Chef Kurt Steeber (Ballantine, Great Lakes Brewing Company) has joined with veteran restaurant resurrectionist Clyde Mart (Gaylin’s Tavern, Vito’s Italian Grill) to launch an upscale tavern in Pepper Pike.
Scheduled to open in October, Joe Foodie’s Tavern will replace the former Tannour Middle Eastern Cuisine (30519 Pinetree Rd.), on Pepper Pike’s Lander Circle.
Hard to spot, dully decorated, and perhaps best known for occupying the old Lion & Lamb site, Tannour never seemed to find an audience – despite several shakeups in management and some killer babaghanoush
. According to the 77-year-old Mart, who specializes in turning around under-performing properties, Tannour’s owners asked for his help in developing a more marketable concept; Mart, in turn, contacted Steeber.
“I don’t know if I want to call it a gastropub,” Steeber said, still stinging from his Ballantine experience
. “Let’s just call it a really nice tavern.”
Still, the lessons of Ballantine -- namely, that many suburban diners want nothing more adventurous from a tavern menu than burgers and fries -- haven’t gone unnoticed. As a result, Joe Foodie’s menu will feature a lineup of standards (burgers, perch sandwiches, steaks, etc.), as well as some mid-century classics, done up with Steeber’s modern, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, twists. Among those more imaginative dishes, look for items like meatloaf Wellington, in the traditional puff pastry; chicken & waffles, updated with crispy chicken livers and a chickpea-polenta waffle; and steak & eggs, featuring steak tartare and a poached quail egg.
Mart says the tavern will serve both lunch and dinner. --- Elaine T. Cicora