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Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Name, New Theme, New Chef for Sunset Grille at Whiskey Island

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 11:04 AM

click to enlarge sunset_grille_sign.jpg

On May 1st, Sunset Grille on Whiskey Island will usher in the summer season with its annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. But that’s about the only consistent feature from the previous year for this lakefront property, which includes a marina, park and restaurant.

“We have new ownership, a new management company and new name for the restaurant,” says Tim Poole, GM at Whiskey Island Marina.

The new owner, of course, is the Cleveland Metroparks, which added the lakefront property last year to its portfolio of parks. The new management company is FDL Marine, which now operates the marina. And the new name for the restaurant is Whiskey Island Still and Eatery, formerly known as Sunset Grille.

Gone is the island-themed interior, says Poole, replaced by an all-new Prohibition-era décor.

“We’re going back to the history of Cleveland during the Prohibition, and the actual whiskey shanty town that used to be down here,” Poole says, referring to the period when distilleries dotted the peninsula.

click to enlarge sunset_grille_scene.jpg
The walls are festooned with old photos, editorials and artifacts from the period, including a tommy gun. An old copper pot still adds a bit of historic charm.

To go along with the new hardware, there’s a new chef, menu and updated kitchen. Chef Chris Grounds will oversee a straightforward menu of burgers, seafood and barbecue.

“It’s not a huge menu, but a high-quality menu,” Poole says. “It is all fresh food.”

The changes aren’t reserved for the interior. For the first time, the gravel dining area where the picnic tables reside has been replaced by a concrete slab, making it handicap accessible. There still is plenty of grass for games and hanging out.

The outdoor bar pavilion has been improved with a new 16-tap draft beer system.

Even the calendar of live musical acts has been beefed up, says Poole. 

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