Reed looks to retire after 17 years of home cooking
By Julia Wolf
Kathy’s Diner, a staple of the Cadott community, could see changes in the future, as owner Kathy Reed is looking to sell the business and step into retirement.
The restaurant, located at the corner of State Hwy. 27 and East Mills Street, has served home cooked meals to locals and passersby alike, for 17 years, and also offers catering services.
“I bought it in August of 2001 and opened it in February of 2002,” said Reed.
Reed says the building required a lot of clean-up, since it had been closed for two years, before Reed purchased the building.
“As long as I could remember, I always wanted my own little restaurant,” said Reed, calling the restaurant a childhood dream.
Reed says her love of cooking was formed alongside her mom in the kitchen growing up and she taught herself how to cook after that.
When the location came up for sale, the Cadott native and her husband decided to go for it.
“I don’t regret a day of it,” said Reed. “I tell people I’ve been retired for 17 years, because I got to do what I wanted to do.”
The family nature of the cooking hasn’t changed. Now, Reed’s grandchildren help around the business.
The building itself has seen some changes over the years. After a grease fire in 2010, the whole dining room was remodeled.
“We only closed for a month,” said Reed.
Reed says her favorite part of the business has been the people who come through her doors and the fact that the food she serves is homemade, something she says not many restaurants do anymore. Over the years, the customers have become her friends.
Reed says the variety of foods she gets to make is part of the fun. The menu features a different special each day, with the exception of Fridays, where the fish fry reigns supreme. Another specialty of Reed’s is kolaches. One day, Reed made 123 dozen of the sweet treat, a personal record.
Kathy’s Diner also hosts the senior Meals on Wheels, Monday through Friday, each week.
“One thing that’s nice about catering to them, is they know what home cooked food is,” said Reed.
Seniors able to make the trek to the restaurant are able to dine in, while those who are homebound, have meals delivered. Reed says she serves 550-600 meals per week, through the program.
The program also helps the community keep an eye on each other. Reed says she has regulars through the Meals on Wheels program, and if a regular misses more than one day, they can expect a call to check in on them.
“We kind of all take care of each other,” said Reed.
Reed says she would like to see whoever buys the business continue to host the Meals on Wheels.
The restaurant also offers a book club for students, where teachers dictate how many books a student must read before they earn a free kids meal at Kathy’s Diner.
“That’s gone over really well,” said Reed. “I probably serve...between 350 and 450 free kids meals a year.”
Reed says she plans to stay open for business until the restaurant sells. Some people have shown interest in purchasing the diner, but Reed says no one has made the jump yet.
Reed plans to stay busy in retirement, using the time to travel, spend time with her grandchildren and volunteer at church. That, and get up in the morning to drink coffee and watch the birds for a while.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this and I’m going to miss it a lot,” said Reed. “I’ll probably cry like a baby when I hand the keys over to whoever.”