For those who haven’t stopped by the last couple of weeks, Gulliver’s Restaurant in Sidney has a new owner but a very familiar face. Katie Tringali has taken over the reins of the popular sandwich shop.
Katie, who came from a military family with her father serving in the U.S. Navy, was born in Tennessee and raised in Sarasota, Florida.
On the day she turned 16, she started her first job waiting tables for Steak ’n Shake. “I loved it. I was just excited and happy-go-lucky and people would come in and say ‘We want to sit in Katie’s side.’” She continued to work at Steak ’n Shake throughout high school.
“I’ve been in food service for 16 years,” said Katie. “Basically, I’ve been doing this for half my life.”
After high school she enrolled in college but her manager at Steak ’n Shake recruited her for a job at a country club. She continued to work at Steak ’n Shake as well as the country club and decided to forego college. “I decided not to continue college because I was making good money and this was what I was good at.”
“I was at the country club for five years,” said Katie.
Katie met her husband, Mike, in 2010 and they fell in love. One day Mike told her, “I’m going out to work in the oil field.”
“I didn’t even know what the oil field was. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t just get a normal job in Sarasota,” said Katie
Mike took a job in Texas and from there was sent to the MonDak. For the next year the couple continued their relationship long distance.
Katie said Mike told her about the area but she did not believe him. “Coming from Sarasota I couldn’t believe it was this small. It was really mind-blowing to me.”
After a year of separation, Katie decided to leave her job at the country club and move to Montana.
“I moved up here in the middle of the oil boom (2012) and ended up living in a camper down by the Yellowstone River,” said Katie. She and Mike were married in 2014 after he told her, “Anyone who will live in a camper down by the river in the winter is a keeper.”
She started looking for a job and walked into the mall and there was a sign on Gulliver’s door saying they were hiring. Katie went in and filled out an application. Owner Joan Nelson told her she could start working immediately.
Katie continued to work at Gulliver’s for a while and then got a job at Cattle-AC where she worked for four years as a bartender and waitress. She moved to the Rodiron Grill after it opened.
Her son, Mikey, was born in 2016. That same year she considered purchasing Gulliver’s but instead chose to move back to Florida. The oil boom was subsiding and Mike agreed the family could return to Sarasota if they could figure out how to make the same money.
“We only made it a year and a half before we moved back here,” said Katie. “I call it a mission from God.” Katie felt she needed to be in Florida at that time but they wanted to return to rural life.
Luckily their home in Richland County had not sold, so this time they did not have to start out in a camper by the river.
Mike missed the work here and the small town life so they returned in May 2018.
Katie returned to the Rodiron and then worked at South 40 as a bartender for the past two years. She also got a job at 1st Choice Collision as well.
She also had a daughter, Juliana since returning.
A few weeks ago she saw where Joan was selling the contents of the restaurant. “As soon as I saw that I said, ‘No! I have to buy it.’” said Katie.
Katie said she was the perfect fit for the restaurant because she knows every sandwich on the menu by heart. “In my mind there was nobody else to do this but me.”
She met with Joan and worked out the details. She then gave her notice at her other jobs and Joan handed her the keys about two weeks ago.
The new owner is looking to make a few changes. She will keep the nautical theme but wants to brighten it up with new lighting and brighter walls. A few other changes are likely as well.
The menu will remain the same for the most part but Katie wants to bring back some past favorites, even if it’s only for a limited time.
“I brought back the wheat bread and people love it,” said Katie. “I’m bringing back the taco meat as well, which will include tacos and burritos. She is also bringing back shredded buffalo chicken as well.
“I’m also testing out some flatbreads right now.” She has also added two toppings — jalapeños and banana peppers.
She has also brought back meal deals called “messes.” The term mess comes from navy lingo for the dining area, or “mess hall/mess deck.” Diners chan choose from the Mini Mess, Captain’s Mess, the Big Mess and the Mondo Mess. Those who choose one of the meal deals will save about a buck off of the individually priced items.
You can find Gulliver’s on Facebook. The restaurant is located inside Village Square Mall, located at 120 E. Main St. in Sidney and is open weekdays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The phone number is 406-433-5175.