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Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces
Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces
Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces
Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces
Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces
Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces
Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces
Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces
Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces
Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces
Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces
Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces

Ma Kelly's Restaurant - Batch 002, 100 pieces

$ 26.99

Surge Small Batch merch is the definition of PREMIUM. We've sampled and reviewed all of the top fabrics, fits and styles along with numerous retail finishings and settled on the ultimate offering to you! Here is how you will fall in love with the Surge Small Batch merch experience:

  • Each kit contains an amazing shirt along with a great story, stickers, magnets, coasters and a secret add-on related to the story.
  • We use the finest tri-blend fabric - 50% polyester, 25% combed ring-spun cotton and 25% rayon.
  • A perfect weight of 4.3 ounces is lightweight but won't stick to every curve.
  • Side seams - because humans aren't tubes. Keeps your shirt from twisting and is tailored for the human body. Runs around a 1/2 size smaller than traditional unisex sizing.
  • Printed with the finest water-based and discharging inks leaving your prints incredible soft. No bullet-proof imprints and scratchiness.
  • Free Shipping, forever and always.
  • LIMITED! Each merch kit is hand numbered in batches less than 100. Are you going to collect them all?

* These Small Batch shirts are a tailored "Fashion Fit" and typically run 1/2 size smaller than a traditional unisex cut. Unfortunately due to the nature of small batches/limited quantity, all sales are final.

"Looks like that will cost you about a dollar fifty." - Ma Kelly

"Looks like that will cost you about a dollar fifty." some recall “Ma” Bessie Kelly saying before handing them a plate full of home-cooked food. Ma would feed anyone, even if you only had a quarter to your name. Not only was the atmosphere homey for customers, the restaurant was actually Kelly’s home, with her room in the back of the little shotgun house on the corner of Walnut and North Third Street. Ma Kelly's opened in 1967 and was famous for the cooking, buffet-style service, the graffiti on the walls, and the hospitality. According to those who had the chance to dine there, "Ma" would charge per plate based on what it would appear someone could afford.

She primarily served Westing House, Tobacco Warehouse, and college students, as very affordable home-cooking. In htese early years the store was officially named Kelly’s Restaurant. After 13 years, her son, Morris Kelly Jr. took over the store with his wife and renamed it as: “Ma Kelly’s.” Following Ma’s death in February 1997, the diner went up for sale. Tina Bowling, Ma Kelly’s great-granddaughter, recalled spending a lot of time at the store as a young girl. Most prominent in her mind is the smell.

“In reflecting upon it you kind of take some of that stuff for granted, but you look around and think there is no way that could be a restaurant today,” Bowling said. “But that happens to a lot of places as things change. But you remember walking straight into the kitchen and they are cooking on the stove. Now the closest you get to that is sitting at a chef’s table through some sort of bigger area usually.” Bowling remembers the steam table where she would help make meatloaf, doing dishes, bussing tables, and digging chicken out of cold ice boxes to make deliveries early in the mornings.

“The milk machine had the coldest milk you probably could have everywhere,” she said. She related the experience to going home for the holidays. You would get up to get your plate, go through the kitchen and come back out to find your seat to enjoy amongst others. In addition to the home-like atmosphere for the diners, the restaurant was actually Kelly’s home, with her room in the back of the establishment.

“I remember celebrating Christmas in that backroom,” Bowling said. “I was probably seven or eight at the time.” Even after she sold the house, Bowling said Ma lived right down the street, and came by frequently to visit and chat with those inside. Despite the restaurant’s closure nearly 25 years ago, Ma Kelly’s is fondly remembered by her family, former patrons who went there, and even the institution of Eastern Kentucky University.

This year’s Ma Kelly’s scholarship was awarded to Sydney Amos, a 2022 graduate of the university from Vine Grove, Kentucky. Amos is a music education and vocal major who participated in Sigma Alpha Iota, American Choral Directors Association, and Kentucky Music Educators Association.     ~Taylor Six/Richmond Register

About the Artist - Emilee Stites

Emilee Stites graduated from the University of Louisville with a BFA in Communication Art and Design, and currently works as a senior graphic designer for UK HealthCare. She has lived in Richmond since 2009, along with her husband and two children.
“I was excited to work on the Ma Kelly shirt because I related to the stories Ma’s family told about visiting the restaurant. My extended family back in Indiana own a big U-Pick farm that includes a country restaurant. I have very fond memories of working in the farm gift shop as a teenager and running into the kitchen on my breaks to grab some fried chicken or a cup of dumplings. Ma Kelly’s Restaurant might be gone, but I hope this shirt will remind all of her fans of the happy memories they made there.”
To see more of Emilee's work, visit https://www.aesopdesignstudio.com.

MORE ABOUT SURGE SMALL BATCH

Surge Small Batch, a passion project of Surge Screen Printing and Embroidery, is a premium, limited-run merch line featuring iconic businesses, events and people in our community. Each monthly release, or “drop”, is purposely hand-crafted in batches of 100 or less, with each item being hand numbered. And once they are gone....they are GONE!

THE FOLKS BEHIND SURGE SMALL BATCH

Devon Price

Owner of Surge, serial musician and probably has mutual friends with you.

My favorite thing about Surge Small Batch is the nostalgia of the project. Obviously, some of the subjects are closer to me personally than others, but the project as a whole generates those old memories and feeling we all love to experience!

Matt Browning

Owner of Surge and lover of hiking and bourbon, just not at the same time.

The reason that I have love Surge Small Batch is because it brings our team together and grows us in so many ways. These drops stretch our muscles regarding the quality of merch experience that we can provide to our customers. I'm so excited to see how the project grows!

Casey McKean

Sales Manager at Surge and Brindle Doggie Momma who loves cruising in her Jeep.

I love being able to connect with our community even more, and providing them an outlet to tell their stories. I am also very proud of the quality of merch that we are producing. They are not only items that have meaningful stories, but the items are so nice, that anyone would be proud to own them!

Alex Jones

Production Manager at Surge and Paintball and Woodworking Ninja

At our core, I think we are all artists that are here to create. We take ideas that are important to you and make those into a reality. Small Batch is one of the few ways we get to take our own ideas of something that's important to us and just create something to share with with you.