VALPARAISO | Opening his own restaurant has been the dream of Kevin Pederson, but he didn't expect it to be a fast food cajun creole restaurant like the one he plans to open at University Promenade soon.
The Valpo Yats restaurant is one of the first franchise outlets for the Indianapolis-based chain launched by Joe Vuskovich to open outside Indianapolis. Pederson will be discussing plans for the business at Tuesday's meeting of the city's Site Review Committee at City Hall.
"I've been in Valparaiso since I was 12, and I always planned on opening a restaurant," Pederson said. "This is my foot in the door for my own entrepreneurship. It fits in with what I've wanted to do."
A veteran of 20 years of cooking at Strongbow Inn restaurant and already the owner of his own KP's catering business, which serves pig roasts and other outdoor parties, Pederson said he's been working for almost a year to arrange the financing and go through all the steps needed to open his own business.
When the Yats opens around Nov. 1 it apparently will be the only business in the west building of the University Promenade development at Lincolnway and University Drive. The rest of the building will be used by Valparaiso University, he said.
He plans to be open seven days a week with seating inside for 50 and outdoor seating available. The rotating menu will have about nine items listed each day on a chalkboard with prices ranging from about $6.50 to $8.50. He will serve Pepsi products and is working to get a beer license.
He expects to employ 10 to 15 people to serve the gumbos, etouffees, red beans and rice and other Louisiana-style items. If it goes well, he has another dream.
"Somewhere down the road, you could see a KP's restaurant," he said.