Papa Kelsey’s to remain open, new owners says

Sellers have 'great confidence' in couple taking over restaurant

Papa Kelsey’s customers no longer need to stockpile orders of the Executioner sandwich, because owners Pat and Marilyn Olsen have found new owners to take over the long-established, well-loved sandwich shop.

The Olsens announced their retirement in July, and after a boom in business, tearful customers and a few interested inquiries, they are now in the process of selling the business at 1141 North 25th St. to Heather and Duane Good.

“I don’t think if we searched for a year we could have found better people to be doing this,” Pat Olsen said. “I’ve got great confidence in these guys. They have all the attributes that will make them successful, (and) for what they’ve said they want to do, just wait. This is going to be fun.”

Heather Good said that though she had long been interested in the restaurant business, her dreams didn’t start to take shape until two weeks ago, when her husband told her about Papa Kelsey’s closing.

“He came in and said ‘Well, we’re going to buy the business’ and I just said, ‘What? Really? Are you kidding me?’ ” Good said.

Good said that while they intend to keep everything on Papa Kelsey’s menu the same, she’s working with her mother-in-law, Cheryl Good, to add some Hawaiian cuisine, a reflection of the family’s cultural heritage.

Starting in September, customers can expect to see weekly specials featuring made-from-scratch Hawaiian food, two new sandwiches and the option to purchase beer or wine.

As for everything else? “I want to keep Papa Kelsey’s what it is. They’ve been here 23 years, they’ve done good and people know them for certain things,” Good said. “They’ve got an amazing customer base.”

Until the Goods take over in September, they are spending days training and learning from the Olsens, whether it’s behind the counter, in the kitchen or interacting with serious sandwich enthusiasts.

“Things come up maybe once a month that don’t come up once a day, and we want to make sure we’re around to answer those questions,” Olsen said. “We want to make sure they get a running start, and the way they’re going so far, they’re already running.” 

As for the Olsens’ retirement plans, Pat said the first on his agenda is to enjoy an empty schedule.

“The only firm plan is two weeks of absolutely nothing, and then we’ll figure it out from there,” Olsen said.


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