T-bone Tom’s GM Anna Kennedy to retire after 42 years
May 04, 2015 12:13AM ● Published by SCENE MAGAZINE STAFF
Anna Kennedy has worked at T-Bone Tom’s since 1973 when it was just a neighborhood meat market. Kennedy said she and then-owner, Leonard Fitzmorris regularly bantered back and forth over how she didn’t want her whole chickens cut up; because she didn’t always know how she was going to cook them.
Finally, Fitzmorris proposed, “Well, if you know how to cut up a chicken, you need to come work with me.” Kennedy started as a part-timer. “They had me do a little of everything,” she said. “It gave me something to do while my husband was away,” she added. Since, at that time she had young children and her husband worked as a Harbor Master.
In 1974, Fitzmorris’ son, Tom, purchased the meat market. Kennedy remained an employee and she prepared prepackaged sides and wrapped meats to go. T-Bone’s transformation into a restaurant occurred in 1983 after Hurricane Alicia. In the 1990s, Kennedy became the restaurant’s day manager. With the passing of “T-Bone” Tom in 1997, Kennedy took on the role of general manager. “I’ve seen the restaurant change a lot. It’s been a great ride.” she said. In 1999 current owners Barry and Melissa Terrell purchased the restaurant. Kennedy, excited that Terrell was “a restaurant guy,” joked with the staff, “We’ll keep him.” Kennedy said she and Terrell learned a great deal from each other. Kennedy revealed, “[The Terrells] didn’t want to rock the boat. They were a God-send after Tom’s passing.” One thing that didn’t change for Kennedy was how flexible the owners were in regards to her and her family. She disclosed, “It’s why I’ve stayed so long.”
Barry Terrell stated, “In the restaurant business, it’s hard to find anyone who has worked that long in the same place.”
Kennedy explained, “A special breed of people like to serve the public. I was made for it, because I enjoy it.” Plus, as Kennedy explained, the owners were “very kind and generous to everybody not just me.” Kennedy shared she will not miss the “hustle and bustle of crazy busy days.”
She expressed looking forward to her new home build on 105 acres in Leon County and traveling the United States coast to coast. Kennedy laughed, “I might even check out other restaurants on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives’ like other retired people do.” She shared, “It’s time to retire while I’m young enough to enjoy it.” (Though according to Terrell, Kennedy said she was way too young to be retiring, but she was going to bite the bullet and do it anyway.)
Kennedy said she will miss the camaraderie with the staff and the locals who know her well. “I know most of the regulars by name or at least by what they eat,” she admitted. Restaurant regular and family friend, Shirley Torres stated, [Anna] is one hard working lady. I really don’t know how they will get along without her. Job well done.”
Kennedy said she hopes she instilled her pride of hospitality and has no regrets. “Forty-two years of life – I did my best,” she told Terrell. She said he replied, “Yes, you did.”
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Anna has been a pleasure to work with...she is very knowledgeable about the restaurant business, from booking the bands to ordering food..we are truly gonna miss her. - Barry Terrell, T-bone Tom’s Owner
Anna, helped us and supported us for many years, she is one of the best managers we have worked with. It is because of her that I married the love of my life. "Without Anna there would not be a Wood 'n Wind". Though she doesn't know it, she is the one that facilitated our relationship.” - Steve Revak, Wood & Wind
Whenever customers would ask Anna if she owned T-Bone Tom's, she'd laugh and tell them, "No, but [the owners] let me act like I do." And that's one of the most awesome things about Anna. She takes ownership. She cares about T-Bone Tom's just as much as we do. And that's why we never worried any time we were gone. We knew that Anna had our back. - Melissa Terrell, T-bone Tom’s Owner
One of my favorite memories about Anna is her telling me the story about meeting her now husband (Kenneth Kennedy) many years ago, and how they ended up together so many years later and got married. It is truly a touching story. - Mindy Jackson, T-bone Tom’s Management
Anna is the go-to gal for the history of building the Kemah bridge. She was there since Tom was at the helm and they grew from a meat market to the place we love today. - Annabelle Ruch, Krewe du Lac Founder
I'm gonna miss Anna's shrimp salad at Christmas time. I’m not going to miss her calling me early almost every morning or saying ‘Yall will miss me when I am gone.’ - Bruce Cote, T-bone Tom’s Management