Make it Muscatine: Big Cat’s Café

MUSCATINE, Iowa–In October 2020, Duane “Big Cat” Williams brought one of his longtime dreams to life. He opened Big Cat’s Café in the former Elly’s location at 101 West Mississippi Drive, Muscatine. Over the past nine months, Williams and the staff of Big Cat’s have watched their business flourish and look forward to continuing to welcome the community in for hot coffee and tasty treats both this summer and well into the future.

When Williams first opened Big Cat’s, he had never run an eatery of his own before. Thankfully, his knowledgeable and seasoned staff showed him the tricks of the trade, helping the business take off. “I am extremely thankful for my experienced employees’ guidance and patience when it came to teaching me different aspects to improve the café as a whole,” he shared.

In particular, Big Cat’s employees have come up with many new and enjoyable drinks and meals that have had customers raving. “It’s been a fun experience and something outside of our original comfort zone,” elaborated Williams: “The inspiration has come straight from the minds of our employees, who come up with creative drinks on almost a daily basis. We like to take the recipes that the community loves and put our own little twist on them to bring even more variety to our menu.”

As Williams gets into the swing of running Big Cat’s, he has found that he likes the flexibility that comes with owning your own small business. He explained: “since opening the café, I would say that I have enjoyed being my own boss the most. I am able to schedule work around my life and have more freedom to enjoy the community as much as I enjoy serving it.”

Even so, Williams understands the value of team work and has joined the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry to help continue growing his business and the Muscatine community as a whole. “We believe in the big picture of what the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry does when it comes to promoting the true beauty and interests in local businesses,” he said. “We love living and serving Muscatine, and the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry has provided lots of resources for us to further our networking and grow our business as a whole.”

Since last October, Williams has felt awed by how much community support Big Cat’s Café has received. “Since opening the café, we have been further amazed by how supportive the Muscatine community is to small businesses, including the way that small businesses support each other,” he observed.

After such a positive start, Williams looks forward to welcoming many new and returning customers over the months to come. He encourages anyone looking for tasty coffee drinks and light breakfast and lunch meals to stop by anytime between 6:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. “We also enjoy interacting with both our local customers who come in regularly and also people who are traveling from out of town or state and pop in!” Williams enthused.