Central Ohio native returns for double catering business

DELAWARE, Ohio — A graduate of Delaware Hayes High School, TD Rider had spent the past five years in Florida selling cars, deep-sea fishing and delving into southern recipes.

Last year, he discovered an opportunity to return home and start his own business when two buildings opened in downtown Delaware.

What do you want to know

  • Rider is the owner of Kelly’s Island Kitchen, named after his mother, and joint restaurant Queso Fuego
  • Rider said the city has really changed over the past few years and is proud to be part of its growth.
  • While Kelly’s Island Kitchen offers various southern-inspired fish and seafood, Queso Fuego offers Tex-Mex dishes

“I knew I could do it. I’ve definitely had people say, ‘You would never do that’ or ‘You couldn’t do that’. Every day it brings a smile to my face to know that we made it,” said new Delaware business owner TD Rider.

But the journey to get there has not been easy. Unfortunately for the Rider family, things took an unexpected turn last May when her mother Kelly, a longtime teacher from Delaware, lost her 14-year battle with brain cancer.

“She actually came to visit me and three weeks later when she came back she was gone. As I began to learn more about these restaurants that were available. Immediately, it wasn’t even a blink of an eye that I knew that was what I wanted to call it. It reminds us of all the cool adventures we’ve had,” Rider said.

While Kelly’s Island Kitchen offers a variety of southern-inspired fish and seafood, Rider’s joint restaurant, Queso Fuego, offers Tex-Mex dishes.

Rider said he was proud to be part of downtown Delaware’s growth as a foodie destination.

“It’s also getting a lot of attention from local magazines, as well as a lot of traction online. So people are starting to, instead of moving away from Delaware, people are starting to come to Delaware,” Rider said.

Rider said it was a big change from when he left town just five years ago.

He said the welcome from the local community had been overwhelming and that deep down he knew his mother was watching from above with a smile.

“The first night we were open on the other side, they knew it was going to be a really big hit. She watches over us and cheers us on the whole way,” Rider said.

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