Kelsey and Kim’s will expand to include a third location at the corner of Kentucky and Pacific avenues called A.C.’s Southern Touch.
According to his wife, Kelsey absolutely loves what he does and wouldn’t have it any other way. Kim said she cooks sometimes and likes the restaurant business, but she makes sure they take time off and vacation together. She refuses to let them be consumed by the business and this seems to keep them balanced.
Plus, managing two locations gives them some time apart. They advise others who might think they’ll get rich as restaurant entrepreneurs, “You better not get into it because of the money. And you better have a passion for it and plenty of dedication. A lot of it is not what you think so it’s good to work at a restaurant first. Also, location is very important.”
Kelsey also said when it comes to “soul food” especially, consistency is extremely important.
Back in the 1980s and early '90s, Kelsey would often have customers at Trump Marina who asked “Where can we get some of our own food?” What they meant was “soul food,” the traditional fare of African-Americans, consisting of lots of beans or legumes, rice, root vegetables and little meat, not the greasy, salty, pork-filled diets some think of as soul food.
Kelsey realized there was a void, a need, and he wanted to make a difference.
After 18 years, the original take-out is still called soul food and employs four people. The Melrose Avenue location is called a “southern café” and has about 20 employees.
At some point, they realized southern was a broader term for many of the foods on their extensive menu and they didn’t want to exclude anyone.
When I visited, for sure, no one was excluded. Locals ate in or waited outside for their take-out orders and tourists filled the tables for dinner in the warmly colored dining room with lots of windows facing the inlet.
Some people like to describe soul food as “any food cooked with lots of patience and love.” I think Kim and Kelsey’s food is just that, a reflection of their own patience and love for one another, so if the success of their first two locations is any indication of the third, they are in good shape. This year, Kelsey and Kim celebrated 20 years of marriage.
The southern New Jersey shore continues to be one of the most dynamic, relevant restaurant regions in the nation.
We are, without the slightest hint of hyperbole, like nowhere else in the country. Maybe the world. New Jersey is known as the Garden State with good reason and this is the epicenter of that garden.
There is no more telling indicator of spring’s arrival hereabouts than the opening of new businesses, especially in food service sectors. In spite of a still-moribund economy, the Atlantic City region continues to percolate with activity. Here are a few of the 2010 season’s most hotly anticipated arrivals.
I've tasted IHop's new [chicken and waffles] dish and they're missing the key ingredient — soul! Eating chicken and waffles at IHOP is like eating a Philly cheesesteak in Montana. It's not even close." See photos and video...
The place is bright and lively, with a dining space shaded in comforting dark yellow and orange tones. A prophetic sign hangs near the entrance to the kitchen door reading: “Faith, Family, Friends.”
If you’re looking for a new hiding place, one that serves serious, authentic Mexican fare in an easily accessible location, look no further than La Escondida II in Pleasantville.
Jacob Lawrence Day in Atlantic City
Black History, Jazz and Poetry