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About Cunningham Restaurant Group

Cunningham Restaurant Group opened its first restaurant, Boulder Creek, in 1997 when Mike Cunningham decided to take the lessons learned from his successful restaurant career to his own venture. Today, Cunningham Restaurant Group owns and operates many locations in three states.

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Mike Cunningham, Founder & CEO

Mike Cunningham is the founder & CEO of Cunningham Restaurant Group. Born and raised in Cincinnati, he showed his first entrepreneurial tendencies at the age of eight when he offered to bus tables for Skyline Chili waitresses for $2. After attending culinary and restaurant management school in Cincinnati, Mike moved to Indiana and opened his first full-service restaurant, Boulder Creek, in Brownsburg in December 1997.

The mission statement, “In the communities we serve, we will be the restaurant of choice for delighting our guests” is more than just a motto. It resonates with Mike because of two key concepts - communities and guests. In his view, community is a key factor in building business sustainability as is impeccable attention to guest experience and satisfaction. If asked, he attributes his success to working hard and being kind.

Q&A with Mike Cunningham

Mike gives some insight into the secret sauce that drives CRG's phenomenal success.

"In the communities we serve, we will be the restaurant of choice for delighting our guests." What does that vision statement mean to you?

Well… In my opinion, community is a key factor in building business sustainability. Focusing on hospitality and connecting with guests is key. We chose the phrase, “delighting our guests” because it suggests that we aim to exceed customer expectations and not just meet them.


Guest connection, CRG-style. What might be a guest’s experience in your restaurants that causes that connection?

Making a personal connection with a guest during dinner is perhaps the most rewarding part of being in the service industry. Connecting with guests is a skill and I think our team members are selected specifically for their hospitality DNA. Many can learn service steps but not everyone can possess a natural person-to-person connection.


CRG concepts are very diverse. By having different restaurant concepts, this gives you the ability to…

It all goes back to the guests. We choose restaurant concepts to fit the needs of the communities we serve. Some of our concepts like Boulder Creek, Charbonos, and Stone Creek possess more of a neighborhood gathering place feel. BRU and Union 50 reflect the fun and excitement of the urban dweller. Mesh and Vida provide a romantic secret hideaway feel. Café 251 is for the busy downtown worker looking for a fresh and delicious lunch that you can eat in, or take with you. We tailor every detail to blend in with life and experiences in that community.