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With a kitchen and wait staff of more than 25 lining either side of the entrance outside, the new owners of Kesley's cut the ribbon for the restaurant's grand opening and admitted dozens of invited guests for a free dinner on Tuesday night.
The owners of Mills River Family Restaurant signed a lease in September for the well-known Spartanburg Highway space with its prominent green sign. After three months of work inside, owners Nick Sellas and Nick Syrigos open the restaurant to the public today. It's open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day and features a broad menu of choices ranging from a Farmer's omelette and Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream to wraps, half-pound burgers and paninis to steaks, seafood, ribs, chicken and Italian and Greek specialties.
The two Greek-American families have run the Mills River restaurant for many years. They've added upscale touches to the Hendersonville restaurant, including a bar, dessert case and reservations.
"We work long hours, long days," said Laura Sellas, who is married to Nick.
Kelsey's had been run for many years by local restaurateur Bob Quattlebaum before it closed in the summer of 2011. The new owners invited business and community leaders throughout Hendersonville to Tuesday night's opening.
"We were packed," said Lucy Sellas, the owner's daughter and a student at UNC-Charlotte. "It went really well."
Diners could order dinner, wine and beer from the menu and choose from chocolate cake and strawberry shortcake for dessert. "We fed everybody for free," she said. "Everything was on the house."
Some lucky diners who stopped because they saw Kelsey's was open got to eat free too, she said.
The reviews were "very positive," she said. "Everybody here was wonderful."