By Barbara Wood | Special to the Almanac
Just how much Willows residents love Cafe Zoe restaurant owner Kathleen Daly was apparent Tuesday night, Jan. 14, when dozens trekked to the City Council chambers to honor her with a city proclamation and a superhero cape.
Diane Mavica presented the cape, which was pale green with flowery lining and said "Captain Kat Willows Superhero" on the back. She said Ms. Daly exemplifies her own tagline: "Peace, Hope and Community."
Mayor Ray Mueller said Ms. Daly's cafe, named after her daughter, "feels like family." People gather in the cafe for socializing, community events, business meetings, art exhibits and performances. Children use the cafe as a safe after-school hangout.
"She gives so much of herself that sometimes you forget she is a small business owner," he said.
Ms. Daly also arranged to have home-cooked holiday meals prepared for more than 40 veterans at the nearby Veterans Administration facility.
Ms. Daly downplayed her role, calling herself "head cheerleader" for the Willows. "It takes a village," she said. "I believe that the cafe is located in this amazing village."
Planning Commissioner Katherine Strehl said Ms. Daly is "an incredible spirit in our community."
Brooke Frewing presented a list of her neighbors' top 10 favorite things about Cafe Zoe, both from adults and children. The top three items on the adult list were great comfort food and drink, amazing employees and, at the top of the list, Kathleen Daly.
Children, Ms. Frewing said, loved yummy drinks and treats, Kathleen and the people who work there, and, at the top of their list, ice cream.
Stephanie Zoller summed up her feelings, echoed by many others, in a few words. "Thank you so much for always being there," she said.
Mayor Mueller said the council was honoring Ms. Daly as part of an effort to draw attention to people "who have made a difference in the community."