17 Feb 40 years of serving you!
Friends, Irregardless patrons and former employees spanning 40 years gathered at the Cafe on February 4th, 2015 to celebrate 40 years of operation.
In some ways, there was an air of disbelief – how could 40 years have passed! Then there was the party atmosphere of friends new and old dining and celebrating one of Raleigh’s most enduring, iconic restaurants. The evening featured the Ed Moon Trio – a classic jazz ensemble who has been a staple of the Cafe’s musical offerings over the years.
Arthur Gordon, founder and owner, spoke briefly attributing the Cafe’s success to ‘having a heart’. So many people have enjoyed good times in the Cafe. Whether they were dining, enjoying the nightly musical entertainment, or as staff earning their livelihood, Irregardless Cafe has been a pathway to connecting and community.
Charles Meeker, Raleigh’s long time Mayor and close friend of Arthur, presented him with North Carolina’s highest honor – the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
Lots of friends joined in: 40th A&A with Frank & Rhonda Meldau Barb Vosk, Howie Shareff and Susan Ehrlich
On the left: Howie Shareff, Barbara Vosk and Susan Ehrlich.
On the right: Frank & Rhonda Meldau with Anya & Arthur Gordon
Arthur and the Cafe received notes from friends and patrons, quoted here: “It’s hard to believe it has been 40 years, but we know it is for real because we dated at your restaurant and we’ve Just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We loved it then and we love it now! Keep up the good work… we don’t ever want you to go away. Congratulations.” Rick & Libba
Former employees of the Cafe, on left – Jill Flink was a Pastry Chef.
On the right – Rev Bob Inskeep from First Presbyterian Church had been a bus boy
“When I heard you were celebrating 40 years I had to sit back and think of all the good times I’ve had at the Irregardless. I want to say ‘Congratulations’ and also ‘Thank you very much.’” Vonna
“Thanks for a wonderful time. Congratulations on your award and happy 40th Anniversary! Irregardless is a special place for us. We have been coming here since we were married in 1975. This is our 40th also! It is extraordinary for a restaurant to stay vital and fresh for so many years. Thank you again.” Mary & Mike
On left is Bob Kellam & Susan Wyatt, who bring the Cafe eggs and produce from their farm – The Kellam Wyatt Farm.
On right is the Cafe’s Well Fed Community Garden’s Manager center – Jenn Sanford Johnson, with her daughter Jude and mother Suzanne.
Brandon Ives of Brasco Marketing & wife Leslie & Derek Allman of Visit Raleigh below. Long time friends Kathy and Mark Robertson – right.
Earlier in the day of Wednesday, Feb 4th, 2015, the Cafe received a beautiful flower arrangement from Tom and Leslie Kieffer – a that wasn’t immediately familiar to the Irregardless staff. The note read “Congratulations On 40 years of feeding the bodies and souls of Raleigh! We’re so grateful for you! from Tom & Leslie.
During the evening, Arthur chatted with Leslie and Tom and was reminded that they had met each other many years ago waiting in line to be seated at the Cafe. Some years ago, Leslie wrote the story of their meeting – as follows:
“It was a cold, foggy, drizzly night. I thought I was to meet my old friend, Charlotte at the Irregardless Cafe for dinner that night. However, I had noted the wrong night on my calendar. I was waiting in the foyer of the restaurant when a nice looking man walked in and asked me, “Are you Susan?’ As I later learned, this young man’s name was Tom and he was to meet a blind date there that night. It had been arranged through an ad in “The Spectator” magazine! Well, we began talking there in the foyer. Finally, he said, “I don’t think Susan is going to show up. I’ll just go ahead and eat.” Now, the hostess that night was Donna and she was trying to be a bit of a matchmaker as well. She even suggested we just have dinner together. I also remember her mentioning something about naming our firstborn after her! But, I decided to continue to wait for my friend.
By this time I was pretty worried about Charlotte since it was such a nasty night. I went out to try and call her on the pay phone. Remember those days? Of course I couldn’t reach her. When I came in, I asked Donna to go ahead and seat me. As we walked right past Tom’s table, I stopped to ask him if he minded if I ate dinner with him. He responded, “sure!” Pretty original, huh? I believe we both had Chicken Napoleon for dinner. Well, we just enjoyed talking to each other and found out we had a lot in common. At one point, Tom mentioned his mom had taught him to make pies and they were his specialty. I coyly responded that I had never made one and didn’t know how. Finally, our dinner was over and Tom offered to walk me to my car. He took that opportunity to invite me to his house to make a pie the next night. Of course I took him up on it.
At one point during our courtship, I gave Tom a copy of The Irregardless Cooks and he impressed me by making the spinach lasagna. Well, we married June 18, 1998. We have two beautiful sons, neither of which is named Donna. We have been blessed with a happy marriage and consider the Irregardless our favorite restaurant for many reasons (like your open faced sandwich, lemon tahini dressing, and pastel shanty). We celebrate two anniversaries each year at the Irregardless, one to celebrate our wedding and one to celebrate a very special Irregardless evening that would change our lives forever- for the better. We love you guys and we love The Irregardless Cafe.” Leslie