The sign displayed in the front window at Mike’s Seafood expresses Sea Isle City’s love for Jason Kelce.


He plays in Philly, but the folks in Sea Isle City consider him their hometown hero.

Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro and Pro-Bowl center Jason Kelce put down roots in Sea Isle when he and his wife, Kylie, bought a summer vacation home in the beach town in 2022.

Although Sea Isle residents claim Kelce as one of their own, they don’t necessarily want to see the future Hall of Famer leave Philadelphia altogether. They are hoping that he plays for the Eagles at least one more season.

One local business, Mike’s Seafood & Dock Restaurant, has expressed Sea Isle’s admiration for Kelce by placing a sign in the front window that bluntly says, “Don’t Retire.”

The sign proclaims that “We Love You 62,” referring to Kelce’s jersey number. It is addressed to Kelce from “The Crew @ Mike’s Seafood.”

Mike Monichetti, the owner of Mike’s Seafood, an iconic restaurant on Park Road in Sea Isle’s historic Fish Alley neighborhood, said he has been deluged with phone calls ever since he put up the sign on Tuesday.

“I must have gotten calls from at least 60 to 70 people who reached out to me. They said, ‘What a great idea. What a nice tribute,’” Monichetti said of the public’s reaction.

Monichetti believes that it is “the most photographed sign” in Sea Isle.

“Every time I looked up, someone was hanging out of their car or standing on the sidewalk taking a picture,” he said.

Mike Monichetti, center, owner of Mike’s Seafood & Dock Restaurant, is joined by Jason and Travis Kelce during one of their stops at the eatery. (Photo courtesy of Mike Monichetti)

Monichetti has gotten to know Jason and Kylie Kelce from their stops at Mike’s Seafood for dinner and takeout orders.

“They’re very, very nice people. Down to earth,” he said.

Jason has also brought his equally famous brother – Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro and Pro-Bowl tight end Travis Kelce – to Mike’s Seafood a couple of times, Monichetti pointed out.

So far, there have been no reported sightings in Sea Isle of Travis and his pop superstar girlfriend, Taylor Swift. Travis and the Chiefs, as all football fans already know, are preparing for their Super Bowl battle with the San Francisco 49ers.

Sea Isle pulled for Jason Kelce and the Eagles last year when they faced, and lost to, the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. In the run-up to the Super Bowl, a “Go Eagles” sign was placed in front of the Sea Isle City Welcome Center.

Following the Eagles’ season-ending loss to Tampa Bay in the playoffs in January, media reports and rumors have swirled that Kelce may retire.

Sea Isle Mayor Leonard Desiderio believes that once Kelce sees the “Don’t Retire” sign at Mike’s Seafood, “He’s going to love Sea Isle even more than he does now.”

“He’s going to know that he has a lot of friends in the community,” Desiderio said. “Mike (Monichetti) is expressing the sentiments of many of us. We all love Jason Kelce and we want him to come back for another year.”

A close-up of the “Kelce Don’t Retire” sign on display in the front window at Mike’s Seafood on Park Road.

Kelce’s popularity in Sea Isle is on display every summer when he appears at the Ocean Drive bar and sister property O’Donnell’s Pour House as part of a guest bartending role to raise money for autism awareness. Hundreds of Kelce’s fans show up for the “Team 62” event every year.

Kelce’s Team 62 is part of the Eagles Autism Challenge, an annual fundraiser for the Eagles Autism Foundation.

During the 2023 autism awareness fundraiser in Sea Isle, Kelce brought along teammates Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Dallas Goedert, Landon Dickerson and Jake Elliot, as well as former Eagles Connor Barwin, Trent Cole and Todd Herremans. Travis Kelce was another celebrity guest.

One of the inspirations for Kelce’s Team 62 is an annual major fundraiser for autism awareness organized by Mike Monichetti and his wife, Jeannie.

Known as the Mike’s Seafood Run-Walk for Autism, the 16th annual event will be held in Sea Isle on Feb. 17 during Presidents Day weekend. Thousands of people are expected to participate.

Jason Kelce poses for a selfie with his fans during his autism awareness fundraiser in 2023 at O’Donnell’s Pour House in Sea Isle.
Categories: Sea Isle City

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.