While it’s impossible to capture the life of Irregardless on one page, these memorable highlights have been instrumental in shaping our Irregardless Café & Catering of today.
Raleigh welcomes its first vegetarian restaurant. The Café also introduces the community to progressive, sustainable ideas including a commitment to buying locally sourced ingredients and waste recycling.
The controversial Joann Little trial sequesters two Irregardless employees as jury members, bringing national attention to the newly opened Café.
A young Arthur on that first New Year’s Eve celebration at the Café.
Irregardless Café menu expands to include Fish and Seafood. At the time, the Café’s rest rooms were adorned with murals.
The magic behind the Irregardless mystique is published as a go-to cooking guide for home chefs, featuring eco-friendly, vegetarian and international food.
In 1985, Irregardless Café became the first restaurant in the state of North Carolina to become a completely non-smoking establishment. At the time, this was unheard of in the ‘Tobacco State’! Arthur believed in standing up for what he believed in and promoting clean indoor air quality for patrons and staff was fundamental to his vision. Twenty-five years later in 2010, North Carolina passed legislation banning smoking in all restaurants in the State.
Seeking to be inclusive of individual dietary preferences, Chef Arthur Gordon adds poultry to the menu. His Athenian Chicken wrap becomes an enduring favorite.
In 1994, a fire engulfed the Café closing it for 11 months to rebuild a remodeled dining room and larger kitchen. Fearing for the fate of his long term employees while closed, Arthur continued to pay them their current wages in exchange for their volunteering for local charitable organizations that supported the community. Irregardless misfortune became a blessing for the fledgling Interfaith Food Shuttle, enabling it to collect day old food stuffs to be served to the hungry.
The Café adds beef and lamb to the menu. Café’s walls are adorned by art works by North Carolina’s Kyle Highsmith. Inspired to capture Chef Arthur’s spirituality with his culinary talent, Highsmith creates “The Holy Mackerel” capturing Chef Arthur’s ‘intimate’ relationship with the Divine.
Irregardless Café becomes one of the few restaurants open on major holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas. Thanksgiving Carry Out dinners also launch to give the community inexpensive, hassle-free relief for the holidays.
Continuing to innovate, in 2001 the Café transitioned Arthur’s informal ‘catering for friends’ and established its ‘Catering Division’. Irregardless’ patrons now enjoy their favorite menus at office lunches in board rooms, weddings around the Triangle, dinner parties in friends homes and at Corporate receptions in the corridors of power.
Irregardless pairs with local farmers, creating fresh meals that celebrate sustainable food and raise money in support of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS). This is the start of an annual tradition.
Ten rooftop, thermal solar panels provide renewable energy to heat water for the Café needs.
Irregardless Café takes local food to a new level by cultivating a one and a half acre garden, 3 miles from the Café, to feed both the restaurant, catering needs and to serve the community. In October, 2013, the community garden was finally approved by the City of Raleigh.
The Café dining room has been freshened with new décor and lighting, transforming the Café’s later hours into a Jazz Supper Club.
Irregardless Catering Division has grown, continuing to cater at over 30 venues, homes and offices, Irregardless’ catering vans are seen all over the Triangle nourishing sustainability and bring healing to our community.
On Feb 4, 2015 – Irregardless Café marked 40 years of nourishing the community with friends and family for a laid back celebration in the Café. Former Mayor Charles Meeker presented Arthur with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award.
Irregardless Café is adorned by the expressive paintings of noted NC artist Kyle Highsmith, who created this painting in honor of the Café’s 40th anniversary of operation.