The proprietor of the famed Jimmy Kelly’s Steakhouse in Nashville is descended from a clan equally as memorable as his ancestors’ family friends, Tennessee whiskey maker Jack Daniel and his nephew, Lem Motlow. In fact, it was Mike Kelly’s great-grandfather, James Kelly, who was the one distilling the whiskey when he and Motlow first met. James owned a length of valuable copper tubing, with which he had departed Ireland, that would sustain him in America, as he made his way from the docks of New York down to the glorious green fields of the Volunteer State.
Today, his great-grandson, Mike Kelly, collectively represents his Irish-American forebears who include a long line of successful restauranteurs, speakeasy operators, ice purveyors, saloon keepers, badass bootleggers, and moonshine makers.
The author, a former Tennessee Restauranteur of the Year and past chairman of the Nashville Metro Tourism & Convention Commission, knows more than a thing or two about Southern hospitality. He has helmed Music City’s oldest fine dining establishment for the last four decades.
As Jimmy Kelly’s Steakhouse enters into its eighty-eighth year of uninterrupted service, Mike Kelly continues to extend his family’s phenomenal legacy by offering diners, celebrities, and friends two of life’s most important things: a good steak and a generous pour.
A Generous Pour
The story of Jimmy Kelly’s Steak House, Nashville’s oldest fine restaurant and the family who started it—of stills, saloons, and speakeasies, and of a family who was tough and resourceful, who lost everything, and picked themselves up and started again. When young James Kelly fled the Irish Famine in 1848, he arrived in America with a roll […]