It's quite a day in Cathal Armstrong news. First of all, today is the day the Restaurant Eve chef officially takes over the National Gallery of Art's Garden Café space from José Andrés — in place of the Spanish Café Catalonia will be Armstrong's Garden Café Americana with its newly created all-American menuto complement the museums new exhibit, Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection. Armstrong explains his involvement:
They approached me because Restaurant Eve is a very American restaurant and we're very proud of that even though I'm kind of Irish. I am an American citizen so it's OK.
The menu features "quintessential American dishes" such as pot roast, turkey pot pie, pecan and apple pies and seasonal salads with butternut squash or root vegetables. The menu will change up in the spring/summer transition and again in the summer/fall. While Armstrong notes he's already a pretty busy guy, his love of history and art, plus the influence from his master cabinetmaker uncle is what led him to take on the project: "The opportunity arose; I jumped."
And what are some of the other things keeping Armstrong so busy? Well, the restaurateur tells Eater that his restaurant group has finally made the decision to abandon OpenTable and switch all their reservations to not-so-new-anymore competitor CityEats. After testing out the software with Restaurant Eve's Tasting Room last year and slowly converting the other members of the group to CityEats, the Bistro at Restaurant Eve just switched over a few weeks ago.
Armstrong hasn't exactly been secretive about his dislike of OpenTable and explains his reason for the switch include not only his appreciation for the CityEats multimedia-friendly platform and customer service, but also flexibility issues. According to the chef, OpenTable couldn't accommodate Restaurant Eve as two restaurants in one — they had always insisted he buy two sets of hardware.
"Ultimately with OpenTable it always seemed to be about any time we had an issue or a concern or something we wanted resolved, the answer from OpenTable was "no" or "If you spend a lot more money, we'll give you the solution," Armstrong says. "That kind of relationship isn't really gonna be a long-term solution for us."
And that's it for your update in Cathal Armstrong.
· National Gallery of Art [Official Site]
· Restaurant Eve [CityEats]
· All Previous Cathal Armstrong Coverage [-EDC-]
· All Previous National Gallery of Art Coverage [-EDC-]
· All Previous CityEats Coverage [-EDC-]
Cathal Armstrong [Photo: R. Lopez]