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Keeley Steele

Keeley Steele comes home to West Virginia

By Jama L. Jarrett

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When Keeley Steele was younger, she was eager to leave West Virginia. After high school she did just that. But after six years of living in Kentucky and teaching in Tennessee, Steele decided to come back home to figure out the next step of her life.

“I came home and never left again,” said Steele.

Originally from the Charleston area, Steele and her husband have remained in the capital city and are conscientious business owners in the East End. The pair has revitalized two East End properties that are now home to two of Charleston’s favorite restaurants.

“When I was living in Nashville I was inspired by the restaurant scene. I wanted to bring a cool, artsy, fun-filled place to the people of Charleston,” said Steele.

In October 2005, Bluegrass Kitchen opened and became known for its “eclectic comfort food.” Its specialty is vegetarian and omnivorous dishes made from ingredients naturally grown and raised within West Virginia and the Appalachians.

“We try to stay local as much as possible,” said Steele. “We buy from the local farmer’s market, as well as other state farmers.”

Not only is Steele supporting other West Virginia business, but she also has played a vital role in the East End Main Street redevelopment efforts. Steele, her husband and both of their families devoted countless hours to the revitalization of the building that houses Bluegrass Kitchen.

“My father-in-law temporally moved from Boston to help us restore our building,” said Steele. “It took a long time for the pieces to fall together, but with the support of family and the community, we have been able to make our dreams a reality.”

Steele is proud of what her family has been able to accomplish in recent years. “We are excited to be a part of the great things taking place in West Virginia, especially in Charleston,” says Steele. “If you have a vision, West Virginia is a great place to help you realize that dream. Here, you have the space, the audience and the support that is needed to make your business a success.”

In her spare time, Steele likes to spend time with her husband and son Sullivan in some of West Virginia’s smaller, older towns, such as Fayetteville, Sutton and Lewisburg. “There is so much history and charm in our state’s towns; people need to take the time to explore and learn,” said Steele.

Steele’s most recent business venture is Tricky Fish, located across the street from Bluegrass. This unique restaurant serves natural and organic beach-shack food, cold beer and frozen drinks. “It’s West Virginia’s very own beach shack,” said Steele.