Best Place to Meet the Chef - 2009
When you visit Café Monarch, you're entering Christopher Van Arsdale's domain. He's the chef-owner of this super-stylish, tucked-away spot, and he's often a one-man show, waiting on tables, chatting up customers, and cooking up a storm in the 558-square-foot space that he single-handedly designed. After spending years as a personal chef, Van Arsdale realized his dream of opening his own place, and he's created an atmosphere that's so friendly and intimate that it's almost like dining at a friend's house. The scrumptious menu of starters, salads, and sandwiches is merely a launching point for Van Arsdale's cooking, which often spins off into original creations inspired by customers' cravings, seasonal finds at the farmers market, and whatever else strikes his fancy. One of the appetizers is simply titled "chef's whim." For a leisurely, fun meal, you're in good hands at Café Monarch.