VALPARAISO | Strongbow Inn, famous for its turkey dinners and turkey pies, will be sold to Hobart-based Luke Co.
The sale was announced Monday afternoon by owners Russ and Nancy Adams. The sale is expected to close on Sept. 1, but transition to the new owners will take place on July 8.
Strongbow Turkey Farm was established in the 1930s by Dr. Walter and Bess Thrun, Russ Adams’ grandparents. According to Adams, it was named for the Pottawattamie Indian chief who lived on the land with his tribe in the 1800s.
In 1940, Bess Thrun opened the Strongbow Turkey Inn on U.S. 30 in Valparaiso with 28 seats. It became famous for serving the turkeys raised on the farm just across the highway.
Adams said they bought the business at 2405 U.S. 30 from his parents in 1993 when he finished culinary school.
Today, the restaurant and banquet facility can serve up to 500 people. It employs 130 people.
Adams said those employees took the news of the sale well.
"It was very hard on me, but they enjoyed the presentation (about the sale)," Adams said. "We've always taken care of the staff here. There were some tears, but they were happy tears."
Adams said all employees would be keeping their jobs.
The Luke Co., a family owned company based in Hobart, was established in 1967 by Ralph Luke. It is now owned by Tom Collins Sr., Tom Collins Jr. and Ryan Richardson. It owns and operates 25 convenience stores, the $5 Carwash and County Line Orchard.
Richardson said they have been customers at Strongbow for many years and recognize the restaurant's history is unparalleled in Northwest Indiana.
Richardson said Luke is committed to maintaining quality food and service.
He said just as Luke maintained the famous doughnuts and attractions at County Line Orchard, it will maintain Strongbow's famous dinner rolls, turkey dinners and service.
He said customers who have been dealing with Strongbow will be dealing with the same people.
"We have no major changes planned," he said. "We want to carry the name and traditions forward for many years to come."