In May of 2010 Industrial Revolution Eatery and Grille was opening its doors. The timing was perfect for Cary Knauff, who needed a job while finishing his Master’s degree in education. Cary was hired as a bartender and has been working and learning at the restaurant ever since.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s a good place to work, it has a real team atmosphere. We help each other out, which leads to good service for the customer.”
Cary and Industrial Revolution Eatery and Grille have a desire to provide excellent service in common.
“For me it always goes back to people,” Cary said. “The most important thing in life is the connections you make with people, actual physical face to face connections. The greatest moments come from spending time together. Industrial Revolution’s goal is to provide that great experience to our customers and for us to take pride in working here.”
Cary and the establishment also share a passion for teaching and history. How could Cary not take pride in working for a restaurant that includes a history lesson with every meal?
When he isn’t pouring drinks at the Industrial Revolution bar, Cary teaches German to students at Chesterton High School. Learning a foreign language is more than vocabulary and grammar, it’s a study of culture and heritage too. Cary believes it is important for people to see how other parts of the world live in order to see the similarities between us. History plays a huge role in the human experience as well.
“My second passion in education is history. I think it’s really neat that people come here to eat and can learn something,” Cary said.
The menu items and mixed drinks are named for historical figures and events. Each table has a biography of the “person of the week.” If you ask your server, or Cary the bartender, they can give you more information on them. The building itself is decorated in the style of its namesake, with lovely architecture, inspired artwork, and a working train driving overhead.
The restaurant has changed in the years since its opening, but Cary believes it is only for the better. Owner Mike Leeson is as dedicated to his business and personal standards as ever. Cary’s goal, at the school and at the restaurant, is to continue looking for new ways to enhance the experiences of his students and his customers.
“It’s a unique restaurant experience,” said Cary. “Obviously the food has to be great. But from the moment you walk through the parking lot you are getting a history lesson, an art lesson. You are getting a friendly face when you walk in the door. I love what is going on in downtown Valparaiso but it is great to have Industrial Revolution on Route 30, showing the people passing through what we have to offer.”