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For 40 years, Das Dutchman Essenhaus, an Indiana-based inn and restaurant, has been a favorite of locals and tourists.Co-owners Sue Miller and her husband Bob Miller say Essenhaus is best known for giving tourists a taste of the area's Amish-Mennonite culture since 1971. 

"Our niche is home-style cooking with homemade breads and pies—making everything from scratch—and buggy rides, which help our customers experience the Amish culture," Sue said. "We do not sell alcohol and we are closed on Sundays to our give our employees opportunities for church or family activities."

In addition to being a popular shopping stop for bus tours, Essenhaus hosts retreats and special events, including weddings and family reunions. With 96 guest rooms and ample open space, the facility offers an ideal atmosphere for social gatherings. "It's a pleasure to see families come together and have a great time," Sue said.

Even though Essenhaus is firmly rooted in the community, the Millers continue to look for new trends, such as a lighter menu and ways to supplement business during the off-season. One of their unique ventures is making homemade noodles, which they provide wholesale to stores in 48 states. 

Still, Essenhaus was not immune to the economic downturn. "Food costs are extremely high, especially in our wholesale foods division where we make noodles," Sue said. "Wheat prices are very volatile; when that cost goes up just a little bit, it makes quite a difference." Like many  in the hospitality business, the Millers had to make difficult choices to survive the recession, including cutting jobs and freezing wages for a year.

But as the economy recovers, things are still looking up. The Millers’ goal for Essenhaus is to pass the reins to their grown children, who are now active in the daily operations of this unique destination business.

For more information please visit: www.essenhaus.com
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