Ever hear of Perkinsville? Few have but this village in the middle of nowhere goes back to 1821 when the first white settler pitched a tent near the White River. In 1825, William Parkins arrived and built a cabin.
In 1837, Perkinsville was platted. The filing was supposed to be Parkinsville.
Later, the A. J. Applegate General Store opened. It sold everything!
In 1934, Chuck Bonge bought the original store and opened a tavern. Eventually it set empty for years. In the mid-1990’s, local restauranters, Tony Huelster and Don Kroger, discovered the property. They had a vision to restore Bonge’s Tavern to a destination restaurant.
After extensive restoration, the vison became a reality when they opened in 1997, and a legend was born. Soon thereafter, Tony and his wife became sole-owners.
Initially, the tavern took no reservations, but as the reputation grew, people came hours before the 4:30 opening to tailgate in the parking lot while hoping to capture a table. The tavern installed a port-a-pot and encouraged patrons to bring tailgating goodies.
The legend grew, and tailgating turned chaotic. So, the tavern changed to reservations-only. Still folks arrive early and sit in the beer garden until their table is called.
As you turn off Ind. 13, you meander along the White River to the tavern. What immediately catches your attention is that it’s a throw-back. The restoration retained the original tavern décor including nostalgic signs of the time everywhere.
When your name is called, the door is unlocked, and you walk into a time capsule! The décor is a mash-up. Pennants adorn the walls and funky light strings dangle across the ceiling. The wood floor, bar and bar back-drop are original. There is no seating at the bar, but there are five booths and six tables.