Sitting down with Michelle Prosser, General Manager for the Valparaiso Kelsey's Steak House, I heard first hand how special the Valpo and Portage restaurants, and the employees that made them run, were.
The Hood family came into ownership of Kelsey's in 2011. They owned other businesses before coming upon Kelsey's.
"My step-dad owned other businesses that were very successful but he loved Kelsey's and the opportunity came up to buy it. And he bought it," Prosser said.
"This place is really busy," Prosser said. "A lot of time goes into this. And you have to love it. All of the employees have different personalities and goals and I find my job rewarding because I get to work with them and keep the business strong. It's nice to be able to give people jobs."
Many of the employees who work at Kelsey's have been there for many years. They have other family members that work there, too. Brothers with sisters, mothers with daughters, fathers with sons; it's a family affair. And the family extends out into the guests that frequent Kelsey's.
"The clientele that we have around here are great. They are very loyal, and I have met some very nice people. They come back week after week and they've been coming for years," Prosser said.
The Hood's knew not to fix something that wasn't broken. So when they came into ownership of Kelsey's they didn't change much. They loved the restaurants the way they were.
"We wanted to keep things the way the Blaney's had them," Prosser said.
And to keep a good thing going one often has to reach for the help of others. Kelsey's is happy to bring their business to other businesses in the area, shopping local and boosting the local economy.
"We often get our desserts from Suzie's Cafe and Strongbow Inn," Prosser said. "We get local beer, we work with Marshall's and Emerson... Going local is important to us."
As many restaurant owners know, it's important to give back to the community that comes through their businesses doors. Kelsey's is no different.
"We love being involved in our community," Prosser said. "We do a lot of donations, we're very involved in the Popcorn Fest, we work with the local police departments... It's super important to give back to your community because you're a part of it. You're providing a place for people to go, you're providing jobs. I love Northwest Indiana. I love that the people who live here put so much back into it. And I love being part of it all."