The transition gets underway today for new ownership of a Region restaurant tradition. Last week the sale of Strongbow Inn in Valparaiso was announced, as Hobart-based Luke Company is purchasing the restaurant and banquet facility from owners Russ and Nancy Adams. "Nobody will notice a thing different," Russ Adams said. "The staff is continuing," he told us today, "we're hanging on to the wonderful recipes, and these guys will do an excellent job." Adams says his grandmother Bess Thrun opened Strongbow Turkey Inn in 1940, with a name based in Region history, a name that will continue on.
Strongbow Turkey Farm was started in the 1930’s by Dr. Walter and Bess Thrun (Russ Adams’ grandparents) and named for the Pottawatomie Indian chief who lived on the land with his tribe in the 1800’s. In 1940 Bess Thrun opened the Strongbow Turkey Inn on US Hwy 30 in Valparaiso with 28 seats. Known for the turkey the Thruns raised on the farm across the highway the first menu included hot and cold turkey and the now-famous Strongbow Turkey Pie. Over the years Strongbow has grown to not only a sizeable restaurant but also includes banquet facilities that accommodate up to 500 people. Strongbow currently employs 130 people. Adams said that he is proud of what Strongbow has meant to his family – with his mother Chuggie and father Chuck running the business from 1951-1993 when Russ and Nancy took over. “We know that Strongbows helped put Valpo on the map,” he said. The restaurant, now in its 73rd year, is along US 30 just west of State Road 49.
The Luke Company is a family owned and operated company based in Hobart, Indiana that was founded in 1967 by Ralph Luke. It is owned by Tom Collins Sr., Tom Collins Jr., and Ryan Richardson and has grown to include 25 C-Stores, the $5 Carwash and County Line Orchard. The Luke organization currently employs approximately 400 associates.