Smith, Edwards have made a mark on Fort Worth as businesswomen and community volunteers
In 2007, Holly Edwards was reading a book and eating dinner at Fort Worth’s Tommy’s Hamburgers when the manager, Lee Furlong, gave her the business card for Kelly Smith, the owner of the popular restaurant.
Edwards recalled Furlong getting right to the point: “Call her. She’s single.”
Edwards was already a Tommy’s regular, camping out in a booth or at a table on weekend evenings. And she already had her eye on Smith.
“I’d always seen her but I didn’t know her before then,” Edwards said.
So Edwards, who was newly single, followed Furlong’s advice and called Smith. They agreed to meet.
Their first date was in 2007. They married on June 25, 2010 in the gay mecca of Provincetown, Mass.
Tommy’s Hamburgers is a staple of Cowtown’s burger scene, having been in the Smith family since 1983 when Kelly Smith’s father, Tommy, opened the first location. The restaurants are now under Kelly Smith’s management. She revived the brand in 2001, opening its first store on the city’s historic Camp Bowie Boulevard.
Predictably, it’s long been known for its beers and burgers. But Tommy’s is also well known for its gay-friendly vibe.
Previous advertising campaigns for the store prominently featured references to the queer pop art icon Andy Warhol. In the spirit of Cowtown’s moniker “cowboys and culture,” murals of the city and cow-filled pastures can be found on its walls.
And Kelly Smith and Edwards are as well known for volunteering in the community as Tommy’s is for its hamburgers.
The restaurant’s newest location — there are two — in the city’s gay-friendly Near Southside neighborhood hosts the monthly meetings for Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats, of which Kelly Smith is a proud member. (She noted both her parents, Tommy and Glenda, were hard-core Democrats.)
But Kelly Smith isn’t only about beer, burgers and politics; in certain circles, her name is always linked with the AIDS Outreach Center. Now the immediate past president of the AOC board, Kelly Smith credited her uncle, Brad Smith, for her involvement, explaining that she accompanied Brad, who was gay, to her first AIDS walk in 1993.
Though her uncle died of AIDS-related complications a year later at the age of 37, Kelly Smith said she felt compelled to carry on his memory.
After regularly participating in AOC’s AIDS Walk, she joined its board in 2007. Her service to AOC recently earned her an inaugural Visionary Award from Fairness Fort Worth’s Legacy Project. It was her first LGBT-related award.
As a couple, Kelly Smith and Edwards are both active in the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s annual Race for the Cure fundraiser.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 16, 2015.