First Look: Edwins Too, Opening at Shaker Square this Friday November 20

click to enlarge DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
"People keep asking me why I’m opening right now," says Brandon Chrostowski. "I say, it’s not the best time, but it’s the right time. Right now I've got 30 students and then another class coming in December, but I have half the dining room over at Edwins. I can't have four servers per table so I had to think fast about how to get ahead of this and expand quickly. This space was the key."

The space to which Chrostowski is referring is the former Fire Food and Drink at Shaker Square. Because the location was so close to the Edwins campus, essentially turnkey, and available with a short-term lease, the decision to expand was nearly as effortless as it was imperative.

When Edwins Too (13220 Shaker Sq., 216-400-6091) opens this Friday November 20, it will be a high-end, fine-dining, prix-fixe establishment operated by students and graduates of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute, where formerly incarcerated adults acquire culinary and hospitality skills.

The former Fire space has been made warmer, dimmer and, likely, more quiet thanks to spots of carpet and a new sound-dampening divider installed near the open kitchen. The walls have been covered in a soothing coral pink, live plants have been planted here and there, and contemporary art –including Warhols – on loan from a benefactor brightens each room.

Even with the removal of some tables and the spreading out of others, Edwins Too can accommodate 60 diners across the main dining room, lounge and private dining room. Those guests will have a choice between three-, five- and seven-course meals ($55, $75, $95), with or without beverage pairings. Vegan options are available as well. Those courses will be served in and on colorful, whimsical and flowery “granny china.”

Between the amuse bouche and the mignardises, meals might include dishes like foie gras torchon in brioche, chestnut and pheasant soup, poached Dover sole with lobster mousse, and puff pastry layered with orange-vanilla pastry cream and chocolate. The menu will change weekly, Chrostowski says, and visiting high-profile "chefs in residence" will inject their own professional style.

As is the case at Edwins, diners should expect fine food and fine service but not a snooty environment.

“This will be unpretentious and this will be fun,” the boss adds. “If you can’t have fun, we're screwed.”

Edwins Too will be open Fridays through Sunday, with two dinner seatings per night on Friday and Saturday, plus Saturday and Sunday brunch (beginning a week after opening) and Sunday dinner service.

click to enlarge DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
click to enlarge DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
click to enlarge DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner

About The Author

Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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