The Cats restaurant in Los Gatos relaunching under new ownership
LOS GATOS, Calif. - A legendary barbecue restaurant in Los Gatos is back by popular demand and relaunching Friday night. The Cats restaurant, just off Highway 17, has had limited service since the pandemic began, and now it also has a new owner.
The building was originally opened in 1896 as a roadhouse, and then it became The Cats in 1967. The new owner says he wants to keep things the same, all while bringing a sense of freshness to the restaurant and its menu.
"They used to have a little band once in a while and people coming in for music and having drinks," said Kamran, a longtime customer of The Cats.
A longtime patron of The Cats stopped by Thursday evening for dinner but didn’t realize it was temporarily closed and preparing for a grand re-opening.
"I guess he just wanted to spruce it up a little bit which is good. You got to go with the times. If there’s change, you’ve got to change. I’m pretty sure it’s going to work out as long as you’ve got good food to offer, I’m sure people will have no problem coming back here," Kamran said.
With a reputation built on decades of good barbeque and live entertainment, new owner Richard Tam says he’s ready to give people what they’re used to and even more. He says they’ve upgraded much of the infrastructure and equipment, making it easier to serve customers.
"We can basically do about 800 pounds of meat in here, all kinds of smoked chicken, brisket ribs and so forth," Tam said.
Tam operates The Cats under his food service company ChefCentury, which he started around two years ago to help chefs struggling during the pandemic. He opened a commercial kitchen free of charge, so they could sell meals online. Then the retired engineer, turned restaurateur bought The Cats.
"We thought this was an iconic place. It’s the best place for people to enjoy themselves and have good food. We are confident our chefs can give them good food," Tam said.
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The Cats Executive Chef and General Manager Adrian Pham says he’s looking forward to upholding the legacy.
"I think the key point for me is to be able to uphold its history, in terms of creating a great ambiance for entertainment and food. To me, that’s very important, and I feel like that’s just culture, in general," Pham said.
Tam says they’re going to keep the limited schedule for at least the first month. They’ll be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 4 p.m.