Shykatz Bakery & Deli: Feeding the Faith

{This article originally appeared in the Island Guide, published August 31, 2012}

ShyKatZ Deli & Bakery:

Feeding the Faith

By Kimber Fountain

As the terms deli and bakery together may suggest, ShyKatZ is that perfect balance of salty and sweet, both in form and in flavor. Much like the duality between the sandy, vibrant seawall and the lolling historic downtown of Galveston, their rich, savory breakfast, crisp salads, and superb sandwiches are distinctly coupled with decadent desserts and an array of sugary delights. And in the same way the welcoming, soul-filled ambiance of ShyKatZ has risen from the hearts of two women who have known adversity, and defeated it. From the story of its beginning, to the décor, to the food, ShyKatZ Deli & Bakery is distinct in its graceful representation of the spirit of the Island.

Kathryne Kearns and Shyra Leger (pronounced Le-jay) met in 2006 in the Woodlands, and soon after the dream of ShyKatZ was born out of a mutual love for cooking and a passionate desire to feed the hungry. Long before they ever opened their doors, the sign that now hangs over the entrance to their deli was once hanging on the living room wall. Originally they decided that Austin would be the best choice for their new venture, until a guy named Ike showed up on Galveston’s doorstep. The aftermath and destruction left by this unwanted visitor was enough to drive many people, families, and businesses, off of Galveston Island for good. Kat and Shy, however, are of the other variety, the people who see any challenge as an opportunity and all obstacles as reasons to believe. So, in 2010 they quit their jobs and moved to Galveston with nigh more than one big dream and two week’s pay.

Through a series of setbacks and struggles that would have made many cut and run, the two determined ladies kept their dream, and their faith, alive. They continued to cook and to bake with whatever supplies they could get their hands on, and after they fed themselves they would feed their friends and those less fortunate. To each gift of goodness they attached a business card and a promise to open soon. Their tenacity and refusal to give up manifested and as they will gladly testify, Providence provided and ShyKatZ opened its doors on May 26, 2010, with just over one dollar in its business bank account. Since that day this quaint and unique eatery has sustained itself, and Shy and Kat continue to fill bellies and feed souls.

ShyKatZ offers a wide variety of high quality, homemade dishes along with an atmosphere and service that give the feel of home or grandma’s house. Under Shy’s direction in the kitchen absolutely everything is made to order, nothing is par-cooked or pre-sautéed. Their sandwiches are made using only Boar’s Head meats and cheeses; try one on their French, wheat, or white bread that is baked daily in-house. If a craving for breakfast should strike at two in the afternoon, never fear. ShyKatZ serves breakfast all day long, and rumor has it that their “Biscuits-N-Gravy” is the best of its kind on the Island. And don’t forget to seriously consider the ever-changing dessert presentation, also made from scratch in-house by Kat herself.

Much of the menu is inspired by the people in their lives, and many of their dishes are named after fellow Islanders or family members. If you order Granny or Pawpaw’s breakfast you will enjoy the favorite morning meal of Shy’s grandparents; the Jeff Salad is a Chef Salad named in honor of the gentleman who eats it almost every day for lunch. JJ’z Junior Menu, “for our Little Angels under 10,” was inspired by Kat’s grandchildren, and the Johanna burger is a tribute to the story of their friend Johanna and the lengths she would go to get a burger.

Indeed the most difficult decisions when visiting ShyKatZ will be choosing what to order and how in the world you will manage to save room for dessert (because you must), but it will be easy to feel comfortable. The most alluring facet of this humble eatery tucked away on a neighborhood street is its embodiment of everything Islander. Down to the furniture and seasonal salt and pepper shakers, ShyKatZ is a quintessential Galveston small business that reflects the eclectic, diverse, and easy-going population of locals. Their staff is friendly and accommodating, offering each patron personalized service that goes the extra mile beyond the counter. They are even on Island time, as the hours posted on the front door unabashedly state that they open at 7-ish.

One of the many reasons why so many love Galveston, and why thousands flock to our salty shores year after year, is because of the unique opportunity to support locally owned businesses and to enjoy all of the variety they allow. Amid the onslaught of fast food, corporate chains, and cookie-cutter products so widely and easily available, perhaps it is wise to often tread off the well-worn path and find a place with personality and heart. Anyone can serve a hot meal, but few accomplish it with the warmth, charm, and inspiration of ShyKatZ.

ShyKatZ Deli & Bakery

Breakfast and Lunch served all day long

Monday-Saturday 7am-3pm


1528 Avenue L

(Corner of 16th and Ave. L)

Street Parking

Daily Blue Plate Specials

Carry Out/Box Lunches/Custom Catering

Owners, Kathryne Kearns and Shyra Leger