Jeff Mease and Lennie Busch were college sweethearts, living just up the street in Wright Quad in the early 1980's. Jeff founded the first Pizza Express (now Pizza X) in 1982. Jeff and Lennie were married in 1983 and then opened Lennie's together in 1989. The two divorced in the early 90's but have retained a remarkable business partnership and friendship.
Lennie's introduced Bloomington to gourmet pizza, and back in 1989, Lennie's menu paired great with beer, particularly imports and the new craft brews that were only beginning to become popular. It wasn't long before the craft beer bug bit and as Lennie's beer list grew, so did Jeff's passion for craft beer. Prior to pursuing his Bloomington Brewing Co. brewpub project, Jeff worked closely with state legislators Mark Kruzan and Vi Simpson to reform antiquated state laws that made it illegal for a restaurant to make and sell beer on premise. In 1994, after success at the Indiana General Assembly and extensive research and sampling breweries around the country, the Bloomington Brewing Company opened adjacent to Lennie's. It was the first brewpub in southern Indiana.
At Lennie's, you'll likely find IU professors enjoying pints after class, groups catching a bite after an IU Auditorium performance, or couples enjoying a first date. Lennie's friendly, cozy environment, and great food attract a diverse crowd. Culinary Institute of Arts (CIA) grad Chef Fred Manion keeps the kitchen steady with perennial guest favorites and innovative specials. Chef Fred is a locavore at heart; and creates some amazing charcuterie, some with pork from our own woodland hogs from Loesch Farm. Lennie's supports local farmers and believes in sustainably sourced ingredients. We're also proud to serve Bloomington Brewing Company's unfiltered, artisan ales, fresh from the source.