Photo by Jackie Brunk
Restaurant thrives on home cooking
It’s not unusual when dining at Kitty’s Cafe to see owner Kathleen Raub sitting down with her customers and striking up a conversation. In fact, some of her regular customers will call in beforehand to make sure she will be there when they come in.
“It’s not even so much me cooking. It’s me out there going from table to table to table,” said Raub, who is better known to her patrons as Miss Kitty.
The relationship Raub has with her customers is more than 50 years in the making. She grew up in a farmhouse on Old Hempstead Road, and many people in the community who eat at her restaurant know her well.
“I see the same people every day. They know in the morning where they’re eating breakfast and where they’re eating lunch,” she said. “On the weekends you see a lot of different faces coming through here. Monday through Friday, you got your same folks.”
Loyal customers have helped Kitty’s Cafe thrive in Magnolia, according to Raub.
“These people are good to us. All they want is consistency, and that’s what you get here,” she said. “It’s just old-fashioned.”
Kitty’s Cafe, which has been open for six years, serves what Raub likes to call true southern homestyle cooking—the way grandma used to do it—and according to her, this is the only place in Magnolia where you can get it.
“Everything we do here we hand-bread right when you order it, from the fried pickles and onion rings to the [chicken] tenders,” she said. “Grandma wouldn’t have anything pre-breaded.”
Raub boasts that she serves the best breakfast in town. The bacon is gourmet, thick cut, she said. Mashed potatoes are made fresh, never instant. The catfish is made with a creamy batter and is always soft and tender, she said.
Raub and her husband and co-owner, Jesse, also take pride in being one of the few eateries in the area that is completely non-smoking. They acknowledged that the rule may have pushed some of their customers away, but it is something they insist on to maintain the family-friendly atmosphere.
For customers wanting to enjoy Kitty’s home cooking from their own home, Raub takes phone orders and delivers. They also cater events such as graduation parties and weddings. Raub was recently contacted to cater the Magnolia ISD’s end-of-year party for transportation workers.
“I want to give back to my community where I grew up,” Raub said. “I was a Bulldog back in the ’70s. If I can’t give back to them, then I’ve got a problem right here under my own roof.”
Raub said she is happy with the way business is going right now and is grateful to serve loyal customers while continuing to meet new ones. Her philosophy on how to succeed as a restaurant is a simple one.
“It’s just taking the time to figure out what your people like and don’t like,” Raub said. “That’s all it’s about really.”
- Weekend buffet—Combination of fried shrimp and fried catfish, all-you-can-eat ($14.99 Friday, $16.99 Saturday)
- Breakfast tacos—Two tacos with eggs, sausage, potatoes, onions, cheddar cheese and choice of hash browns, home fries or grits ($7.50)
- Handmade cat head biscuits with sausage or white gravy: Served on its own, as a side, or with a variety of dishes ($3.75 full order, $1.25 biscuit only)
Kitty’s Cafe specializes in breakfast and lunch, but co-owners Kathleen and Jesse Raub have plans to open another restaurant at 31818 Old Hempstead Road called Kitty’s Steak-n-Stomp.
Plans include getting a liquor license, building indoor and outdoor stages for live music and hosting karaoke nights
The design will feature a bar in the back and the ability to close off the bar from the rest of the eatery during events like children’s birthdays
The Raubs are in the process of obtaining the lease for the building and hope to open in four to six months
Kitty’s Cafe, 18904 FM 1488, Magnolia, 281-252-4160, www.misskittyscafe.com
Hours: 5:30 a.m.–3 p.m. daily