The words “new” and “improved” are often synonymous with big changes, but Matt Gordon is anything but new to the hospitality and restaurant business. Prior to joining Coronado’s Blue Bridge Hospitality Group as VP of Operations in March of this year, Gordon featured in the San Diego hospitality scene for two decades and opened three successful restaurants in fewer than seven years. His wide range of culinary hot spots included Urban Solace in North Park, Solace & The Moonlight Lounge in Encinitas, and Sea & Smoke in Del Mar. In March of this year, Gordon decided to close the last of his restaurants and hang up his chef’s coat in pursuit of a shift to exclusively operations.
“When I opened my second restaurant (Solace & The Moonlight Lounge) in 2011, I found myself focused on really leading the front of the house for the first time and fell in love with that aspect of the restaurant,” says Gordon. “While I always kept shifts in the kitchen and a close connection to the menu development, I find it more fulfilling to be able to oversee and interact with both the kitchen and the service side of the operation. Owning a business for 12 years allowed me to broaden my horizons as a chef and to realize that there really has to be a synergy between all aspects of the operation for it to truly provide the best guest experience.”
Providing the best guest experience is key for Gordon who explains that whether or not the business is his own, the highest priority is the patrons. He believes the secret to success is for everyone involved to have a shared goal in creating an excellent guest experience:
“First and foremost, it’s our duty to provide excellent hospitality — whether through the care and love that goes into every detail of the food in the kitchen area or the warmth and friendliness of the front of the house staff. Across the board, people have to have hospitality in their heart to succeed in this job. It’s hard to find an entire restaurant staff that shares those characteristics, but I am very impressed with what I’ve seen so far at Blue Bridge Hospitality, and I hope to help continue to develop the culture here.”
Having started the job less than a month ago, Gordon finds the transition from owner to operations VP as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. He addresses the concern of having “too many cooks in the kitchen” by acknowledging his own learning curve and taking it all in stride:
“I realized the limitations I set for myself in my own company because I wanted and needed to be part of every decision as both the chef/owner. This is the first time I’ll be calling someone else ‘boss’ since 2005, but I really look at it as a way to collaborate with more people who are successful in this industry, and to have more horsepower to accomplish great things.”
Blue Bridge Hospitality founder and owner, David Spatafore is equally positive about bringing Matt into the newly created role of VP of Operations:
“Matt, although known as a chef in San Diego, has years of experience as a restaurant owner/operator,” Spatafore explains. “His experience will give us a unique opportunity to elevate our restaurant experience on both sides.”
For more information on Blue Bridge Hospitality Group and its related restaurants, visit www.bluebridgehospitality.com. Stay tuned for the newest restaurant, Little Frenchie, set to open in May.