By Nancy Larner Ruschman
Introducing Jason Ammerman, new General Manager of the soon-to-be-opened Bonna Station, the first restaurant-pub in Irvington that will carry spirits (not the ghostly kind, at least as far as we know). Jason has a long history of managing bars and restaurants and will now bring his talents to Irvington.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Just shy of 45 years old, I am the father of an amazing young man named Jude and serve as the General Manager of Bonna Station located at 130 S. Audubon. I have worked in the restaurant and bar industry over the past 25 years, taking brief respites in the fields of criminal justice as a paralegal/victim advocate, and in education as a special needs teaching assistant among other jobs outside of these fields.  I am a writer by trade.  I have three books of poetry published and at present am working on a spoken word/poetry album with musical backing. Past restaurant experience includes the prestigious Columbia Club and Griggsby’s Station in Greenfield (named after the James Whitcomb Riley poem and owned by the same proprietors as Bonna Station) where I developed their bar program when the establishment opened. I returned to Indianapolis to take a position with Louie’s Wine Dive on Mass Ave and became their beverage director. In March of 2018 I returned to Irvington to helm one of the most beautiful restaurant/bar establishments I have ever seen. I consider it an absolute blessing to be on the right side of history in opening this first of its kind in Irvington.

How long have you lived and/or worked in Irvington?

I moved to Irvington in 2009 after getting married and have lived here off and on since. For the past 13 years I have led the Thursday night poetry reading at both Lazy Daze and then 10 South Johnson coffeehouses at different points in their existences respectively.  I have always wanted to work here, in the Irv. This opportunity to lead Bonna Station is a gift that I humbly accept.

How did you first hear of Irvington and why did you move here?

I heard of Irvington as a child.  My grandmother, who lived in Beech Grove, used to talk about Irvington. Two of my best friends moved here in the early 2000s.  I began spending time here then, frequenting establishments like the old Lazy Daze coffeehouse.  And the churches! I love this community’s dedication to faith! The local business support, the support of faith based organizations and Irvington’s love and dedication to her history are all the main reasons for me (personally) wanting to live here. Irvington has some amazing character – a jewel in Indianapolis.  She is growing but in a way that maintains her traditional roots while envisioning a growth that will allow for relevancy and care for her neighbors.  I have always been impressed with Irvingtonians’ dedication to community, friendship and inclusiveness. Irvingtonians possess a unique ability to balance honesty and accountability without taking themselves too seriously.  I find this admirable. The Irv is a melting pot of local commerce and attractions that bring in folks from outside of Irvington – even our corporate entities like Starbucks have that personable touch that is unique to communities like Irvington. I believe that every resident who supports local through commerce as a business owner, operator, or patron is an intricate part to the sustainability of Irvington.  I’d like to think that the founding settlers of Irvington are pretty pleased with how we are taking care of this community.

What do you do for fun?

I spend a lot of time with my son.  He’s going on six years old, so he is at an age where he just loves life.  He is quirky, joyful and just a blast to be around.  Outside of that, I write poetry, read poetry and enjoy music. I also love history. I like to research history. I find the best representation of history is hiding in between the lines of the tales of our past. Like ghost stories, I find the characters of the story extremely fascinating to the point that I like to research their own stories beyond the short spooky one. Loving ghost stories fits right into being in Irvington, right?

Why are you a member of Irvington Development Organization?

We are a unique establishment in that we will possess the first full service alcohol license (liquor, beer and wine) in Irvington history. IDO has been instrumental in assisting and supporting us throughout this endeavor. IDO is the backbone structure needed to help build local business in Irvington, which is why we are members of IDO. From the moment that our idea for Bonna Station was born, IDO and Irvington were embracing and supportive.  We are so appreciative that we are a part of a community family.  We are definitely supportive of IDO and Irvington.

If you were Mayor of Irvington for a day, what changes would you make?

I find it difficult to want to change anything about the Irv. I could list the usual concerns and issues but Irvingtonians do a fantastic job to maintain our beautiful community. I see the Irvington Summer Music Series (formerly the Folk Festival) as a big hit. The Halloween Festival is one of the most famous festivals in the country and it would be nice to see more festivals like this.  A spoken word/poetry festival in April, National Poetry Month, or establish a community arts collective where artists can rent out studio space or office space, would be nice. We have a successful brewery here. Attracting a distillery operation would be beneficial as well. There are less than 20 distilleries in Indiana so having one in our backyards would be a draw to the area. Perhaps these ideas are already being pursued. I’m never surprised by the innovation of our community, and I, personally, consider Irvington home for this very reason.