Personal attention, made-to-order food and a friendly atmosphere has made George’s Café a popular location for Indiana State students, faculty and staff for more than a decade.
“I’ll take sausage and … ”
“Eggs over easy,” George Issa, ’80, said, completing the customer’s order. “I know what you want.”
It is this personal attention to detail, made-to-order food and friendly atmosphere that has made George’s Café a popular location for Indiana State students, faculty and staff for more than 14 years.
With an original location on Cherry Street, Issa said he always loved being close to the university and worked hard to get an on-campus location.
“I’ve been around this campus for more than 40 years,” he said. “I went to school here, and my wife went to school here. I feel connected to Indiana State.” Denise Issa, ’75 and GR ’83, can also be found providing a helping hand to her husband and the café.
Issa’s connections to food go even further back. His dad was a chef in his native country of Lebanon.
“I’ve always been around food,” he said.
Issa has built his success on one key principle: respect.
“You’ve got to treat the kids right,” he said. “I’ve always said I have to treat people the same, no matter what, no matter who it is.”
It is this respect and the small, one-on-one connections he makes with students that make them feel as if they are more than just another customer.
“I always get half Mountain Dew and half fruit punch as my drink,” sophomore Julie Goodwin said. “George always tells me I’m the only student on campus who gets that drink. It always makes me smile.”
Issa not only focuses on personal connections, but also cooking good-quality, made-to-order food.
“[Students] know what is good food,” he said. “I want to make sure that whatever I serve is something I’ll eat. I will not serve something that I would not eat myself or serve my family.”
Students agree about the food. Freshman Sean Brink said he frequently goes to George’s and always orders the same thing — chicken tenders with barbecue sauce and French fries.
“They use quality food, it’s well-cooked and the service is fantastic,” he said.
One of the main reasons that Issa enjoys working on the Indiana State campus so much is the positive atmosphere. He said he enjoys seeing President Bradley and his wife, administrators, staff and students all mingle together in the Student Union.
“It’s a small campus, everybody knows everybody,” he said. “People are very friendly, from the staff at ISU to the students. That’s what I love, nobody is above anybody.”
George’s will enter its 15th year of operation on Indiana State’s campus in the fall. While many students love George’s Café and Issa, the feeling is mutual.
“I love to serve the students, because they keep me young,” he said.