Living in Moline, Illinois, I remember as a teenager going to Katy’s Import Foods for brats for cookouts. You can’t miss the red and white striped building on 7th Street. Katy’s, open since 1938 in this location, has a been providing European foods to the area since the early 1950’s.
The family owned business was started by Henry Bodenbender, who immigrated from Germany in 1929. He was a blacksmith in Germany and then worked as a gardener and butler for the Deere-Wiman family. His wife, Katy, joined him from Germany and worked as a cook for the family. In 1933, they purchased a small grocery at another location and then bought the present location in 1938.
Their son, Art Bodenbender, now owns the store and runs it with his wife, Louann, and other family members. It is always a pleasure to see them continue in this family business.
The holiday season is the most busy time of year for Katy’s because they order a wide assortment of specialty candy wrapped in colorful foil, cookies made with spices and dipped in chocolate, and hand crafted gift items. People who are in town for the holidays stop in to reminisce about their childhood memories of the store while they purchase special items that can only be found at Katy’s.
In our most recent visit to Katy’s, Brian and I bought crusty Polish rye bread from Chicago, and various savory sausages and cheese along with spätzle, a soft egg noodle. I made a traditional meal that week blending my German and Slavic heritage. Taking the time to make a traditional meal always brings back so many good memories of family gatherings over the years.
Visit this specialty store for a refreshing change from the huge grocery stores. Katy’s, a continuing part of Quad Cities history, is the place to shop for European foods and gifts. Put some European flavor into your cookouts and get their brats and other sausages, wander the aisles for something different and experience the pride of a small business. Start your own family food traditions with a taste of Europe!
Katy’s Import Foods
2700 7th St., Moline, Illinois
Hours: Thursdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.