LOCAL TASTEMAKERS: Director of Operations Matthew Hardeman of CdM Restaurant
“Local Tastemakers” is a collection of intimate interviews exploring Newport Beach’s flavor and flair through the eyes of the city’s most captivating chefs and restaurateurs during a time that has heavily impacted the restaurant and hospitality communities. Follow along every week to get to know familiar faces and the secrets to the dish that made them a locals’ favorite.
Known for its Soho House “member’s club” vibe, CdM Restaurant is an upscale yet approachable concept that has won the hearts of its local patrons in just two years of existence. The restaurant is deeply rooted in the community, as it was founded by two Corona del Mar High School alums, making it a hip spot for a nice dinner or a pair of cocktails. But to run an establishment this cool, there is quite a bit that happens behind the scenes.
*Cue Director of Operations Matthew Hardeman*
Hardeman’s restaurant industry experience dates back to 1997 where he worked as a server at a small old-fashioned burger joint called Knowlwoods. From there, he moved on to work at major chains like Brinker International, Cheesecake Factory, Hillstone Restaurant Group and eventually Joseph “McG” Nichol and Jordan Otterbein’s River Jetty Restaurant Group. And when he’s not busy pulling strings behind the scenes, you can find Hardeman riding bikes with his wife and daughters on the Newport Beach boardwalk.
Director of Operations Matthew Hardeman & CdM Restaurant
What is the most popular thing on the menu, and what’s your favorite?
Our Executive Chef Elvis Morales’ ever-evolving menu is incredible and features hand-selected, quality ingredients, so it’s hard for me to pick a favorite thing. Everything is truly amazing! But, the Akaushi Skirt Steak, Dirty Pasta and Charred Octopus are all very popular.
What do you love about Newport Beach?
The thing I love the most about Newport Beach is the loyal community. The locals love their neighborhood hangouts!
Looking Back at 2020
Talk to us about all the ways you pivoted your operation in 2020/21.
2020 made us much more flexible in the way we operate. We never thought we would be offering takeout or outdoor dining, but it was a great growing experience for us.
How has this year affected your staff?
This past year was a rollercoaster, no doubt. With so many openings and closures back to back, it left our staff unsure from one day to the next if they had shifts to work. It was so difficult to be closed during the holiday season, as it’s the most profitable time of year for our staff. It was undoubtedly a tough time for all.
The Silver Lining
What does it mean to be part of the NB community?
The NB community was incredibly supportive of CdM Restaurant during 2020. We had a GoFundMe page that raised money for our staff, and we received an incredibly generous donation from a prominent community leader and philanthropist. Those acts show the strong relationships our ownership has fostered over the years. We are truly blessed!
We have a supportive community. What are specific things people can do to help our restaurants?
We would just ask that the community continues to come out and enjoy the CdM experience. We all want to feel a sense of normalcy in the future.
What is your ultimate hope for 2021?
Our ultimate goal for 2021 is to continue to embed our restaurant into the community as we are only two years old. We want to continue to thrill the taste buds of our guests and give them a place to enjoy a night out.
Written By: Kaylin Waizinger