I could’ve shopped around and I would have had to spend a lot of time, but my relationship with The Progress Fund was super-simple and the project was right up their alley in terms of repurposing a building with history.
When you buy a former speakeasy, the lore is part of the deal. In his years operating The Eastwood Inn restaurant, Drue Spallholz has heard the stories about his property and nearby buildings along Route 30 in Ligonier. According to the old-timers, they’ve sheltered illicit watering holes, brothels and high-stakes gambling hideaways, drawing mobsters and entertainers who could slip away via tunnels leading to an innocent diner. That diner later became a lawn-and-garden store, and Drue stopped in. “It’s a small structure,” he says, “but it has a phenomenal presence.” He vowed to restore its mystique.
The Progress Fund financed Drue’s purchase of The Eastwood Inn and he said it was a “no brainer” to apply again. The Progress Fund loaned him $200,000 to buy, renovate and equip the former diner.
Drue removed the drop ceiling and exposed the cathedral-like 25-foot peak. Also restored are the stonework and hand-carved wood fixtures — though the legendary tunnels have not been found. Most important is the building’s wholesome role in the community. Now serving lunch and breakfast (try the shrimp-chorizo-manchego omelet), Getaway Café gets locals and visitors talking, trading tips and tales. “It’s an easy place to start out a conversation,” says Drue. “I think that has something to do with the structure itself.”