FORTVILLE – Preston Zwolle is putting the final touches on his new restaurant, DuLit, as his May 1 opening day approaches on the corner of Main Street and Broadway Street.

With ‘Du’ meaning you in German and ‘Lit’ symbolizing fire and light, Zwolle said he wanted the name of the restaurant to be something that stands out – different from the typical restaurant names someone may see. As far as options of what to eat, Zwolle said the diversity of menu options makes DuLit a unique experience that can appeal to all, even those with dietary restrictions.

For DuLit’s menu, Zwolle said that a third of the menu offers lactose-free options, a third for those who have a gluten sensitivity and a third for those with no dietary restrictions.

“I think that the amount of gluten free options — not that the whole menu is gluten free — but having those options widely spread out on my menu and the lactose intolerant side of things also incorporated in that, I think those things make DuLit unique,” Zwolle said. “The variety plus the ability to serve as many different dietary restrictions as we do.”

Zwolle said he has been working in the restaurant industry for approximately 15 years now, but the inspiration to have his own restaurant with the menu variety DuLit offers came from a personal dieting and workout regime, where he cut out gluten and dairy, and in doing so he had to learn to cook meals and create recipes for himself and his family.

In his past years working in the restaurant industry as a manager, Zwolle said some work weeks would be as long as 50 to 70 hours long. While he knows in the beginning of DuLit’s journey he will be busy, Zwolle said that this being his own creation creates a spark of excitement, and he can’t wait to get started.

Zwolle lives in Lawerence with his wife and two children, but with his wife visiting Fortville to get her hair done, they discovered the building was available for lease. Zwolle said with the building being free-standing, not too big for his first restaurant and located right by the main streets in Fortville, he fell in love with the location.

Zwolle also said the timing was perfect, getting to start business as it gets warmer outside to allow people to enjoy the outside seating as well.

“It was just ideal for what I wanted to do,” Zwolle said.

In the last week before opening doors for business, Zwolle said there are just a few things left to do, such as repainting the lines for the parking spots outside and getting the propane for the three featured heaters displayed.

Zwolle said that with the three heaters, every night they will be lit to provide lighting and warmth, adding to the overall feeling DuLit wants to bring to the community.

“It’s going to create an ambiance outside that is, you know, people driving past are going to see those fires lit, and they’re going to wonder what’s going on or people sitting outside after dark will have those fires,” Zwolle said.

Adding to the ambiance on the inside, DuLit features unique and modern lighting, a fireplace and an artwork display done by Zwolle himself. Zwolle said he wanted to create an overall feeling of warmth mixed with modern, providing a place for someone to be able to bring their family for dinner to couples looking for a place for date night.

Zwolle also shared that he has received a lot of feedback from the community with the few posts he has shared about DuLit, giving small hits of what is to come, such as two house made cheese sauces, one being lactose-free, and their slow-roasted pulled pork – menu items that Zwolle highlighted as some of his favorites.

“I think they’re excited about the new restaurant, and I’m not trying to give it all away with one post,” Zwolle said. “So I’m leaving a little bit of a mystery to cause people to talk.”

Zwolle received the keys to the building March 1 and said he is proud of what has been accomplished in the past two months leading up to the opening day.

With bringing a restaurant that has variety of options, Zwolle said even if a menu item says gluten free or lactose free, it still is an option that everyone can enjoy and doesn’t limit the options – such as nachos, something almost everyone enjoys, and is gluten free because of the corn tortilla chips.

Officially opening May 1, hours posted on the door read Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and staying open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.