An intimate and interactive chef-run restaurant, The Catbird Seat offers a unique dining experience that puts guests in the kitchen and chefs in front of the guests. Since its inception in 2011, The Catbird Seat has served as a culinary incubator, giving chefs the opportunity to both explore and express their culinary creativity without boundaries.
Twenty-two seats surround the interactive U-shaped kitchen where Chef Ryan Poli and his team tenaciously work to prepare a multi-course meal for guests who watch them. Chef Poli and his team are more than happy to chat with guests about dishes, techniques, and ingredients while beverage director Matthew Poli expertly pairs a variety of drinks to accompany and compliment every bite.
Although the head chef, Poli refers to himself as, “one of the cooks,” allowing the rest of his staff to play an equally important role in educating, charming, and entertaining the forty-four eyes that watch them each night.
The tasting menu at The Catbird Seat gains inspiration from Chef Poli’s extensive restaurant experience, taking diners on a culinary tour across the world. From Spain to Denmark; Southeast Asia and beyond, menu inspiration comes from a wide range of places, but comes together to form a cohesive menu. Dishes served at The Catbird Seat continually adapt and change based on the seasonality of ingredients and chef inspiration.
Reservations are released 30 days in advance and can be made HERE. In an effort to keep the individual dining experience for which we strive, The Catbird Seat can only accommodate groups as large as four. For groups larger than four, please visit our Private Events page.
Have other questions about dining at The Catbird Seat? You might find the answer on our 'Things to Know' page.
Chicago native Ryan Poli’s diverse experience includes some of the world’s most celebrated kitchens as well as extensive travel throughout Spain, France and Asia. At The Catbird Seat, Poli takes diners on a culinary journey illustrating his inspirations and personal stories on the plate.
Poli began his career at a young age, working at esteemed restaurants such as Jean Banchet’s Le Francais and Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry. He also trained with Sergi Arola at La Broche in Madrid and with Chef Martin Berasategui at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona.
In 2005, Poli returned home to Chicago as the Executive Chef at Butter, named by Esquire magazine as one of the “Best New Restaurants” in the country. He then went on to open several award-winning Chicago establishments. In 2008 he opened Parennial with BOKA Restaurant Group, which received numerous accolades including “Best New Restaurant” from both Travel + Leisure and Chicago magazine. Poli then set his talents on Tavernita, in collaboration with Mercadito Hospitality, where he showcased his love of Spanish flavors.
Seeking personal growth and inspiration, Poli left Chicago in 2013 to explore the world and better himself as a chef and person. His travels led him to Dan Barber’s Blue Hill Stone Barns in New York where he worked with his team to learn about farming and the importance of the seasons. Chef Poli then moved to Denmark to work with the R&D team at the world’s premier restaurant Noma, where he learned about fermentation and the latest techniques in food and science. Noma’s head chef Rene Redezepi then offered Poli an opportunity he could not refuse, a position at the Noma pop-up in Japan.
Poli brings his experiences from across the world to The Catbird Seat, packing his passion into a dynamic restaurant experience.
Matthew Poli is a beverage director with a style and passion that has evolved throughout his committed career in hospitality. A Chicago native, Poli began his hospitality career in 2008 at Chicago’s popular The Publican. His love of beer and love for The Publican’s well-known pairings, led Matthew to begin staging at the restaurant, and shortly thereafter was hired as a bar back. He quickly progressed in his role at The Publican, moving through front-of-house positions before landing in the job of beverage director.
Matthew spearheaded The Publican’s involvement in the popular collaboration with Chicago’s FEW Spirits to create a unique gin, which was a turning point in Poli’s ideology as a bartender. It was then he realized his passion to provide every guest with an experience they are unable to achieve elsewhere.
After a hefty six years at The Publican, Matthew traveled west to James Beard Award Winning Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder, Colorado. Just one year later, his experience was cut short when he decided to make a move down to Nashville, Tennessee where he was hired as the Beverage Director of The Catbird Seat. The opportunity to work in such an esteemed restaurant alongside his brother Ryan, who serves as executive chef, was one he could not refuse.
As beverage director of the interactive chef-run restaurant, Poli is able to showcase his passion for expanding guests’ beverage options beyond just wine to include more beers, sakes, cocktails and nonalcoholic beverage options, offering a catered and unique experience to each and every guest.