I would put Papa Kelsey’s up on my list as one of five Mini-Cassia restaurants that has a cult following. Like Taco Bandito, Papa Kelsey’s patrons are just as loyal to its subs and pizzas as are the hard-core diners at several other local restaurants. I’m not on this list of cult followers but I would like to go on the record to say that my wife and kids probably are. Located at 11th Street and Overland Ave, in Burley, Papa Kelsey’s is a fixture on the Overland strip through town.
Ambiance: I’m pleasantly surprised with the improvements Papa Kelsey’s has made over the years to keep its restaurant up to date. Just last week I saw them planting flowers and hanging planters with blooms across the front of their store. It is an expense that has nothing to do with the food they serve but it remains something they choose to do to be a good steward of their little tract of land.
Seating: I can’t say much about the seating at Papa Kelsey’s other than there is plenty of it. Their booths are sturdily built but include no padding whatsoever, making them untenable if you are going to be there a while. Their table and chair combinations are plentiful too, but like the booths, they aren’t padded and you wouldn’t want to be watching a sermon from them. I can say that they were all clean and we had our pick having shown up after their lunch rush. Every table had been wiped down and was ready for guests, something not every restaurant can get right.
Noise: The location on Overland Ave, right next to the tracks, might be a rough and loud location. Our table had a clear view out onto Overland Ave., but the traffic noise was hardly noticeable. There weren’t any trains that came through while we were dining which might have made a difference to the noise level. Again, because of the time of day we ate our lunch there was hardly a person in the restaurant, so we had a quiet experience. There was little to no kitchen noise.
Bathrooms: There are separate men’s and women’s bathrooms and both were clean and ready for service. Neither was huge but the size of the dining room wouldn’t allow for too many people in the restaurant at a time so the size doesn’t matter.
Service: Papa Kelsey’s is more of a self-serve restaurant where you place your order at the counter. They will give you your salad right away if it is something you ordered, and when your food is ready they will bring it to your table, but that is the extent of their service. You fill your own drinks, which includes refills and when you are done eating you drop off your plate and fork near the garbage bin. The offset for this kind of restaurant is that you aren’t paying for service, so it is a reasonable trade off. Our wait time for our entree was about five minutes, one of the fastest service times we have seen so far.
Food: This is what Papa Kelsey’s is all about. Their signature food is the bread that is baked fresh daily. This includes the pizza crust that is used as well as their cinnamon rolls and subway sandwiches. I ordered the lunch pizza which came with a salad and a personal pan sized pizza, all for under $6. My wife got a sub sandwich which came wrapped in tinfoil. No frills but it came out nice and hot. My pizza had two toppings, pineapple and ham, both generously applied to my meal.
The menu board has dozens of options to choose from and there are always a few separate specials which give you more than enough to eat at a budget price. Our meals came to just under $16, near the top of the list for affordability.
Another bonus is that Papa Kelsey’s is a family run outfit. Their very livelihood depends on the quality of their food and the efficiency of their service and there is always a Kay family member at the helm to ensure their reputation stays intact.
Papa Kelsey’s is a restaurant that will get you in and out with a sit-down meal with plenty of time afterward to run an errand before your hour lunch break is up.
Wait time for food ****
Food quality ***