Hilton Swain was a Michiana banker and his wife Susie was a nurse when, in 1977, they decided to start a restaurant in Bremen. LaFree Lumber and Construction built them a large facility designed to resemble an L-shaped barn on the west side of town on US 6, and they called it The Mint Still. Their sons, Mike, Dan, and Andy helped in the construction and decoration.
Genuine barn wood siding enhanced the interior. Tables were made of 100-pound mint drums. They hired Kelly Beard as the chef. The menu offered a wide range of food, including beef, seafood, and chicken. The lobster and the T-bone steak specials were both $4.25. The South Bend Tribune review gave it a middling review, but the restaurant and adjoining cocktail lounge flourished.
The Swains closed the business in 1984. In 1986, the restaurant and lounge was bought by Elsie Zumbaugh, who had previously owned the Bremen A&W, starting in 1972. Elsie renovated, but maintained the basic layout of the place.
After 20 years, Elsie retired from the restaurant business herself in 2006, selling the building to the Bremen VFW, which had long wanted a building with easier access than their own–a split-level design that required patrons to go up or down stairs at the entrance.
The Bremen VFW is currently working to pay off the mortgage. You can help!
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