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Typically, I’m a big fan of irony, and then there is this: the only non smoking bar in Rensselaer had a smoke issue keeping people away. So ironic that a second grader could identify it and ironic enough to slightly dull the frustration of knowing if the problem didn’t get solved fast, the STATION would be dead by February.

Upon the closing announcement of SJC last year, we significantly altered our business plan and use of the space as we decided to continue with construction. These changes took away our aggressive tourism angle as the microbrewery didn’t any longer make fiscal sense at the time. Outside of all the components that make a great experience, we still wanted as a focal point; enter a huge wood fired brick oven.

Wood fired brick ovens aren’t new; in fact, it is one of the oldest methods to cook. Europe made it famous and today it is small niche market in America. Locally, there are brick ovens in Crown Point, Valparaiso, and Lafayette. Instead of getting a prefabricated unit delivered like those, we wanted a fully custom made authentic brick oven that was big enough to accommodate a full house.  Custom, artisan made designs can sometimes create custom problems…

Opening in summer didn’t provide much of a challenge for the oven; warm, calm sunny days make it easy. Once the weather shifted, small changes began taking place and ultimately, full blown smoke rolled out. This, obviously, was a major issue that made ozone alert days in 1970’s California look like fluffy white clouds in the care bears home of Care-a-lot.

We began trying every combination of factors that could have made this smoke issue occur. The wood, the oven, the chimney, the flue, the air pressure…everything was looked at. We even turned to science. I learned a lot about negative pressure syndrome. We punched a hole through brick to balance the negative pressure with positive air pressure.  Nope.


Finally, we installed new equipment, brought in an ozone machine, created the positive air pressure flow, and touched up the dome work and now, we are smoke free.

As relieving as it is to have solved the problem after a month and a half of doing whatever we could to fix the issue, it’s equally frustrating that we had to endure this with our guests. Nobody wants to come eat lunch and head back to work smelling like a campfire, we totally get that for sure and are sorry that it has happened.

Naturally, all our guests that hated the haze of smoke we’ve experienced the past several weeks, we ask you try us out again. To celebrate our “exhausting” journey to becoming smoke free, we are going to begin incorporating lunch and happy hour specials:

Lunch Specials(11am-2pm): Pick 2 - Soup / Salad / Sandwich Combo - $11


Any pizza combo with soda - $7

Happy Hour Specials (2pm-4:30pm): 25% off appetizers

also, this saturday (16th) evening, we have a great comedy night staring Danny Browning. Doors open at 9pm on the venue side. HERE IS THE TICKET LINK

Because of the time spent to resolve the smoke issues, we have pushed back the winter menu just a bit. Nonetheless, I'm extremely excited about a couple of the options that are being added for the winter. We will also be rolling specials soon with other fun items. 

Thank you for everyone's patience. Having this behind us will help allow us to become creative again and bring more surprises to the eMbers. 

ryan musch

The STATION at eMbers, 230 West Washington Street, Rensselaer, IN, 47978