While the morning sun is just beginning to make it’s way up in the sky, at 5:00am you’ll find Kathy and her co-workers in the kitchen of “Kathy’s Family Restaurant” whipping up some hot country breakfast for farmers, business men and women, retired Vets, school teachers, coaches, grandfathers, grandmothers and anyone who walks through her front door. At least that’s how you “feel” when you get there. The hospitality is so thick you could stir it with a wooden spoon! You literally feel as though you are walking through the front door of home with arms…full of folks who welcome you every single time!
Just this morning, I went to get a photo of this popular place in the heart of Columbia, TN, and of course I couldn’t leave without a delicious sausage biscuit all wrapped up snug and warm in parchment paper! It’s the little things that whisper “home”, right? Well, that seems to be Kathy’s motto as she serves up “home” with a smile – day after day!
But that’s not all — she also serves lunch. Dinner plates of your choice – meat and veggies, mac&cheese, homemade yeast rolls and cornbread cooked on a skillet, nice and round like flapjacks. Or you can get a homemade hamburger, steaming hot bowl of soup, grilled cheese, oh, and don’t get me started on the pies!!! Meringue that has got to be 3″ tall!!
When you’re a “regular” like Rip and I are, Kathy and her team know your drink order and have it waiting for you at a table that’s been wiped off clean. I’m telling you, there is not a waitress in Kathy’s restaurant who doesn’t smile and serve you with genuine hospitality. It looks and feels and smells like “home” and to be able to offer that every day of the week is no small task…but sure reflects her heart.
One of the reasons why I love my city is because everywhere I go I meet hard-working, caring and over-and-beyond giving people, … on every corner. And it’s Kathy who is the example to us all in what a “giving servant” looks like. She throws on her apron, pulls her hair back in a clippy, and knows almost everyone who walks in her restaurant by name …
… and by need.
You see, it was just a couple of weeks ago I watched a precious elderly man come into Kathy’s and she met him half way. Told him to take a seat in one of her booths and asked him what he’d like to eat. After he told her, she hurried back to the kitchen, came out with his plate and then…got right back in “go mode” serving food to everyone in the place. Because I had never seen her do that, (go to a customer, sit down and ask what they wanted), I called her over to our table and told her how much that blessed me to see her care for him like she did. So personal and tender. She then told me this,
“Lisa, his wife died and well, I love the elderly. I wanted him to just come in here and sit down, relax and let me serve him. My heart just goes out to … (tears welling up in her eyes) … I just love old people.”
By the time she got out those few short words, the tears already needed to be wiped off her face – tears that showed what REALLY motivated this woman to run (in my opinion) one of the most successful restaurants in town — her compassion. Now, being the strong southern woman that she is, she sucked those tears back in a flash because she’s a “do-er” and it was time to get back to doin’. Doin’ the only thing she knows – serve. Gracious! I admire her for that!
Now she doesn’t concern herself with all the fluff and stuff in trying to make an overly decorated restaurant. I don’t think her customers would want her to. I can nearly hear every one of them saying, “Don’t you change not one thing!” Because it’s the vintage-ness of Kathy’s that we all love! The vintage decor’ and the vintage ways of Kathy’s service.
So what marks Kathy’s? It’s her and her team of servers who put “care” behind every poured glass of ice tea. Behind every plate piled high with a meat and three. Behind every cleaned table. And behind every bit of conversation they have with folks who flock through the front door.
So, if you are looking for a place to get a lunch that is hot and homemade; if you want to experience some good ole’ southern hospitality with a touch of remembrance from days gone by, just make your way to Kathy’s. Tell them Lisa and Rip sent you and be ready to get your belly full and your heart warmed by the simplicity of … being served Home with a smile.
Kathy’s Family Restaurant – 702 Hatcher Lane, Columbia, TN – 931.540.0779
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