It’s been a long 20 months since a fire completely destroyed Jekyll’s Kitchen in Chagrin Falls. The restaurant, part of the Hyde Park restaurant group, opened in the former home of Blake's Seafood Grill in spring of 2009.
Co-owner Joe Saccone said that a perfect storm of challenges combined to delay the opening for as long as it did. In addition to designing a new restaurant to sit on a 145-year-old foundation and working on the side of a cliff teetering over the Chagrin River, the company had to overcome one of the harshest winters in recent memory.
“That all took quite a bit of time,” notes Saccone.
But there’s always a silver lining, and in this instance it gave Saccone and partner Rick Hauck the opportunity to rethink the entire space. While the exact footprint stays the same, the interior has been completely reworked.
“This allowed us to make some changes,” Saccone says of the fire.
Before, upon entering the restaurant, guests would see the kitchen to the left and the bar to the right. That layout created two separate bar areas when you take into account the attractive outdoor bar. By swapping the kitchen and the interior bar spaces, management was able to create one large bar that serves both inside and outside patrons. The two spaces are separated by a new 30-foot folding glass panel wall that when opened, unifies the two spaces.
“Now it feels like you have one big bar,” Saccone says. “You have more energy now and a much more vibrant bar scene.”
A new wine room was added near the front door that displays 500 bottles.
As for the menu, diners can expect some tweaks and amendments, but no wholesale transformations, according to Saccone.
“We stuck with the American grill concept,” he says. “The American grill thing works really well here and there was no reason to change it.”
Saccone estimates that 50 to 60 percent of the menu items are similar if not the same as before. Others have been updated and reworked. And still others are completely new.
“We did build upon the last 18 to 24 months of experience at our other restaurants,” he says.
That translates into the addition of a limited selection of sushi rolls to the offerings, a first for this location.
Heading up the kitchen this go around is chef Mark Jacobs, an alum of Granite City and Townhall.
Jekyll’s Kitchen will open its doors to the public on May 14th.
Next up for the Hyde Park guys is a new burger concept in Columbus.
“This concept has been in development for five years,” Saccone says.
Stack City Burger Bar, a gourmet burger and sandwich café, will open in the Short North this summer. If all goes as planned, the concept could find its way into our own backyards, says Saccone.