OCEAN CITY – Nestled along the streets in downtown in
Ocean City are all kinds eateries where someone, with enough perseverance, is
bound to eventually come across something that will strike their fancy. Some
establishments work hard in an attempt to be different and offer only the most
exotic of items where as others take the opposite approach and offer the most
basic of meals with a taste of home to give off that feeling of familiarity.
Such is the basis for Kathy’s Olympia Country Kitchen, a
quaint, little restaurant, located between 7th and 8th streets on Philadelphia
Avenue. Owned and operated by Kathy Witmer, her Olympia Country Kitchen has
called Ocean City home for almost four years now.
Witmer said she first came to the United States from her
humble village in Greece in 1969 to live with her uncle in Carlisle, Pa., when
she was just 14 years old. It was then that she began her foray into the
restaurant business by washing dishes for a local restaurant.
From there, Witmer said she worked her way up through
various jobs over the years until she was eventually back in the kitchen,
prepping and cooking food, a skill she would hone for years afterwards.
However, it was not long until Witmer eventually found herself running a
restaurant of her own in Carlisle called the Olympia Family Restaurant, a name
that also might ring familiar with residents of Berlin.
After 27 years of living in Carlisle, Witmer came to Ocean
City with her husband at the time and worked a short stint at the Bayside
Skillet before the pair finally opened the Olympia Family Restaurant in Berlin.
Specializing in the foods she had learned to cook to
culinary perfection over the years, Witmer said her customers became more than
just paying patrons.
“My customers became a family over the years, not just
customers,” she said. “I would be lost without people.”
However, as every owner knows, running a business takes a
lot of time and effort, and when one has been in the industry as long as
Witmer, things only get a little easier with experience. After putting in over
100 hours a week for eight years at her restaurant in Berlin, Witmer said she
needed a break.
Thus Kathy’s Olympia Country Kitchen in Ocean City was
born. In order to get the reprieve she deserved from years in the kitchen,
Witmer now only offers breakfast and lunch.
Breakfast, Witmer’s favorite meal, is served throughout
the day and her menu offers all kinds of goodies, from local favorites such as
scrapple to well-known stovetop creations like the omelet. Plus, when it comes
to omelets, Witmer has it all, offering them made to order or from a selection
of 18 other different kinds, one of which is named after her.
Kathy’s Olympia Omelet, one of the most popular omelets
among returning customers according to Witmer, is made with bacon, mushrooms
and feta cheese topped with tomato marinara sauce.
If having breakfast for lunch isn’t your forte, there are
also a wide variety of both hot and cold subs, sandwiches, home fries made in
house, and even salads such as the Greek salad, featuring fresh veggies, feta
cheese and the Country Kitchen’s homemade dressing.
As for the time Witmer has spent within the industry, she
said she has been in it for 36 years now and has always taken pride in what she
And it shows.
“There was a need for me to work in the industry when I
came so I stuck with it,” she said. “I enjoy it, it’s not a job for me, it’s
like a person buying a new toy. You figure out how to run it and go with it.”
Having her business downtown keeps Witmer hopping, she
said, especially during the summer, her favorite time of the year.
“I like to stay busy and I like to keep moving because
time moves fast and before you know it summer is gone,” she said. “I don’t like
slow-paced periods, that’s the worst.”
As for her future, Witmer said she has no plans to retire
“I know there is a time when you got to slow down but as
far as I’m concerned I don’t look to retire,” she said.