Jeffrey Weinberg, owner of JW Catering, brings a lot of restaurant experience to running the Allied Arts Guild’s latest restaurant, Blue Garden Cafe, which opened in March. The challenge he admits, is keeping long time customers happy — who bring memories of the era when Allied Arts Auxiliary members planned the meals, cooked and served — and attracting new patrons to what most think of as a jewel of a space.
“Our goal is to make the restaurant more approachable to the younger generation,” said Jeffrey, who owned Franny & Alexander in Palo Alto and opened the First & Main Sports Lounge in Los Altos. “We’ll be emphasizing a farm-to-table menu and have expanded the hours. Hopefully, people will begin to see it as an all-occasion option rather than a place to celebrate special occasions.”
The Cafe opening hours now coincide with most of the shops located on the property. Coffee and pastries are served from 10:00 to 11:30 am; lunch from 11:30 to 2:30 pm; light snacks and coffee from 2:30 to 4:00 pm — all Monday through Saturday. Jeffrey said the lunch menu will change every four to six weeks.
The large dining space that long time customers are familiar with has been compressed onto the terrace that overlooks the garden with outdoor tables clustered around the fountain. The kitchen is under the direction of Mark Laverty. “The food is his responsibility,” said Jeffrey. “It was a great boon to have a fully-functional kitchen to move into. And so far, we’re ahead of where we thought we’d be with lunches served.”
While keeping the traditional events staged by the Friends of the Allied Arts like the children’s holiday tea, future plans are to offer Saturday brunch and stage winemaker dinners, which Jeffrey envisions being held on the new oval lawn that’s just going in across from the Cafe.
Photo by Irene Searles