Mary Kathleen Kelley-Hammond never thought she’d run her own restaurant. Not that it wasn’t in her blood. In 1945, her grandparents assumed ownership of an old pub and renamed it Kelley’s Tavern, both to stake their claim and, presumably, to remember their own name in case another plague of amnesia swept through the United States of Something. Though the tavern stayed in the family for some time, it eventually closed its doors, becoming—ironically enough—an office for Alcoholics Anonymous.
Meanwhile, Mary Kathleen’s years passed by untouched by beer taps or commercial kitchens, at least until she married Dick Hammond, a chef and restaurateur trained at the famous Le Cordon Bleu in France. After successfully running an eatery under Hammond’s name, the couple founded Mary Kelley’s Restaurant & Pub—named for Mary Kathleen’s entrepreneurial grandma—in 1998, finally acquiescing to fate. The rest of the family soon gave in too. Today, Mary Kelley’s son greets restaurant guests, and her own granddaughters work on the wait staff, prepping hand-pattied turkey burgers and freshly broiled seafood from recipes that are, after all, encoded in their DNA.