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Duane "Big Cat" Williams

Duane Williams, also known as ‘Big Cat’, opened Big Cat’s Café in October of this year. The café is on West Mississippi Drive, in the previous location of Elly’s. The café serves craft coffee from roasters in Iowa, loose-leaf teas, pastries, and lunch items. With the business slogan “Where friends become family,” the goal of the business is to serve good food while also creating a relaxing space where friends and family come together and share fond memories.


Williams grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey around a large family. “I have many fond memories around food,” he explained and goes on to explain that his family members always cooked and often shared many meals together. Williams moved to Iowa when he started school at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Since then, he met his wife Christy, settled in Muscatine, and has raised two daughters, Destiny and Julissa.


Duane was a corrections officer for 22 years before deciding to open Big Cats.


“All of the stars seemed to align,” Williams states. He couldn’t pass up the opportunity to purchase an already established operation and develop it into what he’s dreamed of. “The physical space that we’re in is truly unique, it cannot be duplicated.” The seating area has a beautiful view of the Mississippi river with tons of natural light to complement it.


When asked what his favorite part about running the café was, Williams responded, “definitely interacting with the community.” Being able to give back to a community that Williams has lived in and raised his children in is very important to him.


“I love seeing the reactions on people’s faces when they eat what I’ve prepared,” Williams said.


Between the planning and execution of the café plans, this is more than a full-time job for Williams, and he loves every moment of it. If you get a chance, stop down to Big Cat’s Café and say hello to Big Cat!


Note from the author:


I am honored to be doing this interview about my father, as I know he is truly passionate about what he’s doing. Food has been a big part of our lives for as long as I can remember. Family meals have been very important in our house, as well as with our extended family. Being able to work with him on this project has been a dream for both of us. We’re excited to be working in the community and providing fantastic eats/drinks for them!


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