Nathan Finney, owner of Social Cantina, The Tap, dies in small plane crash


Bloomington restaurateur Nathan Finney and a Chicago flight instructor died in a fiery Shelby County plane crash the day before Thanksgiving.

Finney was president and founder of Finney Hospitality Group, which owns The Tap, Tap Brewery, Yogi’s, SmokeWorks and Social Cantina in downtown Bloomington. Social Cantina also has locations in Indianapolis, Carmel, West Lafayette and Mishawaka.

Finney’s restaurant ownership began with The Tap in 2012. In 2015, an Indianapolis location for The Tap opened.

Mandy Baker, left, and Leslie Tait eat lunch at the Social Cantina in 2019.

Mandy Baker, left, and Leslie Tait eat lunch at the Social Cantina in 2019.

Finney’s company was awarded a contract to open a The Tap location in the Indianapolis Airport in 2023 and had plans to open a Social Cantina in Nashville, Tennessee, next year.

He had recently embarked on a venture to open 14 Slim Chickens in the Midwest.

Finney lived in Bloomington with his family. He and pilot Warren Bruhl were the only two on the plane, which Finney recently purchased and was learning to fly.

The day of the crash, Bruhl posted to Facebook photos and video of the two flying in Finney’s airplane, which according to different post by aircraft dealership Mason Amelia, he purchased on Nov. 13.

The Cirrus SR22 Turbo crashed in a cornfield near Fairland at 4:46 p.m. after a 41-minute flight that originated at the Monroe County Airport.

The crash happened near the Shelbyville Municipal Airport, about 55 miles northeast of Bloomington.

Gambit Aviation, where Bruhl was employed to teach students how to fly, confirmed in a Facebook post he had been killed in the crash.

“Please bear with us as we mourn the loss of one of our own. On Wednesday, Warren was involved in a tragic accident in a Cirrus … our hearts break for him, his family, and his friends.”

Bruhl was a chiropractor and a commercial pilot who taught East African youth the basics of flying so they could pursue aviation careers.

The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent federal agency, is leading the investigation into the crash.

FlightAware, a website that tracks air traffic, shows the aircraft first arrived at the Monroe County Airport Nov. 19 from South Carolina.

Later that day, the plane took off from the airport and landed there again one hour and 12 minutes later.

Nov. 20, the plane flew back and forth to Terre Haute, then to West Lafayette. From there, it flew back to Bloomington.

Nov. 21, the plane left the Monroe County Airport and flew to Nashville, Tennessee. The return trip that same day took two hours and eight minutes.

On Wednesday, Nov. 22, the plane departed and landed several times at the Monroe County Airport, then took off for the final time at 4:05 p.m. toward the Shelbyville airport. It was last seen on radar at 4:46 p.m.

Contact H-T reporter Laura Lane at llane@heraldt.com or 812-318-5967.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Bloomington restauranteur Nathan Finney dies in plane crash





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