The meat and potatoes of Katie’s Café

bbashioum@demo-mo.comOctober 1, 2013 

Peculiar’s Katie’s Café owner Katie Kalinka, 30, chats with two of her regular customers, Dick Morris, center, and Jerry Harper, right, both of Peculiar, at the “bull pen” table inside of the diner.

DEMOCRAT MISSOURIAN — Bethany Bashioum/Democrat Missourian

At Katie’s Café, there’s plenty of home-style cooking to go around.

“I want people to be able to come here to eat and think, ‘Man, my grandma cooks likes that,’” Owner Katie Kalinka, 30, said. “That's the kind of place we are and I love it. We try very hard to make sure every time someone comes in that it is a good experience.”

Kalinka, an Adrian native, grew up in the restaurant business, watching her parents, Tony and Michelle Reynolds, who worked at Benjamin’s Stables near Bannister Road, and owned Ranch Café in Raymore, for 25 years.

She started waiting tables for her parents she was 11 years old.

“I grew up doing it,” said Kalinka, who now resides in Raymore. “Both of my parents taught me a lot.”

In high school, Kalinka wanted to pursue nursing as a career. But by the time she reached her early 20s, she realized the restaurant business was for her, and instead, decided to take some business classes.

Then, two years ago, Kalinka’s started her own business venture, Katie’s Café, a local diner with hometown appeal, in a retail area near in the I-49 corridor at 208 S. State Rt. C, Peculiar.

Kalinka said the restaurant business is difficult at times, but over the years, her parents taught her the ins and outs of good customer service -- a key component to the industry -- which often translates to the golden rule of food service.

“Usually, the customer is always right,” Kalinka said.

Her parents also taught Kalinka the family’s age-old recipes for southern style comfort food.

“My grandma is from Louisiana, so a lot of it is the southern kind of cooking,” Kalinka said. “And everything we make here is homemade from scratch.”

Hamburgers are hand-pattied; tenderloins and chicken fried steaks are breaded and rolled out in the kitchen.

“By the time they get done, they're as big as your head,” Kalinka said.

Most of the meat served at Katie’s Café is delivered locally from the Peculiar Meat Company.

“It's fresh, good quality meat,” Kalinka said.

Kalinka also serves up homemade mashed potatoes, and gravies are made fresh every single day.

“There's a lot of people that will come and be like, ‘There was something lumpy in my mashed potatoes,’ and I'm like, ‘Yes, it's called a potato,’” she said.

Along with the hearty combination of meat and potatoes, Kalinka also wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to make an array of desserts fresh daily -- including cobblers and pies.

“I make all the desserts,” she said. “It's that kind of place.”

Since her day in the kitchen begins very early, Kalinka’s father takes over the cooking duties for the dinner and weekend crowds so she can spend time with her family, which includes four children ages 2 to 7 years old.

“I cook during the day, and then he comes in and cooks dinner, and on weekends, he cooks breakfast and lunch,” she said. “We're a good team”

While she offers high-quality food, Kalinka says the menu reasonably-priced, and there’s always a special at each meal time.

The lunch special even includes a dish of one of Kalinka’s famous fruit cobbler choices.

“We're not fast food. We're real food real fast,” reads the restaurant’s motto on the menu.

Kalinka said she understands her dining guests have to get in and out of the restaurant within their 30-60 minute lunch breaks.

“For us, it's crucial to make sure, in that time span, you get good food and quality service,” she said.

Kalinka says she is also supported by good employees.

“I have a low turnover rate,” she said. “A lot of the girls, because they've been here so long, they know exactly what you want to drink and eat.”

Kalinka says that’ the kind of restaurant atmosphere she desires.

“I like it when people can come in and they feel like they're at home. They feel like this is their house, literally,” she said. “When they come in, I want them to feel special.”

She also prefers that there’s no formal dress code to dine here, either.

“People can come in and they don't have to be dressed up in a suit and tie,” Kalinka said.

In addition to dining in, Katie’s Café also offers catering services.

Hours of operation are 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday; 6 .m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday; and 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday.

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