Kelly’s Jamaican restaurant on the West Side closes after nearly a decade

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Chef Kelbourne “Kelly” Codling’s restaurant has weathered all sorts of changes in the 24 years he’s been in business in Athens, and more are on the horizon. The owner of Kelly’s Authentic Jamaican Food took to his company’s Facebook page over the weekend to announce the impending closure of one of his locations.

Kelly’s last day of business at 145 Epps Bridge Road will be May 1, a decade after the West Side restaurant opened. Kelly’s in Five Points at 1583 S. Lumpkin St. will remain open and will soon receive an air conditioning upgrade and a fresh coat of paint.

Codling told the Banner-Herald that the Epps Bridge closure was due to a planned laundromat for nearby space previously occupied by the Studio 74 Styling Shop, which moved to Winder last spring.

(The story continues after the photo…)

This photo taken on April 25, 2022 at 145 Epps Bridge Road in Athens, Georgia shows the sign for Kelly's Authentic Jamaican Food.  Owner Kelly Codling will close the location on May 1 after 10 years in business, but will continue to operate the Five Points restaurant.

“The space was too small for what the landlords needed, and my lease is going to end anyway,” Codling said.

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Kelly’s came to Athens from Stone Mountain in 1998 and first operated on Milledge Avenue and Baxter Street before moving to Steverino’s old location at Five Points. In 2018, Codling wrote “True Believer: The Journey of Kelly Codling” with Bowen Craig, published by Bilbo Books.

Codling attributes his longevity in Athens to the kindness and generosity of the community and its loyal clientele: “I appreciate them and they appreciate me. I love everyone and I continue to do my best.

This photo taken at Kelly's Authentic Jamaican Food shows a mural on the side of the building at 145 Epps Bridge Road in Athens, Ga. Owner Kelly Codling is closing the location after 10 years and doesn't know what will happen to the painting mural.
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