Music fans had their Rock Hall inductions; food fans got their first taste of the Greenhouse Tavern (2038 E. 4th St., 216.393.4302, thegreenhousetavern.com). The restaurant, which officially opens April 13, will be Ohio's first to be LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). By going local with everything from food purveyors to bar-top fabricators, the restaurant has shriveled its carbon footprint small enough to fit in a baby shoe. Walls are clad in antique barn siding, the back bar is assembled from science-lab cabinets and the spectacular light fixtures are made from old bicycle wheels, spokes and all. All these elements come together in a polished, seamless fashion. "We want the restaurant to feel like it has been here a long time," says chef-owner Jonathon Sawyer. Though large in scale, the restaurant feels like a cozy bistro, thanks to its unique layout. Broken up into sections, no area seats much more than 25 guests. The main dining area is devoted to the long bar and communal high-top seating. A back mezzanine offers sweeping views of the entire room. The front mezzanine looks out on East 4th Street. In the future, a rooftop bar and dining area will open, along with the namesake greenhouse. If "local" is watchword one, then "French" is close behind. "Our approach is a lot like it was at Bar Cento," explains Sawyer, referring to his previous kitchen in Ohio City, "but with the south of France, not Italy, as our inspiration." Sawyer has a gift for making high-quality foreign-inspired fare approachable and casual. French breakfast radishes are sliced in half and slathered with butter and salt. Hand-ground beef tartar is topped with a poached egg and garnished with local ramps. Ohio chicken is roasted and served with bread heels to sop up the juice. A magnificent piece of Ohio hangar steak frites rings in at $17. The bulk of the menu comes in at far less than that. "We want to show people that good local food doesn't have to be expensive," says Everest Curley, beverage director. Sawyer and chef-partner Jonathan Seeholzer are crafting their own vinegars, making their own cheese and preserving their own pickles. Many of the wines, spirits and beers are exclusive to this restaurant. Perhaps the sweetest room in the house is the basement, home to the open kitchen. Seating is available at the kitchen counter and a handful of tables. The nearby vintage jukebox and turntable will come in handy when the crew fires up the popular Rock and Roll Wine Projects.
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