TCU Honors Valparaiso’s Scarpe for Adapting to the Pandemic

The Shoemaker family’s Italian restaurant in downtown Valparaiso, Scarpe, was recently honored in TCU’s Innovate! Business Challenge. The fine-dining establishment pivoted to offer heat-and-eat dishes, carry-out specials and free virtual cooking classes.

Teachers Credit Union recently honored businesses across Indiana for adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, including Scarpe in Valparaiso. Overall, $35,000 was distributed to five winners of the TCU Innovate! Business Challenge, which highlights how businesses have adapted to unexpected and difficult pandemic conditions.

“The coronavirus pandemic has created economic conditions that have forced businesses and nonprofits to face unprecedented challenges,” TCU President and CEO Paul Marsh said. “Our business members have shown great agility and creativity in their operations, products and services, and we’re proud to support some of the best ideas through this challenge.”

Scarpe — Chris and Katrina Shoemaker’s Italian restaurant in downtown Valparaiso — was awarded $5,000 for shifting their sales model overnight. The fine-dining establishment adjusted by creating heat-and-eat dishes, carry out specials and free virtual cooking classes to recoup revenue lost to the pandemic.

Scarpe opened in downtown Valparaiso in June 2019. One year — and one pandemic — later, the Shoemakers found their meticulously calculated plan in doubt.

“It all came to a screeching halt,” said Chris Shoemaker. “We basically had to shut down on March 15 and then we reopened on June 11. So, for three months we were closed.”

Closed, but not idle. The Shoemakers, along with their son Adam, the restaurant’s sommelier and beverage director, and his partner, Olivia Fissé, Scarpe’s executive chef, reimagined their mission — and fast. As Chris Shoemaker says, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of adapting quickly in the coronavirus era.


Check out Scarpe's seasonal menu or make a reservation here.

You can also follow Scarpe on Facebook and Instagram.