Walk into Kati’s Place on Main Street in Le Roy and chances are, you’ll see Kati Mancuso ready to seat you or take your order or maybe just shoot the breeze for a while.
The 27-year-old leased the building and fixed up what was formerly Tyler’s Restaurant (closed in 2006) without having to take out any loans or rely on anyone else.
“Nothing worked when I got here,” she shrugged. “The lights didn’t even work when I agreed to take it, but I said yes anyway.”
Mancuso said that although her broker told her the former restaurant was “turnkey ready,” it ended up needing a lot of elbow grease but she was determined.
“Let me tell you about ‘turnkey’ anything,” she joked. “If one more pipe exploded in my face or gas line blew up or anything else had gone wrong, I don’t know what I would have done.”
Odds are, even if she had encountered another disaster, she would have managed to get the restaurant open for business on the designated date – March 14.
“I don’t know why but I set that date...I said, ‘You have one month. Now go.’”
Remarkably, Mancuso and all her supporters did just that. Once she leased the building, she and her family and friends managed to get everything ready so the doors could open for business in four weeks.
“Everybody rallied behind me,” she said. “They got together and, I don’t know, it all fell into place. It was just like people were coming in all the time asking what I needed. I went so long without sleeping and eating to clean this place and get it ready by March 14.”
But at one point, Mancuso had some health issues which put her in the hospital for awhile. When she recovered, she “began making phone calls,” calling up vacant places in Le Roy with her vision in mind. She wanted a place of her own where her regular customers could come to eat and enjoy themselves.
“Truthfully, I did it for them,” she said, gesturing toward a few tables of diners. “These people are family and it’s like I’ve been waiting on them all forever.”
Kati’s Place is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
“Every day we’re open, things just get better and better around here,” Mancuso said. “We’re doing just fine.”
(This story originally contained information referring to another individual of a personal nature that upon reflection should have been removed prior to publication. The information and comments referring to it have been removed.)