garin Stephan, co-owner of the Brick House Grill at 19 W. Washington St. "We've been doing food together ever since."
Running their own restaurant, co-owner Andrew Sprinkle adds, is something that's "been in the back of our heads forever."

With the opening of the restaurant on Thursday, April 16, that dream has become reality.

The pair's Web site (www.brickhousegrill.org) characterizes the Brick House Grill as "somewhere between your typical franchise restaurants and fine gourmet dining."

The two envisioned an upscale restaurant featuring steaks and seafood, Stephan says, with "kind of a cool big city atmosphere." They sought the help of local decorator Jane Leist to achieve that atmosphere.

The food, though, is all theirs.

Their signature bourbon glaze barbecue sauce is featured in many of the entrees. The prime aged steak - offered as "Lime City Sirloin" - is "amazing," Sprinkle says. So are the crab cakes, he adds.

"The appetizers, I think, are what's going to be setting us apart from everybody else," Stephan says. Their specialty is a stuffed jalapeno wrapped in bacon.

A full menu is listed on the Web site.

The two have been cooking together since graduating from Huntington North High School in 2000. They followed up the foods class at HNHS with culinary school at Ivy Tech, and then spent some time cooking together at Nick's Kitchen in downtown Huntington. For the past 4-1/2 years, they've been cooking at Fort Wayne's Lutheran Hospital - and dreaming of striking out on their own.

They'd looked at the former Poff's Place when it first came on the market, but decided the price wasn't right. But when it went up for auction three months later, Larry and Peggy Wells - friends of Stephan's mom - asked if Stephan and Sprinkle would be interested in running a restaurant there. They were, the Wellses bought the building, and Sprinkle and Stephan are now buying it from them.

Friends and family members pitched in to get the restaurant ready for its opening. Renovations started in January.

"It's been overwhelming the amount of help we've had for nothing," Stephan says.

The Brick House Grill is open for lunch and dinner. Hours are Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturday's from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It features a full bar, with about 18 different wines and several signature drinks, Stephan says.

"It is a bar, but it's a restaurant first," he adds.

Dinner reservations can be made by calling 224-6696. Reservations are not required, but are suggested.

"We don't want upset people because they can't get in here," Stephan says.

The Brick House Grill has also worked out a deal with The Uptown across the street. People waiting for a table at the restaurant can go across the street for a before-dinner drink, and will be notified by two-way radio when their table is ready.

Patrons will dine to jazz and blues tunes, with live music a possibility in the summer. Outdoor seating will also be added this summer, Stephan and Sprinkle say.

In addition to the restaurant, Stephan and Sprinkle are also operating a catering service for any size event.