There are few non-chefs more synonymous with fine dining in Little Rock than Lee Ingold. After spending the past 8 years at the Capital Hotel, Ingold is making the move down the road to Cache.
Ingold will take over the general manager role of the restaurant. His experience in hospitality, wine, and staff management look to complement the existing staff and clientele at Cache. Ingold officially takes over the new role on Monday.
“I am so excited about having Lee as part of the team at Cache, he is a pioneer in many ways in the hospitality industry,” owner and chef Payne Harding tells us. “He brings a wealth of experience and he will be a welcome addition to our management team.”
Ingold came to Little Rock in 2008 to manage the Ashley’s and Capital Bar and Grill shortly after their reopening. During his time at the Capital he saw the restaurants thrive, becoming the culinary center of the city, and picking up countless awards and James Beard nominations along the way with both Ashely’s and now One Eleven.
“It has been interesting to watch the places grown. Even Capital Bar and Grill went from almost nobody at lunch, to often a line 20 or 30 long waiting to get a table,” Ingold tells us. “The staff there has always been great, and we developed a culture of people who went on to do amazing things in the culinary world around the state and country. I try to keep up with all of the amazing things they do.”
During Ingold’s time he saw chefs like Matt Bell of South on Main, Matt McClure of the Hive, Cassidee Dabney of Blackberry farms, and countless others leave the Capital Hotel restaurants and later succeed in the culinary world.
That level of success is something Ingold hopes to bring and foster at Cache. He feels that Cache can be a place that produces great talent and impacts the local food scene.
“The common thread between the places is the passion for food that everyone on the staff shows. I have been lucky to almost always work with people who have a love and a respect for the food and has a heart to them,” Ingold explains. “At Cache the staff is already great, so I do not need to do much with staff changes. My biggest goal is to support the great talent already here and pull it all together so that everyone is working toward common goals.”
Thankfully for Ingold, several members of the staff are familiar from his time at the Capital. A number of Capital Hotel alumni have transitioned to Cache over the years such as JoJo Sims and Cody Mayfield, and many more he knows from working for several years in the local hospitality scene. Ingold says he is also excited to maintain connections with a lot of regular customers from the Capital who are either already customers of Cache or say they are excited to give his new spot a try.
The transition is also made easy by sharing similar goals for the restaurant with owners Rush and Payne Harding.
“The first time I met Rush he made such an impression on me, I remember it to this day,” Ingold tells us. “When Rush and I talked about it me taking this job and what his goals were for me he just wanted to make sure everyone was happy from staff to customers. I was so relieved because that is exactly what I want. There is a really great team here, I just want to define our core values and show people what we are and who we are.”
Before coming to Little Rock Ingold spent 20 years in the New Orleans food scene. There he worked with Chef Lee Richardson at Peristyle and Restaurant August before joining him later at the Capital. After Katrina and later close calls with hurricanes Ike and Rita, Ingold decided it was time to move out of New Orleans.
“After a couple of storms I realized that I couldn’t do it anymore. There was a posting on the New Orleans Craig’s List for Capital Hotel. I applied and they were interested but I couldn’t sell my house, so I had to pass,” Ingold says. “Several months later I saw the same listing again. So I called Chuck Magill and found out the guy they hired didn’t work out. I had just sold my house and I figured it was a sign so I made the move. There were a lot of New Orleans people at the hotel at the time so it made it easy.”
Ingold says he enjoyed his time at the Capital and it helped him fall in love with the city.
“I loved my time at the Capital. The Stephens are great for the city, we are lucky to have them. I am really thankful for my time there,” Ingold says. “I knew it was time to take on something new though. I thought moving and taking on a job in a different city, but then I realized that I really do love it here. I am really excited about the challenge of a new position and knew it would be really great to stay here and work with Cache.”
Ingold’s first official day on the job is Monday. Stop by, grab a meal or a drink and say hi.