Dressed to Impress
By Jenny Brule | Photography by Lunahzon Photography
Posted: Tuesday, Sep. 09, 2014
Husband and wife Cliff and Nancy Hucks started their company, Kathryns Cottage Kitchen, because they missed the salad dressings, dips, and spreads that Nancy grew up eating at her parents Mooresville restaurants. Kathryns Cottage Kitchen, based in their Davidson home, is reintroducing those restaurant-quality products to the home cook.
From 1968-1984 Nancys parents, Claude and Dora Blaine Little, owned Little Kitchen on Main Street in Mooresville (next to what is now La Patisserie), as well as Chicken Little, Little Spaghetti, Delks (dime store with a lunch counter), and Littles at the Beach (in Myrtle Beach). The success of those restaurants was because of two things: We used the best quality ingredients, and had the best people working there, Nancy says.
It was after the Littles retired and sold their restaurants in 1984 that the Hucks decided to bring back a few of the most popular family recipes. Mothers chicken salad had been made and served in Little Spaghetti and the Delks lunch counter for 50 yearspeople loved it! Nancy says.
Before starting Kathryns Cottage Kitchen, Cliff would simply make the recipes he and Nancy missed, for themselves and friends. Each dressing recipe makes five gallons, so Id make some for us and give the rest away in jars to friends. Soon, those lucky friends began asking for the dressings and spreads on a regular basis.
Nancy, 67, is a realtor with Lake Norman Realty and Cliff, 56, is retired. They have no employees for Kathryns Cottage Kitchen, though their daughter helps out.
Offering seven products, the Hucks had to choose the most popular of Mrs. Littles original recipes. The bleu cheese dressing has always been very popular, both in the restaurants, and with our friends, Cliff says. Nancy confirms the dressings popularity: Once, Daddy caught a lady with a Mason jar in her pocketbook, filling it up with the bleu cheese dressing in the Little Kitchen salad bar. He had to ask her to please leave.
Kathryns Cottage Kitchen offers bleu cheese, ranch, balsamic, and thousand island dressings, wine and cheese spread, olive and cream cheese spread, and chicken salad. The couple uses a co-packer in South Carolina to make and package the dressings and cheddar wine spread, and the cream cheese and olive spread and the chicken salad are made locally in McLaughlins Farmhouse in Mooresville. While theyve been successful selling Kathryns Cottage Kitchen foods regionally, like Reids Fine Foods, McLaughlins Farmhouse, Dean and Deluca (among many others), they gained a considerable boost when Harris Teeter began carrying their bleu cheese and ranch dressings this past April. They are now available in every Harris Teeter store from southern Georgia to Baltimore. The Hucks believe that this Harris Teeter connection is a natural one, Willis Teeter [co-founder of Harris Teeter] was from Mooresville and often ate at Little Kitchen, says Cliff. He loved the bleu cheese dressing!
With plans of introducing a honey mustard dressing this fall, Kathryns Cottage Kitchen is going from strength to strength, showing the Southeast that a Little recipe and a lot of hard work reaps success.
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