Author photo

By Pat Doody
staff writer 

Kelcy's Restaurant – great food and vintage charm


September 30, 2023

Pat Doody.

Known for its quaint diner feel and for the historic photos that line its walls, Kelcy's Restaurant has been a fixture in Tehachapi since 1969.

They still serve many of the old diner classics such as chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, homemade soup and, of course, their famous roasted chicken. But much has also recently changed at Kelcy's.

When husband and wife Bill Lee and Virginia Sheridan bought Kelcy's in 2017, the restaurant was no longer serving dinner or alcohol, having given those services up in 2008. The couple gave the restaurant a facelift while retaining the vintage charm, and gutted the kitchen, bringing it up to current code. Kelcy's reopened in 2019, opening again for dinner in 2020, and offering beer and wine. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the couple created an outdoor garden patio behind the restaurant, which is still in use today.

Their updated menu includes many vegan and vegetarian options, as well as an expanded dinner and appetizer menu. Kelcy's Carolina wings and loaded fries are customer favorites. Other favorites include the grilled salmon, New York strip steaks and tri-tip specials, like the black and blue salad that is now available on Wednesdays. Other dinner entrees include cilantro lime chicken, spaghetti and meatballs (with homemade marinara sauce) and vegan and beef meatloaf.

More popular menu items are the veggie omelet, the vegan and traditional patty melts, the Santa Fe turkey melt and fresh squeezed orange juice. Added this year are soju cocktails including margaritas, bloody marys and a Kelcy's sunrise. Kelcy's mimosas and sunrise are especially delicious as they are made with the fresh orange juice. Additional cocktails will be debuting this fall.

Kelcy's has always been known for its fresh homemade pies. Recently, KGET featured Kelcy's in a segment on the "Best Pies in Kern County." An extremely popular addition to the pie menu has been the chicken and turkey potpies which are served on Thursdays during the fall once the weather turns cold. Other specials to look for at Kelcy's include their after-school specials and half-price ice cream happy hour, weekdays from 3-5 p.m.

Need catering for a large party or event? Kelcy's offers many "off menu" items for events and can customize a menu to meet your needs. Their large banquet room is available to reserve on a one-time or regular basis and is equipped with a big-screen smart TV and free Wi-Fi for customers.

Bill and Virginia are continually working to keep making Kelcy's better and better. Starting Monday, Oct. 2, they will be repainting the iconic Kelcy's sign, and replacing many of the light bulbs. The front entrance will be blocked, entry will be through the dining room door next door, or through the back patio. Parking is available in the rear of the restaurant.

Kelcy's Restaurant is located at 110 W. Tehachapi Blvd. They open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., closing early on Tuesdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. For more information, call (661) 822-4207 or contact them by email at


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