Petersburg restaurant Loco Kitty offers gluten-free, vegan options: Tacos, salads, nachos

·3 min read

PETERSBURG — A bar cat serves as inspiration for a new restaurant. Restaurateur Kathleen "Kat" McCay's goal is to open Loco Kitty by the end of summer in the former DJ's Java Joint in Petersburg.

Old Towne's Alibi, McCay's first restaurant, is conveniently located right next door.

"I am over the moon excited to bring our love of street tacos and margaritas to Old Towne," McCay said. "It has been a baby seed floating around in the back of our minds for a long time."

McCay and her fiance Scott Stanley, Old Towne's Alibi service manager, are excited to have the opportunity to see their idea come to life.

Kathleen "Kat" McCay's ceramic cat poses with bottles of Jarritos soft drinks which will be sold at Loco Kitty in Old Towne Petersburg late this summer.
Kathleen "Kat" McCay's ceramic cat poses with bottles of Jarritos soft drinks which will be sold at Loco Kitty in Old Towne Petersburg late this summer.

Everyone always asks McCay, "Why Old Towne?"

"We love Old Towne. We love our awesome neighboring businesses, the beautiful vibes, and the Petersburg community as a whole," McCay said. "The community is very good to us and it allows us to be able to reciprocate and put so much good back into the community."

In September, Stanley presented McCay with the 10-inch ceramic cat. She loves it and has displayed it proudly on the bar at Old Towne's Alibi ever since. However, McCay's cat has been known to slip outside and prowl around a bit.

"It spawned many conversations throughout the fall. Crazy conversations and serious conversations," McCay posted on Facebook. "Between my love of margs and his love of street corn, we started plotting a course."

Mexican street corn will be served at the Loco Kitty restaurant when they open in Petersburg, Va.
Mexican street corn will be served at the Loco Kitty restaurant when they open in Petersburg, Va.

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By the end of 2021, Loco Kitty was born. In January, McCay, Stanley and the Old Towne's Alibi team began to play around with street tacos for feedback and for fun.

"Many months of developing menu items and behind-the-scenes work paved the way to make Loco Kitty a reality," McCay said.

Tacos, chicharrones, Mexican street corn, and carnitas are a few of Loco Kitty's menu items.

Tropical Carnitas will be served with house, pineapple-mango salsa, house pork, avocado, and fresco cheese.

According to McCay, polo loco made with corn tortillas, chipotle chicken, fresco cheese, shredded lettuce, house pico, and house crema quickly became a staff favorite at Old Towne's Alibi.

Loco Kitty gluten-free tacos will be served at Loco Kitty in Petersburg, Va. when it opens late this summer.
Loco Kitty gluten-free tacos will be served at Loco Kitty in Petersburg, Va. when it opens late this summer.

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Vegan and gluten-free

"Diners will have the option to order tacos with flour or corn tortillas," McCay said. "All of our options served on corn tortillas are gluten-free as well as our nachos and salads."

Loco Kitty's vegan tacos will be made with chipotle-seasoned cauliflower, house pico, black beans, fresh avocado, and diners' tortillas of choice.

Three desserts featured on the menu will be made by Lisa Maitland-Saunders, owner of Crumbs Gourmet Cheesecakes & Sweets.

"We sampled and confirm that Lisa's homemade, triple-layer, key lime cake with cream cheese frosting is incredibly delicious," McCay said.

Artist Jaylon "Huey" Bost paints a mural on the wall inside Loco Kitty in Old Towne Petersburg.
Artist Jaylon "Huey" Bost paints a mural on the wall inside Loco Kitty in Old Towne Petersburg.

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DJ's Java Joint served its last cup of coffee on March 13. McCay and Stanley are diligently working to create a fun, funky space and hope to open Loco Kitty's doors in August.

McCay's ceramic cat collection is growing. Strays keep appearing, and she loves each one of them.

Follow the Loco Kitty journey on Facebook @locokittypetersburg. Followers may get lucky and win a special invitation to McCay's soft opening at 307 N. Sycamore Street in Old Towne Petersburg.

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— Kristi K. Higgins aka The Social Butterfly columnist is the trending topics and food Q&A reporter at The Progress-Index. Have a news tip on local trends or businesses? Contact Kristi (she, her) at khiggins@progress-index.com, follow @KHiggins_PI on Twitter @socialbutterflykristi on Instagram, and subscribe to us at progress-index.com.

This article originally appeared on The Progress-Index: Petersburg restaurant Loco Kitty: Opens late summer in Old Towne