Felicia Kirkwood’s family is no stranger to the restaurant business. It started with her mother and father in 1989, and now she’s running her own business in Alhambra.
“We opened up in the first part of April this year,” Kirkwood said. “We had a few restaurants before.”
The family’s legacy began after her father, John Danis, a retired coal miner, decided to start his own restaurant. They opened Crossroads Restaurant in Mount Olive in 1989 when Felicia was 19, her first taste of the restaurant businesses, and she’s never looked back. Since then, the family has operated many other restaurants throughout the years.
In 1990, the family started Danis Restaurant in Mount Olive, then Art’s Restaurant in 1992. In 1993, the family put down roots at Circle D Restaurant in Benld. They sold it after Danis passed away in 2005. It was during that time that Felicia took over the family business and returned to Crossroads in 2004.
The Kirkwood family operated a few more restaurants until she decided to become a stay-at-home mom in 2008.
But that all changed when she opened Kirkwood Family Restaurant in Alhambra, the site of the former Polly’s Restaurant, in April.
“I like the restaurant business and being around people,” Kirkwood said. “It’s all I’ve ever done.” And that’s what her children will be able to say, too.
The restaurant has typical diner fare, including burgers and other sandwiches, appetizers, fried chicken, and desserts, including pie, ice cream and funnel cake.
There’s also several types of fried fish, including cod, tilapia, white fish, jack salmon, catfish and popcorn shrimp. The Kirkwoods are well-known for their fish. When they ran Townsend’s Tavern in Livingston 2005-2006, it was a big draw on Friday nights.
The entire business is family-owned and operated. Her daughter, Brittney Kirkwood, 23, is the hostess/waitress, while her mother, Margie Danis, 70, cooks. Her sons, Justin Kirkwood, 26, and Cody Holt, 25, help with the cleaning and maintenance. Her third son, Jonathan, 19, helps out in the kitchen as well. In the meantime, her youngest children, Destiny, 11, Christopher, 7, and Felicia, 5, may not be helping yet, but they will have a childhood that closely resembles their mother’s.
“They’ll probably grow up working here,” Kirkwood said. “I want it to be a family business.”
Kirkwood Family Restaurant at a glance
Location: 702 E. Main St. in Alhambra
Hours: Sunday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tuesday-Saturday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.