(Originally published October 14, 2003.)

Who says there is no such thing as coming home again?

A year after Shelly's Place returned to Old Town Hesperia, the home style restaurant is connecting with patrons, a mixture of just-down-the-block neighbors and across-the-valley longtime fans.

The reason, according to owner Gary Drylie, husband of founder Shelly Sullivan: "This is an extension of our home. We want you to feel like you're walking into our home."

Shelly's newest offering is the afternoon high tea, an enjoyable, relaxed and slightly formal event based on the 18th century English tradition. The first event was last Saturday. Other teas are planned throughout the fall.

"Our customers can take a step back in time and reflect," said Drylie, who owns the Hesperia location while Sullivan retains ownership of the Victorville restaurant.

In fact, the couple has done a lot of reflection over the past year. An Old Town fixture beginning in 1986, the restaurant -- and most other businesses -- later abandoned Hesperia's oldest business section after a decline in public interest and facility disrepair. After 10 years on Orange Street, Shelly's Place moved to 14366 Atstar Drive in Victorville.

But the memory of quaint Old Town Hesperia lingered, and when property owner Leonard Crites invited the couple to come back, they agreed.

"Leonard came over and told me that he wanted Shelly's Place here," Sullivan said.

The new restaurant building was owned and developed by Crites, a Hesperia planning commissioner and owner of Foremost Health Services, an assisted living facility located behind the eatery. Just north of Shelly's is a collection of original rundown wooden structures, one of which housed Shelly's original Old Town location.

"The building was falling down around me," Sullivan remembered.

While the buildings differ, a common theme remains: high quality recipes and lots of delicious choices.

The menu features nearly a wide assortment of nearly 100 items.

The Cobb salad, presented and tossed table side is a favorite. But so are other salads, including the hot bacon spinach, blackened steak, seafood Louie and chicken taco salads.

Popular sandwiches are grilled Reuben, Desert Racer -- grilled sourdough piled high with roast beef, turkey, swiss cheese, lettuce and tomatoes -- barbecued beef, ham or chicken, beef dip or grilled tuna steak sandwiches.

For something Shelly's offers the Heirloom, a grilled cheese blend with guacamole on grilled rye, Grilled Hammer, Mojave River Seafood and Shrooms Galore specialty sandwiches.

A "great old-fashioned burger" made of one-half pound lean ground beef with a choice of cheeses, mushrooms or chili is extremely popular.

"Our burgers are so good," Sullivan said.

Other lunch selections include pasta (Alfredo and Primavera), a trio of Mexican quesadillas -- quesadilla, chickadilla and shrimpadilla -- and deli-style sandwiches.

But breakfast, which is served all day, features two staples, a giant cinnamon roll, baked fresh daily, and biscuits and gravy. Other breakfast fare includes omelet and egg selections along with hotcakes, waffles, or breakfast cereals.

Shelly's espresso bar features espresso, cappuccino and other coffee delicacies (Drylie recommends the icy "Brain Freeze").

But Shelly's is more than great food. It's a destination. The restaurant has a main dining room, parlor and meeting room for private groups of up to 15. That adds up to a tremendous opportunity for patrons.

"I'm proud of what we've got," Drylie said. "Without being snooty we've got a well presented restaurant."

Shelly's Place, located at 8832 Orange St., Hesperia, is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For more information, call 956-7400.