Kelly’s Roast Beef opening new location in Dedham

Kelly's, a Massachusetts staple since 1951, is in the process of a major expansion effort.

Kelly's Roast Beef in Revere. Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe

Kelly’s Roast Beef, the iconic Massachusetts-based restaurant chain, has announced plans to open its seventh full-sized location. 

Customers will be able to get their roast beef sandwich fix at 825 Providence Highway in Dedham, the company said in an Instagram post Saturday. Construction is now underway and the new location should be open by “late summer.”

Kelly’s currently operates four Massachusetts locations, in Revere Beach, Saugus, Medford, and Danvers. There is also an outpost in Salem, N.H. and in University Park, Fla. Two other locations in Florida are coming soon, according to the company’s website. 


As the company tells it now, Kelly’s began in 1951 as a “fluke.” Founders Frank V. McCarthy and Raymond Carey set up a hot dog shack steps from Revere Beach. They named it after their best friend, Thomas Kelly. 

As the story goes, McCarthy and Carey stumbled onto a million-dollar idea while working for a special events venue next door. After a wedding was canceled one night, the pair was left with a bunch of spare roast beefs. Instead of throwing them out, they took the meat to their hot dog stand and began selling thinly sliced roast beef sandwiches. 

The roast beef sandwiches were an instant hit, and Kelly’s has enjoyed success as a local favorite for decades. 

A few years ago, Kelly’s set its sights beyond Massachusetts. The company announced major expansion plans in 2020, and began franchising its locations. Kelly’s said at the time that the goal was to open 50 franchise locations by 2025, The Boston Globe reported. 

The origins of the push for franchising can be traced back to 2018, when the company completed its first licensing agreement to open a location in Terminal B of Logan Airport. 


A company that, until recently, had relied on word of mouth marketing and local name recognition embarked on a sweeping brand refresh as part of the expansion process. Boston-based Marlo Marketing was hired to lead this refresh, according to the Globe

Marlo began an “audit” of the brand in the fall of 2021. This included site visits, food sampling, and menu inspections. 

“There’s a lot we know about making a great roast beef sandwich,” Ray Carey IV, grandson of one of Kelly’s founders, told the Globe last year. “That doesn’t mean we’re great at making websites…brand and style guidelines.”

Kelly’s decided to explicitly market itself as a Boston company, switching its slogan from “Kelly’s: Roast Beef, Seafood, Sandwiches.” to “Kelly’s: Boston’s Legendary Roast Beef & Seafood.” 

The logo was tweaked to become clearer and more colorful, the Globe reported, and the company decided to lean into marketing a signature sandwich known as the “three-way.” This roast beef sandwich topped with American Cheese, mayonnaise, and James River BBQ Sauce is well-known to fans of Kelly’s. But there was some concern regarding any potential innuendo new customers may associate with the sandwich name. 


Marlo Fogelman, who founded Marlo Marketing, said that Kelly’s ultimately decided to not shy away from its famous “three-way” sandwich. 

“In the world of people who are obsessive about roast beef, a three-way is a thing,” she told the Globe. “It’s like, ‘get your mind out of the gutter, we’ve been making it for 70 years.’”


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