On the banks of the Wabash

Rod and Gun Steakhouse serves steak with a side of history

Posted on Dec 22 2020 in Indiana Eats
John Dillinger
Gangster John Dillinger enjoyed going to Rod and Gun Steakhouse back in the Prohibition era. The Rosedale restaurant’s private dining rooms were perfect spots not just to eat but to also gamble and drink. Patrons nowadays enjoy Rod and Gun’s mouthwatering steaks and other delicious menu items.

The Rod and Gun Steakhouse in Rosedale offers diners something that most restaurants can’t — a tasty steak dinner plus a side of scandalous history.

Located just north of Terre Haute on the Wabash River, the restaurant — originally called the Spring Brook Rod and Gun Club — opened in 1921. A favorite hangout of Hoosier-born John Dillinger and other Chicago gangsters during Prohibition’s heyday, the restaurant’s private dining rooms were perfect hideaways to indulge in a little illegal gambling and drinking. The gun club’s original owner, Terre Haute businessman Eddie Gosnell, was married to one of Terre Haute’s most notorious madames of the 1920s-‘40s, Edith Mae Brown, and had his own lurid reputation as a bootlegger and gambler with
mafia ties.

Bob Johnson, the Rod and Gun’s current owner, has worked at the restaurant since 1948, when he was just 11 years old. When he was 18, Johnson took a job as Gosnell’s bodyguard. The walls of the steakhouse are lined with Johnson’s memorabilia from the restaurant’s bygone days when dinner could be someone’s last supper.

Though the original gun club burned down in 1970, the current building still offers private room dining options. The menu includes strip steaks, filets and ribeyes — all USDA choice or higher — or freshly ground (from beef tenderloin) burgers. Pork chops, chicken, shrimp, catfish and tilapia are the other protein options. Entrees are served with a choice of potato, side salad and a dinner roll. Chicken wings — and margaritas — are the weekly special on Thursday nights.  

From the 1920s to the 2020s, the Rod and Gun Steakhouse has been a mainstay for the notorious, noteworthy (former President Ronald Reagan dined there), and legions of normal folks looking for a good meal. Just head for the building with “Rod & Gun Club” emblazoned on it.

If you go …

Rod and Gun Steakhouse
2525 E. Lambert Ave., Rosedale

Hours: 5–10 p.m.