The Ferguson House Attracts The Inn Crowd

A falafel gyro

THE FRAMED black-and-white photos of rural Brown County might seem like random decor on the pale-plum walls of The Ferguson House Bistro & Bar  in Nashville. But those richly detailed hill-country prints (many by Indiana photographer and newspaper columnist Frank Hohenberger, who famously chronicled the region during the early to middle 1900s) have special meaning inside this storybook two-story landmark. It began life in 1873 as Allie Ferguson’s boarding house, which often hosted area artists such as Hohenberger himself. Tucked just off Nashville’s main drag, the quaint two-story has housed an antique shop, a retail store, apartments, and now a family-run bistro and bar. Andi and Lance Bartels took over the property in 2019, and the restaurant debuted last October, eventually fortifying its small, seasonal menu with vegan goodies such as stuffed oven-roasted zucchini, spring pea soup, jackfruit tacos, and mango cake. “A lot of times, our plant-based specials will outsell our regular menu,” says Andi. “We have  people drive from Cincinnati just to eat here.”

The couple purchased the property—along with the adjacent Antique Alley—from the estate of Andi’s late father, Andy Rogers. In addition to bringing pan-seared flat iron steak and mascarpone cheesecake to the picturesque village, the Bartels gave The Ferguson House some tourist-friendly upgrades. This fall, Brown County leaf gazers can rehydrate at an outdoor beer garden tucked between the restaurant and Antique Alley, and if they enjoy a few too many strawberry margaritas, there are two cozy suites for rent above the restaurant. 78 Franklin St., 812-988-4042