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A Taste of Chicago

Rush on Main brings Chicago-style dishes to Zionsville

Writer / Jon Shoulders
Photographer / Brian Brosmer

For the past 12 years, Crown Point native Jeff Sepiol contemplated opening his own Chicago-style restaurant to celebrate the type of food he grew up on — savory Italian beef sandwiches, Polish sausages, chili cheese dogs and the like. A 22-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Sepiol’s career had brought him and his family to many different cities but none seemed optimal for the venture.

After relocating to Zionsville from Louisville in 2010, the pieces immediately started falling into place for Sepiol’s culinary dream. He became friends with Johnny Vargo, a neighbor and a fellow native of northwest Indiana (an area often referred to as the Region) who shared his fondness for Chicago food and culture, and the two began discussing the possibility of opening a Chicagoland-influenced eatery right in Zionsville.

“Zionsville was really the catalyst for me,” Sepiol recalls. “Johnny and I live in the same neighborhood, and our kids are the same age and are friends. Both of our families love it, and with the restaurant idea we wanted to provide the same type of hospitality the city has given us since we moved here.”

In February of last year, while searching for the right spot to purvey the Windy City dishes they remain passionate about, Sepiol and Vargo visited a unique downtown space at Main and Oak streets and knew they’d found the right location. By the time June rolled around, Rush on Main was up and running.

“We’re lucky in that we have an interior that is really unique with exposed beams and bricks — it feels like a Chicago pub,” Sepiol says. “That helps. There’s not too many people doing this type of food in central Indiana.”

Rush on Main’s Italian beef, fish tacos, Bavarian pretzels and burgers have been among its most popular dishes as the restaurant embarks on its second year of operation. Sepiol plans to continually add and subtract items seasonally to keep things fresh for customers and occasionally feature live acoustic music.

“Our burgers are a huge seller — nobody around here is really doing anything like it,” Sepiol says. “They’re the burgers we ate as kids, so we try and replicate them here. We smash them on a flat top and get them crispy and that draws a ton of flavor to the surface of the burger.”

Sepiol and Vargo drew on a few legendary Chicago eateries like Portillo’s and Al’s Italian Beef for inspiration, and carefully selected their staff members to provide a welcoming ambience.

“Finding good people to work here was our biggest concern from the start. The people that work here make people who come here feel important and special,” Sepiol says. “I think that’s helped to create a little bit of loyalty. It’s a space where families can bring their kids, and they can be themselves. They can be quiet or they can be loud. We’re a laid-back, be-yourself type of place.”

Sepiol and Vargo are currently working with a developer to launch a second restaurant location in Brownsburg by 2018, and the partners plan to retain Rush’s focus on fresh, authentic Chicago-style dishes.

“The beauty is our volume allows us to do everything from scratch, in-house every day,” Sepiol says. “The bigger you get the harder that is to do, and it becomes a different product. Our signature dishes have to be perfect every time. No matter what happens in our future, we’re always going to have a restaurant that has a size that allows us to continue to do it that way.”

For additional information on Rush on Main, call 317-344-2416 or visit rushonmain.com.

About Jon Shoulders

One comment

  1. We're from northwest Indiana and always make Rush on Main a stop on our way to Indy. Loved the article "A taste of Chicago" by Jon Shoulders". Can't wait for their next restaurant to open.

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