Bites: Clifton Martini and Wine Bar 

And more local food news

It's been more than two years since the last tenant moved out of 10427 Clifton Blvd. The famous (some say infamous) address has been home to Velocity American Bistro, Giovanna's, Mise, Jeso and Wilsher Grille. Fortunately for the neighborhood, the new owner has a track record of success. Jeff Rumplik, one of Cleveland's premier bartenders, hopes to duplicate the good fortunes that he cultivated at Fairmount Martini & Wine Bar, a Cleveland Heights operation that he opened but no longer controls. When it opens in late February, Clifton Martini & Wine Bar will serve a full menu of contemporary American small plates, shared items and main courses. Prices will be much lower than those of previous tenants, says Rumplik. "I don't want people to feel pressured to order a $30 entrée," he says. "This will be a place where you can enjoy a glass of wine and a couple of small plates." At Fairmount, Rumplik drew raves for his martini and cocktail lists, both of which will be staples of the West Side operation. Changes to the space include a new bar, wine cellar and lounge area with soft seating and fireplace. New also are the draft-beer system and temperature-controlled wine storage. "I was a huge fan of Mise," he adds. "I've always loved that area. It reminds me of Cleveland Heights."

At Orale!, his West Side Market stand (F-7, 216.781.4190), chef Roberto Rodriguez dispenses tamales, enchiladas, empanadas and quite possibly the city's finest chips and salsa. Soon there will be more of Orale! (which means right on!) to love. In about a week, Rodriguez will expand to double his current size when he takes over the adjacent Tom Kearns pork stand. The additional room will allow the chef to expand his menu, which he prepares in an Ohio City commissary. New items will include tortilla soup, fish tacos, various burritos and many others.

Itching to become a homesteader? Sign up to attend Local Food Cleveland Network's "So You Want to Be a Farmer?" where you'll learn about the special challenges and rewards of entrepreneurial farming. Leading the discussion will be a panel of experts that includes Darwin Kelsey (Countryside Conservancy), Morgan Taggart (OSU Extension), Jessica Levine (Wonder City Farm), and Cindy Bischof-Steinbrick (Basil and Beyond). The event takes place at 5:30 p.m. February 1 at Great Lakes Brewing's Tasting Room (2701 Carroll Ave.). Sign up for the free event at localfoodcleveland.org.



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