VALPARAISO | After taking her food truck to festivals, car shows and other events, including the Popcorn Festival, Laine Kasarda is ready for a more permanent dining facility in Valparaiso.
Kasarda was at Tuesday's city Site Review Committee meeting to discuss her plan to open All Soup'd Up at the former gas station and used car dealership at the corner of Lincolnway and Morgan Boulevard.
She hopes to have the 50s and 60s decor diner open by the end of summer.
Kasarda called the restaurant her "retirement plan." She has run a cleaning service for 28 years, was in construction for many years and has operated the All Soup'd Up food truck for the past three years. It features a grill made from hollowed out 327-cubic inch Chevrolet engines, which will become part of the new venture.
"Since I do it the way I do it with the cars, I thought the former gas station would be a perfect place," she said. "I've batted around the idea for the last year and finally decided to do it. I like the festivals, but I need walls and a ceiling to work properly, especially in the winter."
The retro decor will include Polish and German touches to match her own ethnic background. Seating 60 to 75 people, the restaurant will offer a variety of homemade soups, as the name implies, but also sandwiches, rib-eye steaks, chicken sandwiches, Polish sausages and just about "anything that can go on a grill," including a black bean veggie burger.
All Soup'd Up will be open for lunch and dinner only at the start to see how that goes and will offer outdoor dining in the summer. She expects to spend about $150,000 remodeling the existing building.
"It will be some place I can go and do what I love to do," she said.