• Clarice MacGarvey

Kelly Flores: Exmore's Youngest Entrepreneur Finds Success Serving Traditional Mexican Cuisine



At age 23, Kelly Flores, the founder and owner of Mama Judith’s Mexican Cantina, may just be Exmore’s youngest entrepreneur. And when she first opened her business in November 2021, she was only 22. That first year was a success with the quality of the food earning 5-star ratings (highest available) for the cantina on Google and other online review sites.


One key to Kelly’s success is the authenticity of her recipes which are masterminded by Kelly’s mother, Nora. Kelly’s brother Jonathan, who is 20 by the way, assists with the cooking, but whether tamales, burritos or the ever-popular taco, Mother Nora is the inspiration. So, who is Mama Judith? That’s Kelly’s abuela. Her mother’s mother. The late grandmother who helped raise her. “Mama” Judith named a restaurant for Kelly and Jonathan years before, and now Kelly is returning the honor.


The Flores family is originally from Guerrero, Mexico, near Acapulco, and many dishes are prepared in traditional Guerrero style, incorporating various indigenous influences and a wide range of ingredients, from beef and pork to shellfish. Kelly has added her own contemporary twists to the menu to meet customer preferences for vegetarian, keto or lighter choices, such as creating a Romaine lettuce “taco” shell and serving natural fruit waters and fruit smoothies as well as traditional sodas. Kelly uses locally sourced products and fresh local ingredients when possible, including organic eggs from a farmer in Eastville.


Kelly has lived in Exmore since the age of six. She graduated from Northampton High School and the local Eastern Shore Community College. She loves the Town of Exmore and feels it is the heart of Virginia’s Eastern Shore.


Looking ahead, Kelly plans to upgrade her mobile cantina, and perhaps find something smaller that she and Jonathan can take to local events. Maybe add shaved ice to the menu. Whatever the next step, we are confident Kelly and Mama Judith’s will remain a caliente (hot) success.


A sampling of the stellar comments from Google: Do not pass this place without stopping. Hands down the best Mexican food I've ever had and I've tried dozens of places. My whole family enjoyed the food and will stay nearby on our next trip just to have it again!

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