Andrew Holladay (L) and Andrew Jones are co-owners of Rua, a new restaurant that features international street fare. The restaurant is located at 108 E. Market St., Warsaw.  Photo by Dan Spalding, Times-Union.
Andrew Holladay (L) and Andrew Jones are co-owners of Rua, a new restaurant that features international street fare. The restaurant is located at 108 E. Market St., Warsaw. Photo by Dan Spalding, Times-Union.
Andrew Jones and Andrew Holladay are hoping to attract not only people who are hungry to their new restaurant, Rua, but also inquisitive.
The co-owners of downtown Warsaw’s newest restaurant took off the paper coverings on the front windows and the sign Tuesday after years of dreaming and months of construction inside the old Brennan Pharmacy at 108 E. Market St.
Rua, which is Portuguese for street, will feature international street fare and the menu is built around the idea of sharing, a concept both men enjoy when they are out dining with their significant others.
“When we go out to eat, yes, we’re hungry, but we like to try new stuff, and a lot of times, it’s too expensive to get more than one or two things,” Holladay said.
 “I think there is a market for inquisitive eaters,” he said.
Many of the dishes and ingredients available at Rua might not be standard fare for local residents, but it features internationally recognized tastes.
Some of the items available this week include lamb meatballs, shiitake mushrooms, macadamia nuts and naan. Another dish features orzo, chile, reluctant trading paprika, squash and pecorino.
They said the menu is aimed at offering inexpensive lunches as well as unique dinners.
The menu is also unique in that it lists items from smallest and least expensive to the bigger, more expensive entrees. The mid-range items are more like appetizers big enough to share.
“We wanted to stay away from anything that was trendy and of the moment. We wanted to do something that was comforting. We felt street food had the characteristics that would inspire us,” Holladay said.
The menu is expected to change often.
“Really, it allows us to do anything we want with any flavor profile in the world, which we both love that,” Jones said.
Jones, 33, worked for years at Cerulean in Winona Lake and Kelly Jae’s Cafe in Goshen before establishing a catering company, Viand Chef Services, in Warsaw.
Holladay, 29, went to Indiana University to be a teacher, and was nine credits short of a degree when he realized he wanted to cook for a living. His girlfriend, Maura Davis, who is the restaurant’s general manager and oversees the dining area, beverages and hiring, was fully supportive of the change in plans and the couple soon moved to Chicago where Holladay worked in several roles, including head chef, at Lula Cafe.
The dream of opening a restaurant came together between the longtime friends after years of off-and-on discussions. They knew they wanted it to be in the downtown and especially liked the idea of remodeling the Brennan building. When the building became available last year, they jumped at the opportunity.
The restaurant includes a family area, a bar area and a banquet room called the Brennan Room, in honor of the longtime pharmacy that closed years ago.
It was designed with an open view of the kitchen and a row of seats allow for a close-up view of the kitchen activities.
They describe the vibe as rustic, approachable and comforting.
The interior is raw and minimalist with a mid-century charm that features old school chairs and tables with both smooth, refurbished wood and stainless steel tops.
There is very little art on the walls and the ambiance relies on simple textures of wood, brick, plaster and concrete.
As plans started to come together, they conveyed their idea of an interior design to Holladay’s father, Scott Holladay, who owns Holladay Graphics in Warsaw.
Andrew Holladay describes his father as “a maniacal genius.”
“What he’s done here, I think is amazing,” he said. “I would put this design anywhere in any big city.”
Jones adds, “We could not be more pleased.”
In January, they began renovating the building
In February, they rebranded the catering business into Rua and have been slowly shifting the menu to match the restaurant.
The owners prepped for the opening with a series of pop up dinners and private gatherings to work out the details.
Reaction was reassuring and business during the first few days has been good.
“We’re just gonna have fun with it. It’s definitely going to be different,” Jones said.
The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Fro more details, call 574-267-4730.