Knuckle Puck’s Dilly Morse Is Cooking Up A Show

Knuckle Puck founder Dilly Morse
Knuckle Puck founder and restaurateur Dilly Morse.

Photo by Tony Valainis

Catch Knuckle Puck founder Dilly Morse at one of his double-smashburger pop-ups, and he’ll be the guy calling out your name from the grill and shooting customers high fives. A native of Bremen, in Northern Indiana, where he starred as the Beast in his high school’s production of Beauty and the Beast, Morse’s flair for performance makes him a natural at restaurant work.

His first role was as busboy at Amish Acres in Nappanee. Later, while working on a communications degree at IUPUI, he landed a job at Pipers Restaurant on Indy’s south side and eventually worked his way up to general manager. But he longed for more like-minded creative types to bounce ideas off of.  

Tinker Coffee Co. co-founders Steve Hall and Jeff Johnson gave Morse exactly that opportunity, bringing him on part-time to bag coffee before promoting him to director of accounts. There, he helped brainstorm such recent projects as a bottled cold-drink line, the planned expansion of Tinker’s 16th Street roasting site to include a cafe, and the fundraising effort Indy Hospitality United.

While Morse’s Tinker co-workers encouraged him to launch Knuckle Puck, he clearly runs the show. “I love feeding people, but what I really want to do is create a sense of mystery around these events. Sometimes I’ll post a photo teasing a pop-up, and then I’ll delete it two hours later,” says Morse, constantly thinking up new ways to hype his burgers while also looking forward to the return of hugs and hive fives.

Read Morse’s recipe for irresistible fresh pickles here.