While some operators are eager to talk up their next project months before completion, Seth Bromberg prefers to keep a low profile and get stuff done. That's why we are just now learning about his new PlayhouseSquare restaurant, District (1350 Euclid Ave., 216-858-1000, districtcleveland.com), despite the fact that it's just two weeks shy of opening.
"We did the exact opposite of most people," explains Bromberg. "We wanted to get everything in order, start slow and do it right."
The space, which has been vacant since Hunan Renaissance closed about five years ago, has been completely reworked into a warm and sophisticated bistro. New awnings usher diners into a snug 90-seat dining room with freshly carpeted floors, warm earth tone finishes, and contemporary lighting. A 13-seat horseshoe bar is accented by teardrop pendants.
Bromberg is the owner and operator of both Northeast Ohio Melting Pot restaurants, located in Lyndhurst and Fairview Park. The opportunity to open an upscale restaurant in downtown Cleveland at this point in time was too good to pass up, he says.
"This is where it is," he says. "I know it sounds cliché, but it's happening — downtown is completely under construction. When we opened Melting Pot in 2004, the city wanted us to come downtown, but it was a war zone. But now, we are proud to join the downtown family."
The restaurant, on E. 14th Street in the heart of PlayhouseSquare, will cater to residents, commuters and theatre goers. Lunch, dinner and post-theatre service should keep the eatery buzzing most times of the day. Free parking is an added bonus. A chef to be named soon will prepare modern American food with global touches. Prices will be around $7-10 at lunch and less than $25 at dinner.
"This is a marathon not a sprint — we want to be here for a long time," says Bromberg. "There's no reason to charge a dollar more and give people the wrong perception. We believe in serving the right portion at right price."
Lunch items will include a four bean salad with chick peas, mung beans, lentils and black-eyed peas; vegetarian tarte; and seafood stew with mussels, shrimp, calamari, and cream of soy sauce. Dinner will feature goat cheese-stuffed calamari; goose confit with red wine cranberry sauce; pan-seared filet with bleu cheese, red wine balsamic reduction and red berry sauce; and Greek yogurt sorbet with oven-roasted plums for dessert.
Along with partner Eric McIntyre, Bromberg is both eager and honored to join the PlayhouseSquare neighborhood.
"My experience is with Morton's Steakhouse. My experience is with Ritz-Carlton," says Bromberg, referring to his employment history prior to opening Melting Pot. "It's all about hospitality. Whatever you're serving it has to be about great food, great service, and a having a good time."
Dinner service is slated to begin April 22, with lunch starting in early May.