George Pesek: Evil Czech Brewery, Corndance Tavern, Carnegie Library

By+Carri Fras

There’s no question that George Pesek, owner of Evil Czech Brewery and Corndance Tavern in Mishawaka, Indiana has both vision and passion. He has successfully started two very popular restaurants and is currently undertaking the construction of a third. For any smart businessman and entrepreneur, imagining, designing and then creating even one wildly popular establishment would seem to be a huge undertaking—but George seems to have designing success down to a science.

“One of my businesses, Evil Czech Brewery, is a true personal vision of what a public place should be,” he says. “Tons of positive energy, vibrant, lively, seductive and, most of all, comfortable.” One can imagine all the ingredients it takes to become a successful restaurateur, but George is quite candid about his recipe. “Today’s consumers are expecting a smart, unique and shareable experience when they walk into a restaurant,” he says, “and the most memorable vibe often wins their affection, their loyalty and their tweets.”

When it came to Evil Czech’s vision, the driver was a desire to create an exciting space that would make people feel welcome and establish a sense of belonging. “There was the desperate need in our area for a local place where the whole community can meet day or night—from a doctor in scrubs to a businessman, teacher—all the way to the blue collar guy looking to unwind...a true public house which has my passion of local brew, local whisky and local food.” says George.

Recognizing and understanding a need, harnessing the determination and know-how to design a solution, and then putting together a great team is George’s proven process–and something he is accomplishing again for a third time with a brand-new restaurant to be located in Mishawaka’s old Carnegie Library building. The antiquated building, in fact, revealed a surprise space when demo began: an original bathroom encapsulated behind a wall. 

The old-turned-new location will house two concepts. The Jesùs Latin American Grill with a Mezcal/Tequila Bar will be located downstairs. The upstairs, or “Library,” will be repurposed for special events and banquets with capacity up to 150 people. George says, “Everything we are doing to our new space, the Carnegie Library, is with one thing in mind—to preserve its cachet and create an atmosphere to match.”

“Cachet is probably the most important quality of a great public space,” says Pesek. “Cachet is produced by a combination of material elements—including architecture—that grounds a visitor in civic culture, history and, ideally, prompt reflection and conversation.” For George, all of the elements that go into a restaurant’s look and feel are of utmost importance, emphasizing that an atmosphere we love complements our mood and creates the right kind of energy. He says, “Restaurant atmosphere should set the stage. It’s about more than just a dining room away from home. Food takes the spotlight, as guests become its audience. Factors such as music, lighting, artwork and spacing combine to create comfort, intimacy and even romance.”

For George, it’s more than delivering quality dining service or even a great meal. “It’s the experience,” he says. “It’s very key to our business. Expressing passion in the overall design and the intimate details you can feel and see when something was done right and is handcrafted—that expressiveness is passed along to the guest.”

 

What three things does George have to have in any space he occupies? 

People, energy and comfort.