About Irregardless Café & Catering
Irregardless Café & Catering stands as a pioneer in the restaurant business for taking concepts like ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ long before they became buzz words, and putting them into action. Since 1975, The Irregardless Café has been providing fresh-from-the-farm healthy and innovative meals, live musical entertainment nightly and a strong sense of community.
Founded and operated by Arthur Gordon, owner/chef, the Irregardless Café opened as the community’s first vegetarian restaurant and evolved into a restaurant featuring a diverse menu of healthily prepared fresh foods. The Cafe’s and Catering meals encourage their patrons to “eat lower on the food chain”, providing delicious vegan, vegetarian and gluten free meals. The Café and Catering menus also feature beef, lamb, seafood, poultry and duck meals accented with lots of local produce. From the beginning, the Cafe’s management was dedicated to innovative sustainability initiatives that promote healthy living and giving back to the community.
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.
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.
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.
The first days of 2011 saw the installation of 10 solar thermal panels on the southern slanting roof of the Café, heating the Café’s water with renewable energy. The spring of 2012 saw the purchase of an urban garden 3 miles from the Café, that has become the Well Fed Community Garden. This 1.5 acre garden, on a main Raleigh thoroughfare, miraculously had an old well in it’s back garden from the days that the land had been part of the Jones’ farm. Produce is grown organically, following sustainable agricultural practices, supplying beautiful food to the Cafe, Catering, the garden’s volunteers and low income members of the surrounding community.
2014 brings surprises to the Irregardless. 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, and is now the exclusive caterer at The Glenwood off Glenwood Avenue. 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.
Arthur’s philosophy of flavor
I am a chef with an ‘out-of-the-box’ culinary perspective that has given birth to the Irregardless’ philosophy of cooking with flavor. This perspective has evolved intuitively over the more than 40 years that we have been serving meals at the Irregardless Café.
Our chefs begin with fresh produce. In our kitchen, we add beautiful vegetables and fruits to top quality beef, lamb, seafood, poultry, duck and grains. These bountiful ingredients affirm Irregardless’ culinary optimism.
Each dish we serve is designed to enhance these ingredients’ unique flavors, appealing to the basic tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and hot. With each recipe, we focus on augmenting the essence of each flavor. Just as each layer of an onion is peeled away to reveal another, so our culinary philosophy of levels, within each wonderful ingredient we cook with, is uncovered to expose a core understanding and exquisite flavor.
The ingredients in Irregardless’ meals are like notes to a jazz musician: the notes dance out of the music and our ingredients’ sparkle in your palate. Obviously, the musician has to practice the scales daily to know how to improvise. With more than forty years of cooking, Irregardless’ chefs delight in and take pleasure in their ingredients. When the moment is right, our artist chefs combine notes and ingredients to reveal marvelous culinary creations.
To me, the greatest compliments the Irregardless Café has received are from our thousands of loyal customers, who spend their hard earned money to eat at our restaurant year after year.