With one owner having emigrated from Ireland and another growing up with the restaurant business, Tom Kelly’s Chophouse & Pub provides a fun Irish-American restaurant in New Lenox.
Kelly Trumpey, one of four co-owners at the restaurant, worked at her parents’ restaurants since she was 15. Her parents, Pat and Jerry Lavery, owned Lavery’s restaurants in the south suburbs. They wanted to open a different type of place and thought New Lenox was a great location.
“Lavery’s more of a restaurant and banquets,” Trumpey said. “Tom Kelly’s is a little more versatile. Our food business has increased, but we also have a fun pub atmosphere. It’s somewhere you can bring your kids or watch the game, and we also have a good nightlife. We have a little bit of everything.”
The “fun pub atmosphere” plays into the traditional Irish themes of the bar. Co-owner Tom Rowan came to the U.S. when he was 7, and the other owners are all of Irish descent.
“We’re an American-Irish pub,” Trumpey said. “It’s our heritage. It’s something we hold dear. I like to think it makes us a little bit different.”
The menu features a wide variety of food that includes pizza, ribs, burgers and more, but traditional Irish whiskeys and fare, such as fish and chips or shepherd’s pie. Even the name “Tom Kelly” is very Irish, but the truth is that it’s a combination of Rowan’s and Trumpey’s first names.
“We tried every Irish name in the book until a friend suggested combining our names,” she said. “A lot of people think there is a Tom Kelly’s.”
Now open for about five years, Tom Kelly’s has become the go-to place for St. Patrick’s Day in New Lenox, hosting an annual tent party with live music and lots more.
Recently, Tom Kelly’s has added a few new items to its menu, including catfish, tilapia, sausage & peppers and baked mostaccioli. To view the full menu or find out about catering, go to Tom Kelly’s website. There’s also live music at least once a month, and during the summer there’s a DJ and karaoke every Friday.
“I think every restaurant has their unique aspects to it,” Trumpey said. “But we want the dining experience to be more than just going out to dinner.”