Indiana University Northwest is teaching Michael Vargas the technical side of Criminal Justice, however his job as a server at Industrial Revolution Eatery and Grille is helping him attain the real-life skills needed to achieve his dream of being a homicide detective.
Vargas started working for Industrial Revolution a year and a half ago as a cook, having always had the knack for working in the kitchen. Thanks to the private ownership of the restaurant, and the atmosphere that brings, Vargas and the other cooks had the opportunity to channel their creativity to come up with some truly unique entrees.
At Industrial Revolution, each dish comes with a history lesson. As a cook, Vargas considered the ways in which a sandwich could personify a historical figure, and now as a server, he passes what he learns about each figure to the restaurant guests.
“You can feed people’s brains while you feed their stomachs,” Vargas said. “Anytime you get to learn something new is pretty cool.”
New Vistas High School in Portage fed Michael’s brain. Traditional high school was not a good fit for the aspiring detective, so he made a transfer to the city’s adult education program. After graduating with a Core 40 degree, he attended Ivy Technical Institute for an associate’s in Criminal Justice.
He is now pursuing a Bachelor degree in Criminal Justice at Indiana University Northwest.
“I wanted to do something with my life that I could look back on and feel good about,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot of bad in my life. But if you are the change you want to see, others will see that in you and want to change too.”
Vargas moved around a lot during his childhood. Over the years, he has seen the bad neighborhoods, the broken homes, and too many families hurting.
“I want to do what I can to mitigate it,” he said.
It was a brave decision on Vargas’ part to switch to a front of the house position and move from the cook job to a serving job, but he doesn’t regret it.
Being a server has taught him how to speak to people and has given him confidence to deal with people in any type of circumstance.
“I like cooking, but I like to interact with people more. If you are out there policing, you have to insert yourself, you can’t shy away,” he explained. “Being a server has definitely helped me communicate and see what’s on people’s minds.”
Vargas already had some work experience before he joined the Industrial Revolution team. He was previously a cook at a local restaurant, and held a handful of miscellaneous part-time jobs, have all gone into helping him mature, he claimed. With each responsibility, he realized the importance of taking your job seriously, no matter what it is.
At Industrial Revolution, Vargas has greatly improved his communication skills, not just with the customers he works with on a daily basis, but with his peers too. The staff of Industrial Revolution has become like a family to Vargas, something he has never experienced before at a restaurant or job.
“Everybody’s more comfortable and willing to help each other out. Everybody here is taken care of,” he said. “Being close makes a difference. If we’re in a good mood with each other, the customers are in a good mood. Come check out Industrial Revolution. It’s a hidden gem.”
For more information on Industrial Revolution, click here.