People who bought Patrick David's gift cards at Costco can't use them at the restaurant, but at least they can get their money back.
Recently, a number of people complained that the restaurant in the Livery, now under new ownership, had rejected the Costco cards. In at least one case, a customer was told the card had been used and there was no money on it.
However, the card conundrum boils down to this, according to Al Sisto, one of Patrick David's new owners: "All of the vendors and all the people who were owed money from Patrick David's Cafe are now part of litigation and as a consequence, we can't select to honor somebody and not honor somebody else. The magnitude of the debt is quite substantial."
But, he said, Patrick David's has made arrangements with Costco -- which, Sisto said, is no longer selling the cards -- to make refunds to people who bought them there.
"Without exposing us to litigation, we're refunding the cards," Sisto said. "It's not the most convenient situation but it provides our customers with a solution."
The gift card problem notwithstanding, Patrick David's has taken steps to gain some goodwill from the community, including ensuring that some long-time employees stay on under the new ownership.
"We basically made the vast majority of them full-time employees and gave them a benefit package and gave them full-time hours. People like to come in at certain times and we wanted the same employees to greet them. To the extent possible, we gave them regular hours," Sisto said.
"The staff had quite a loyal following," he added, "and had been involved with this restaurant eight, nine, 10 -- even 14 years in some cases."
There have been changes to the food under the new owners.
"Right now we're serving only sustainable ingredients. The majority of our food is grown on organic farms," Sisto said. "Our focus was, 'Let's upgrade the quality of the food and the whole kitchen and the general facility."
Patrick David remains executive chef, and Sisto said the new owners want the restaurant to be the "Cheers" of Danville.
"I think we would like to earn that reputation and we're working to do that," he said. "The number of repeat customers is remarkable."
Neither Sisto nor company spokesman Paul Hirsch could explain the complaint from the customer who was told his card had already been used up, guessing it could have been a mistake made by an employee.
In the future, gift cards will be sold only at the restaurant so the owners can track the cards themselves.