My favorite dishes: At Kelly’s Restaurant | Lifestyles

Since 2002, Kelly’s Restaurant has been a staple on the South Dixie Highway in Dalton.

Sandra Derrick


The family matriarchs are credited with starting the business, and the family keeps it going to this day. One of the sons has been the owner since 2015. You will find sons, a daughter-in-law and a mother working every day at Kelly’s to provide the community with the best food possible. The name of the restaurant comes from a granddaughter. What is special about this restaurant and this family!

Kelly’s is located one mile from the intersection of Walnut Avenue and Thornton Avenue and has plenty of parking and food available. They serve breakfast Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and lunch is served until 2:00 p.m. Both meals feature a cafeteria-style menu, and lunch is a meat and three-course meal. You can choose from an all-vegetarian meal or meat and one or two vegetables. Four meats are on the menu each day and you’ll find tons of vegetables to choose from. Their social media page lists the menu each day for lunch. Fried chicken is on the menu every day (which is the best seller every day) and you will be delighted! Desserts galore line the counter! Each one looks so tempting you’ll want one of each.

My selection is of course the fried chicken. (Baked chicken is also delicious.) The chicken is moist, flavorful, tender, and has a crispy, thick, impressive crust. I can’t see how they make it so moist and cause the crust to stay on the chicken. The recipe comes from the mom who opened the restaurant years ago. She knew her stuff! The chicken breast is huge and you don’t think you can eat it all, but you will.

Vegetables are plentiful and each one looks so tempting. My choices are mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, fried okra, and deviled eggs. The potatoes are creamy and perfectly seasoned. The carrots are just like the ones my mom made – just a hint of butter and cooked so tender. Okra contains a secret ingredient and you will enjoy every bite with its delicious coating. My father grew okra in the garden every year, so okra was a staple in my house. We Southerners love deviled eggs, and I’m an expert at eating them, and these are really delicious. Every bite is a delight. Cornbread sticks or rolls accompany the meal, and I always choose cornbread. These are shaped like miniature corn cobs. It’s like having the bit of cornbread in every bite. My mother used to make it on special occasions. When I eat them, I’m back home! Sweet memories.

A delicious dessert is in order. You can’t pass up a good thing. Different types of fruit cobblers are on the menu every day, along with banana pudding and cakes. My favorite is the banana pudding. It’s so wonderful and a perfect combination of wafers, fresh banana slices and vanilla custard. In every bite, you get the perfect blend of dessert heaven. The whipped cream topping makes it even more delicious.

Kelly’s has a unique feature that you don’t often find in Dalton – a separate room for groups to meet and enjoy a meal. Groups have the advantage of meeting in a private setting while enjoying delicious cuisine. They can accommodate around 90 people for an event. The restaurant offers take-out and holiday catering. They can do anything!

The restaurant’s mission is to provide the community with great breakfast and lunch at an affordable price. I would say that they exceed tenfold this mission. The homemade food is very delicious, the staff are friendly and the atmosphere is very welcoming. I know you will find your favorites on the menu. Experience and talent are what enable the staff to produce good food for the community every day. Hard work, dedication, love for the community and friendly people are things that make Kelly special. Family is at the center of the restaurant, and even if you’re not a family by heritage, you’ll feel like you’re enjoying a meal with them.

Lifelong colorblind Sandra Derrick is a retired educator who taught home economics for 30 years in Whitfield County schools.