Shelly has left the building.


"It's been 23 years. I had an awesome run, and I enjoyed most of it," Shelly Sullivan said Friday. "The right person made the right offer at the right time."


Shelly's Place, on Orange Street, is now Mary Ann's Restaurant. Although the staff, the menu and the decor remains the same, the ownership has officially changed, and Sullivan herself hasn't been in the kitchen since she walked her successor through a few of her signature baking recipes.


"I cannot begin to tell you how good I feel," Sullivan said. She sold the Victorville location of her restaurant -- now known as Lily's Place -- in 2005. Now she's going to fill her days spending time with her grandchildren and painting a few rooms in the house that have needed it for a while.


"I wasn't really actively pursuing" selling the restaurant, she said. "After the [uterine cancer] surgery two and a half years ago, I kind of [thought] about it every once in a while. ... I'm kind of a control freak, so I probably spent more time there than I should have."


Sullivan beat cancer, but it caused her to reevaluate her priorities and start thinking about a life after her restaurant. Various offers came in for the restaurant over the years, but Sullivan was never really tempted.


"It never seemed like the right person," she said. "After 23 years with a place called Shelly's Place ... I just still had a vision that it maybe could be carried on at some level."


But then Paul and Mary Ann Walker decided that they wanted to get back into the restaurant business. (The couple owns Roadrunner Auto Sales in Lucerne Valley and Paul builds zero-energy homes for a firm in Victorville.)


"We've been in business before, and this is a beautiful restaurant and we saw the opportunity and we jumped on it," Mary Ann Walker said.


And it's Walker's name out front now, not Sullivan's.


"I didn't want to sell the name, because if the name was there, I wouldn't be there to back it," Sullivan said. "Out of the blue, they showed up and had the money and wanted to buy, and I said 'yep, I'll do it.'"


The Walkers had been eating at Shelly's Place at least once a week for quite some time.


"She likes what I do; she's been a customer for a while."


"Shelly has made this [restaurant] so successful," Walker said. "We're not changing the menu. We feel if it's not broke, don't fix it. We'll put our own twist on things, but for the most part, it's the same great menu."


As for Sullivan herself, she's got a whole lot of free time on her hands for the first time in decades, and isn't quite sure what she's going to do.


"Seriously, I have no plan," she said. She'll likely take some classes at Victor Valley College and pitch in at a friend's new restaurant once in a while, but beyond that, she's not sure.


Her husband, Gary "Griz" Drylie, will be taking the Hesperia Old Town Museum elsewhere, and is talking to the restaurant's landlord about moving into one of the buildings next door, once they're renovated.


"I plan on going to Mary Ann's," Sullivan said. "I'm hoping for great things for her."


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.