TIPTON — Will Kemper jokingly said it was a short burst of insanity that led his mother, Kaye, and him to purchase Izzy and Eddy’s restaurant near downtown Tipton last August.
In operation since 2014, the restaurant — located at 122 Sweetland Ave. — has been a staple in that area of the community, and the pair didn’t want to see it fold under due to recent management issues.
“Dr. [Tracey] Powell was the original owner, and I have been friends with him for years,” Kaye said. “One day he said he didn’t think the restaurant was going to work out with the previous manager, and so I said I would try it. Then he sent me a text one day and asked if I was serious. ... So I said I would talk to Will about it.”
And when Will received his mother’s phone call one morning, he said he didn’t know if he was dreaming or still asleep, but he knew he was excited for a new challenge.
“It’s not just about owning your own business, but it’s also about getting to share some of the recipes that she [Kaye] has cooked for years and we always enjoyed growing up,” Will said. “It seems like everyone that eats her cooking seems to like it, so why not let everyone else try it too?”
The Kempers have already made some changes to the restaurant too, mainly bringing back some of the more popular menu items that disappeared after Powell left in 2018.
The pair have also changed back to the original food vendors that the restaurant used when it first opened, and the hot bar that the Kempers said customers came to expect over the years is now back every Sunday.
Good food. Good service. Good fellowship.
That’s what the Kempers said they want to provide every person that walks through the front door, and the pair said they also want to see people leave at the end of their meals with smiling faces and full stomachs.
“Most of the customers that come in are repeats,” Will said. “We haven’t gotten a lot of new ones yet, but I feel like most of the community already knows about this place. ... But we want to be a place where everyone personally knows us too.
“I’ve worked in retail before where you don’t get to have the opportunity to visit with the customers a whole lot,” Will continued. “They get in line, you check them out, and then they’re gone. ... But here, it’s good to have that relationship with your customers so you’re not just another nameless face giving them their food.”
Because just like the Kempers themselves, Izzy and Eddy’s is about family, the pair said, a proverbial “Cheers” of Tipton County.
“I think this venture has made the two of us closer,” Kaye said, referring to the joint ownership with her son. “We might disagree or yell at each other once in a while, but it’s been very fun to spend the extra time with him. ... And we just want this place to be comfortable when you step into the front door.
“And when I’m ready to retire, I can just turn this place over to him [Will], and I can enjoy some winters in Florida or on vacation on a beach somewhere knowing this place is in good hands.”