When Patrick Wilkins set off to bring his favorite cuisine to Michigan City, he knew he needed a world-class chef to make his vision a reality. For that, Wilkins, a native to the Region, turned to Rick Bruggeman. Bruggeman has been with Patricks since it opened and to this day is known to serve some of the best steaks that Michigan City has to offer.
Bruggeman, originally from Chicago, found his love for cooking early. By age 14, he was working at one of the largest and most famous German restaurants in Chicago’s history, Zum Deutschen Eck. Simultaneously, Bruggeman attended Washburne Trade School and majored in Culinary Arts. In 1984, Bruggeman and his family relocated to Northwest Indiana, first working at “The Spa” for five years before becoming Executive Chef at Pottawattomie Country Club.
Wilkins was a member at the club and took note of Bruggeman’s culinary experience. With a strong vision of what he wanted his restaurant to be, Wilkins had a chat with Bruggeman.
“We started talking and everything went from there,” Bruggeman said. “He always had a dream of opening a restaurant, and we decided to do that together.” After more than 25 years of service at Pottawattomie Country Club, Bruggeman became Head Chef of Patrick’s Grille.
“I like everything about Patrick’s Grille,” Bruggeman said. “I like the freedom to try different things. We use the highest quality of meats and seafood. It’s always fun as a chef to use the best ingredients, and Patrick’s is all about that. On Friday nights, I get to do fish features, and that’s great. I like doing something different.”
Diners swooned over the fresh mahi-ahi, one of January’s Friday night fish features. The dish included char-grilled mahi-mahi with pineapple salsa, served with almond rice and fresh vegetables. Those who just couldn’t wait for dinner enjoyed the Crab Rockefeller Flatbread, an appetizer featuring spinach, bacon, lump crab, and parmesan cheese.
Patrick’s Grille has become a staple for those in Michigan City looking for fine dining with a comfortable, cosmopolitan atmosphere. The large menu features Saturday night prime rib,, local brewery selections on tap, and classic ice cream cocktail desserts. Behind the scenes, the dedication of Patrick’s Grille’s staff makes the restaurant a success.
“I’ve been really lucky. My kitchen staff is great,” Bruggeman said. “My core team has been here from the beginning, and as a chef, that’s really nice. We have really good service and our servers are just great. That’s something we pride ourselves on.” Bruggeman has found a home at Patrick’s Grille, serving the perfect blend of classic, flavorsome dishes and innovative, specialty features. Long-time patrons of Patrick’s Grille have a reason to be excited, as the restaurant will soon be rolling out new menu items.
Be on the lookout for new tasty dishes from Chef Rick Bruggeman at Patrick’s Grille this season. To learn more, please visit http://www.patricksgrille.com/.