The stars aligned in a coincidence of events to bring The Catamount to Los Gatos. In late 2016, the struggling California Café shuttered its doors after several attempts at a revival, leaving the space at 50 University Ave. empty after 31 years. Meanwhile, chef and restaurateur Ray Tang, of the popular Presidio Social Club in San Francisco, was scouring the Bay Area for the perfect location for his next venture.

He found what he was looking for in the spacious 10,000-square foot lot to execute The Catamount, which should be opening any day now. An idea two years in the making, Tang plans to translate the success of Presidio Social Club to Los Gatos, where he notes the people are “settled, established and somewhat conservative, but still want to be wowed.” He will concentrate on providing a neighborhood feel to “keep things simple but done well—and add flair later after getting a feel for the crowd.”

In the category of Northern California cuisine, the menu aims to achieve “storytelling with what’s available to the area.” This means drawing from sustainable seafood purveyors in Santa Cruz, small pork producers nearby, and beef from Bay Area ranches. These ingredients will make up a menu of fresh seafood appetizers like oysters on the half shell and grilled octopus. Other offerings will include brie-stuffed beignets, The Catamount Burger, and a selection of entrees that feature the famed roasted half chicken, per the Presidio Social Club style.

The décor aims for “American colonial plantation” with a white and green color palette. Rooms are separated by glass walls, and windows with shutters add to the outdoor and indoor feel of a plantation. At the entrance, the focal point is the immaculate bar with subway tile backsplash and brass light fixtures. The Catamount plans to offer an early happy hour with an array of craft cocktails made to order. Private parties and banquets will also be a focus, as the kitchen is equipped to handle banquet orders simultaneously with regular dinner service. There are two sunrooms that can be booked together or individually for private parties. Altogether, the restaurant can seat 230 people inside and 70 outside.

For someone who started his career as a math major at Cal State Fullerton and went on to study under Wolfgang Puck before opening two restaurants, Tang knows what people want. His team’s experience translates to specific choices on real estate, décor and menu, which should mean Los Gatos foodies are in for a treat.

The Catamount
50 University Ave, Los Gatos.