Harpers Ferry eatery gets national recognition for vegan fare

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HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (WDVM) — An eastern panhandle eatery has earned some national notoriety from the social media dining site, Yelp. The backstory takes one couple from selling used cars to canning pickles to becoming a nationally recognized restaurant.

Kelley Farm Kitchen in Harpers Ferry has been awarded a five-star rating and ranks number one in the entire U.S for its vegan fare, according to Yelp. For Sondra Kelly and her husband, Ben — who were both selling used cars in Frederick, Maryland before this venture — it has been quite a journey from a stand at a weekend farmers’ market to a dining venue with a glowing reputation.

“We opened and we thought ‘well, nobody’s gonna come,” said Sondra. “We’re a vegan restaurant in West Virginia. The first day we opened we had – we were just like – scraping together with no money left — just hoping that somebody would come. And from the very first day, the outpouring of support and love has just been so huge. I mean it just took off.”

Sondra’s husband, Ben, can attest to that: the entire region has been welcoming.

“I never really had a sense of community until everyone around here truly, truly embraced us,” said Ben Kelley.

If all this is giving you an appetite right now, well, it might be a good idea to curb it for the time being.

Sondra said, “You definitely want to call very far in advance. We’ve had some really really long wait times that we’re so thankful for. You know, each person that we see is a new person that we get to become friends with. But the love and the care that I put into food takes time, and we’re certainly not a fast food restaurant.”

Ben and Sondra say that if you show up without a reservation they’re happy to refer you to a neighboring eatery. Sondra’s advice if you plan to visi: they are only open Thursday through Sunday, so please call ahead to avoid a long wait for your order.

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