While he didn’t always have a clear vision of what to become growing up, Kevin Murray has made the most of his life in the Region.
Murray was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, following in his parents footsteps of graduating from Chesterton High School. His family’s roots within the community date back as far as 75 years ago.
Following high school, Murray went to Purdue University Northwest to receive his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Throughout college, he delivered pizza to help pay for school and the little things in life until, one day, he found the opportunity to do so closer to home.
“I was living just a block away from the restaurant,” Murray said. “I had always enjoyed doing tasks that were mindful to help out the community and figured this would be a great way to play a part in it.”
For more than 20 years, Murray has worked at Val’s Famous Pizza and Grinders. After six years as an employee, he bought the restaurant and has served as the owner since.
Aside from his work at the restaurant, Murray contributes to the community in a variety of other ways. He often helps out at the Chesterton Fire Department whenever he can.
He also still goes back to his roots at Chesterton High School post-graduation. He’s helped manage the lights and sound equipment, helping him keep a close connection to the school over time.
“It’s a symbiotic thing where all the sports and academic teams are consistently looking for sponsors,” Murray said. “Teachers and school administrators will often come into the restaurant together as a group. Whenever there’s a pizza party, we are usually there to provide for it. The connections just help keep a great working bond with so many people in the area.”
Additionally, Murray never felt like his career was predetermined. Rather, he’s always tried to take initiative of new challenges or roles within the community.
“I think a lot of things just came my way,” Murray said. “As the opportunities presented themselves, there were a lot of areas that have sparked my interest and looked like something fun to explore. It’s just about doing what I enjoy, and it helps me feel well-rounded too.”
The opportunities that Murray has explored is a big reason why he is appreciative of the community support for Val’s Famous Pizza and Grinders.
“I exist as a restaurant solely because of the community,” Murray said. “My goal is to turn around and help other organizations where I can to take care of those around me.”
Since buying the restaurant in the downturn of the economy in 2009, Murray has been pleased with the growth of the business every year. While there were some troublesome times during the pandemic, he said that the last 12 months were some of the best for the business in the time he has been the sole owner.
Over the next several years, Murray plans to have more experiences with his children as they start to do more in schools. While he plans to be more active with his family matters, he still has a lot of fun helping out the community in a plethora of different ways.