The day before Joe and Claire Gidman’s newest Commercial Street restaurant seated all its tables within five minutes of its grand opening, Joe woke up a bit terrified.
“I expected us to be busy, but the night before we had put out a Facebook post saying we were going to be opening,” Joe says. “It had 30,000 views.”
The buzz around the mother-son duo’s Dutch restaurant has been palpable for some time. Patrons have stopped by Van Gogh's Eeterie while it was still a work in progress. That, in turn, has helped his other Commercial Street ventures, Cafe Cusco and Chabom Teas + Spices.
“Cusco’s business has been really busy because people keep coming up here to look in the windows and see when we’re going to be open, and then they would just go eat at Cusco,” Joe says. “They’d stop me and say, ‘When are you gonna open?’”
The food is inspired by Joe’s time as an exchange student in the Netherlands—he received an art degree in school, and he sees his restaurants as his art.
Compared to Cafe Cusco’s opening, Joe says that Van Gogh’s was “probably four times as busy.” Everything sold well on the restaurant’s first day, but a crowd favorite was the Dutch pancakes.