Teibel's Family Restaurant founders hit on a winning formula in 1929 when they opened their doors at the crossroads of U.S. 41 and U.S. 30, in Schererville.
Eighty-five years later the restaurant still serves the boned and buttered perch and family-recipe fried chicken that put it on the map, but new entrees are continuously being added, co-owner Paul Teibel said.
"That's the fun thing about us now," Teibel said. "We have something different all the time."
Teibel's and Schoops, another longtime region staple, along with more recent additions like Lucrezia's, make up some of the 1,400 restaurants in Northwest Indiana, employing just more than 27,000 people, according to information from the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, which tracks its numbers by congressional district.
Teibel's stayed in business by adhering to its founding ideals, said Paul Teibel, co-owner with dad Stephen Teibel.
"The two most important things are fresh food and the quality of service. Those are definitely the the two things we try to focus on," Paul Teibel said.
"That's why we're still around," he said.
Founded in 1948 in Hammond, Schoop's built its reputation on its hamburgers, "cooked to crispy perfection," according to the restaurant website.
Allen Schoop sold the restaurant's first burgers for 15 cents apiece and took in $2,000 in the first month. The second Schoop's opened in 1959 in Munster, where lines formed for chance at one of 36 seats, according to the website.
Since 1982, the chain has expanded to more than 17 locations throughout the area and added soup, salads, chicken and other items to its menus.
The roasted lamb shank is a menu favorite at Lucrezia's restaurant in Chesterton, where a summer evening can find up to 85 diners, including those on an outdoor patio.
The restaurant at 428 S. Calumet Road neighbors Indiana Dunes State Park and often draws patrons who've spent a day at the beach, said Michael Karas, who with wife Nada owns and operates locations in Chesterton and Crown Point.
"We're busy pretty much all day long in summer," he said.
"Everything is made from scratch," Karas said of the menu selections. "We buy nothing pre-made."
Lucrezia's in Crown Point, 302 S. Main St., has become a favorite over the past six years for Barbara VanderWoude, who dines there with friends and family about twice a month.
"It has wonderful atmosphere, great food and outstanding service," said VanderWoude, of Crown Point.
Karas opened the Chesterton Lucrezia's in 1998 and later opened the Crown Point Lucrezia's.
Indiana's total 11,675 restaurants are projected to see a total $9.5 billion in sales this year, the association reported. Restaurants account for 308,800 jobs, or about 10 percent of employment in the state.
By 2024 restaurants in Indiana are expected to add another 23,000 jobs, employing a total 331,800.