Reservations Gourmet-To-Go says farewell, with love

Elke and Anthony Catania opened the Seminole Heights restaurant six years ago.

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click to enlarge Co-owner and executive chef Anthony Catania. - Shanna Gillette
Shanna Gillette
Co-owner and executive chef Anthony Catania.

At the end of the month, Anthony and Elke Catania plan to close Reservations Gourmet-To-Go in Seminole Heights.

"It is with heavy hearts but excitement for our future adventures that we write this to you," the Catanias said to patrons in an email Tuesday. "We just want to thank each and every one of you who has ever walked through our front door for your love and support and patronage."

The couple launched their restaurant, specializing in dine-in and prepared meals with a gourmet twist, six years ago.

Anthony told CL that he and Elke struggled with the notion of ending something they've poured their hearts and souls, and money, into.

Elke runs the business's front-of-house operations, while Anthony — who said he's always believed that if people are pleased with the food, everything else will fall into place — heads its kitchen, doling out fresh and affordable sandwiches, soups, salads, entrees and desserts.

In 2012, CL food critic Jon Palmer Claridge called the sandwiches "shockingly good," and awarded the Catanias a Best of the Bay for their three-layer carrot cake.

To expand its loyal following, the restaurant obtained a beer and wine license, and even installed a covered patio out front.

"We just don't get seen enough," Catania said. "One busy Friday night and two busy lunches is not enough."

Patrons enjoy Reservations' hands-on cooking lessons as much as the food, according to Catania. He said he held a private four-person class Monday, where students asked when they could book another. After he shared news of the closing, Catania said, their tears began to flow.

Though the restaurant stopped offering heat-and-eat meals like pork scaloppine around three or four months ago, its lunch menu and after-dark dinner lineup, which is available from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, will be served until the doors close.

Catina said he's been approached about another restaurant project in the area, and that there are opportunities in Asheville, North Carolina, where he and Elke have relatives. If someone pitches a rebranding idea that makes sense, he added, they'll also consider it.

"It's hard," he said.

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