If you’re a seafood lover, the name Kyler Smith likely rings a bell. In just two short years, Smith has propelled his Sauce Boiling Seafood Express
concept from a single location in University Heights to one that will boast five locations by mid-2021, extending from downtown Cleveland to suburban Columbus.
Next up for the confident young entrepreneur is a project called Filter, which currently is taking shape in the Warehouse District. Smith’s biggest gambit yet, the fine-dining, full-service restaurant is coming to life in the former Take 5 Rhthym and Jazz space in the Perry–Payne Building.
Expected to open in May, the 120-seat restaurant and bar will inject a much-needed dose of entertainment and nightlife into that corner of the city.
“I’m a little nervous because the project is so huge,” Smith admits. “This is something I know I have to be successful with from day one.”
Billed as a contemporary restaurant serving “big drinks, big food and big plates,” Filter takes its name from the ubiquitous Instagram tool. The restaurant will feature a photobooth to complement the cocktails, DJs and music. “Sunday Funday” brunches will extend the party clear through the weekend.
“The art, decor and dishes are designed to push the limits of normal dining and raise the bar for hospitality in Cleveland,” promises management.
The menu will be under the control of chef Jarrett Mine, whose client roster as a private chef includes top players from the Cleveland Browns.
Smith says that visitors can expect an impressive guest list of “athletes, influencers and brands.” The buoyant scene is smack dab in the middle of his wheelhouse, an area of expertise that he’s been cultivating for years. In high school he was a party promoter, in college he was the DJ for the Akron Zips, and Smith still moonlights as a DJ and on-air personality for Z 107.9 FM.
“People always ask me how I got into the restaurant business,” Smith explains. “No, I’m not a chef; I never even worked in a restaurant in my life. But I’ve been creating concepts that I know people are going to enjoy. I’m selling a vibe, I’m selling vision, I’m selling entertainment and energy every time you’re in one of my spots.”