Story and photos by Al Terminiello, Jr.
On February 4, 1994, General Manager Dean Murphy turned the key to officially open the doors to the second Kelly’s Roast Beef location. Murphy, a Kelly’s employee for 38 years, is now the director of operations for Kelly’s Roast Beef and Seafood. In 1964 Murphy was the first GM for the new location on Rt. 1 South in Saugus.
Dean recalls that morning, arriving to find customers lined up around the building, waiting to be the first served in the elegant, 12,000 sq. ft. indoor dining facility.
There were also 75 full and part-time employees hired for the building’s regular hourly shifts, but management soon found out that just wasn’t enough. Another 50 employees were added to the mix, and today Kelly’s of Saugus still employs almost 130 full and part-timers. In an age of low service vs. high volume this says a lot about commitment to their customers. Providing jobs and service is a Kelly’s tradition.
The facility in Saugus is decorated in nostalgic Revere Beach photographs and memorabilia, which recall its roots at the original Kelly’s on Revere Beach, which opened 63 years ago.
Artie Perrin, general manager of Kelly’s of Saugus, has worked for the company for 33 years. He started out selling the famous roast beef sandwiches on Revere Beach, then managed several of Kelly’s facilities, and now is GM to the largest in the chain of 4 stores on the North Shore—Revere Beach, Danvers, Medford, and Natick. All but Revere have dine-in service and a drive-thru area.
Perrin loves his job; the people that work for him are all like family, and he takes pride in his role as general manager. He enjoys welcoming the many customers that pass through the doors in Saugus. Some are regulars and some are just passing through, but all walk away with a feeling of being welcome and treated as very special by Perrin or any one of Kelly’s family of employees. “Service with a smile and proudly serving the finest in food products makes for a great place to work or dine,” stated Perrin.
Over the years the menu has changed greatly, going from hot dogs, roast beef and hamburgers to one of the most versatile combinations of seafood and beef, from clam chowder to chili and salads to shrimp cocktail and cookies. Kelly’s Roast Beef and Seafood caters family gatherings and large corporate parties but never forgets a promise to serve the finest beef and the freshest seafood at a moderate price to their customers. Perrin added with a smile, “Thousands of customers pass through the Saugus door weekly, and the facility is as clean as if it just opened its doors yesterday. That’s a testimony to the dedication and pride of the employees of Kelly’s.”
It’s not just about sales; Kelly’s is dedicated to the community on all levels. Fundraising for schools and specialized organizations, providing food to charitable events that promote service to the community and education on all levels—over 100 local jobs, either part-time for students or full-time employment—is no small matter either.
Bob Belmonte was born and raised in Revere and is now a Saugus resident. Bob has worked for Kelly’s Roast Beef for an astounding 44 years. Starting out with “Mac” McCarthy, the founder of Kelly’s, as his boss, he worked as a “fryer” at the Revere Beach location for 25 years. Belmonte came to Saugus as one of the original staff 19 years ago as a slicer. He’s very good at it, because he still as all 10 fingers and gets a lot of practice. The Kelly’s Saugus store estimates that over 900,000 pounds of roast beef is sliced annually to serve its customers.
Belmonte recalls the Blizzard of ‘78 as one of his most memorable working events. Despite the 4–6 feet of fallen snow in the Revere area, Kelly’s was open for business as usual. It took the police to come down and close us up, but we all came back the next day anyway. Besides, he added, the National Guard needed to be fed, and they landed a helicopter on the beach to pick up sandwiches.
On the other side of the coin, there is Amanda Therrien, a junior at Lynn Classical High School. A newcomer to the Kelly family, she has been employed for the past five and one half months. She works 3–4 days a week at the counter, serving the many customers that pass through the doors, and plans on attending college and a possible career at Kelly’s in a management role. She loves her job and enjoys coming to work and seeing her new friends and coworkers. “It’s the nicest place to work; everyone is always smiling and friendly, and I am looking forward to a long career here, even when I graduate from high school,” Amanda stated. After that statement Amanda went back to the counter, where there was a line of people waiting for lunch.
It’s been 19 years since those glass doors opened to welcome all that travel along Route 1— lots of faces, tons of beef and seafood. Several different managers, hundreds of employees, but all in all nothing has changed. Kelly’s of Saugus still maintains the same philosophy of treating their help and customers as family and continuing their promise to better the surrounding communities and improve the quality of life as a responsible business.
So we wish Kelly’s a Happy 19th Anniversary, and look forward to the next 19 years or more, because businesses like Kelly’s have made Saugus a great place to live and work.