HUNTSDALE -- Katfish Katy’s will be reopening in the coming months with new contracted operators, it announced in a Facebook post Wednesday.
Mother-son-duo Vanessa and Jake Leitza are the new co-owners of the restaurant and entertainment venue.
The previous owners stepped away after the 2020 season of operations due to personal reasons. Zac and Laura Cutler owned Katfish Katy’s for five years through seasonality, severe flooding, and a pandemic.
Jake Leitza said he and his mother have been involved in the river community for about 11 years. His mother, Vanessa, worked at Cooper’s Landing and they fell in love with the community.
“We just loved it so much,” Jake said. “We had all these ideas and possibilities with potential to expand the business and make it more fun for everybody, but since we weren't owners, we couldn't implement any of that kind of stuff.”
He said they went to Katfish Katy’s open house just to check it out and were surprised with how many other people were also there. Jake said after multiple phone calls, meetings, and business model presentations, the Cutlers were impressed with their plans for the business.
“And then sure enough, they were handing us keys and alarm codes and we were just like, we just can't believe that it actually happened and we're so excited about it,” Jake said. “We've honestly kind of been in shock and disbelief about it.”
He said they are planning to make some changes to expand the restaurant to a wider variety of people, but are keeping most of the changes a surprise. One of the changes includes a completely revamped menu.
“We really want to cater to the bikers and the people running the Katy Trail by bringing a lot of healthy light options, and expanding the menu to be a quick and easy bite to eat,” Jake said. “But we also wanted to make sure that it was a nice place for families to come sit down.”
Pat Murphy runs the Katy Trail MO website, acting as a resource for trail conditions, events, and more. He said having Katfish Katy’s open is vital to drawing people to Mid-Missouri trails.
“The stretch between Columbia and Rocheport-- it is absolutely beautiful,” Murphy said. “It offers the opportunity to stop and visit places like Katfish Katy’s.”
Murphy said the community is excited to have Katfish Katy’s open again, especially as a place for cyclists to stop and grab a bite to eat during their ride.
There is no set date for the grand reopening, but Leitza said it is ‘extremely soon.’