Kelsey’s Steak House in Valparaiso boasts many great things. Food, location, atmosphere, and employees. One of these great workers is Mary Moncada, who has worked at the establishment since 2005.
A Hammond native, Moncada came into the food industry at the age of 12 in the position where you learn to work hard and gain respect for anyone who works at a restaurant: dishwashing.
“I worked at a restaurant in Hobart. I went from dishwashing to bussing, then to hosting,” Moncada said. “I held just about every position there. After the restaurant closed I planted my roots at Kelsey’s Steak House in Valpo.”
She fell in love with the restaurant industry at an early age. It takes a special person to work well in this specific business, and Moncada had and still has what it takes.
“Not everyone can do this. It takes a lot of passion and a certain drive,” Moncada said. “I just like what I do.”
Moncada said that what she loves the most about Kelsey’s is the sense of family that connects everyone who works there.
“We have a good rapport with each other,” Moncada said. “We all spend quite a bit of time together here. It gets busy. The managers have a lot of responsibility with customers, training and guiding the employees, behind the scenes stuff, or other details that need to be attended to throughout the day.”
You can go grab a bite at a multitude of restaurants in the area. But Kelsey’s has been a longstanding destination restaurant that has helped to make the reputation of Valparaiso shine.
“When people go out to eat, they go out not only for food, but they go out to be served… Our service sets us apart from other restaurants,” Moncada said. “They come for the atmosphere and the socialization. Here, we give our guests the whole experience. We train our staff extensively and we’re always doing more training to keep up with new and changing restaurant standards.”
Outside of work, Moncada loves to travel, play with her three dogs, hang with her bestie and fellow Kelsey’s employee, Lori Naranjo, and have relaxing nights at home.