Now Open: Water Garden Cafe in Lorain Avenue Antiques District

The on-again, off-again project known as the Water Garden Café is not only on again, it is open. The restaurant (7646 Lorain Ave., 216-417-8553), located within the Lorain Avenue Antiques District, began serving customers this week. It has been under construction since last summer.

“I run four other businesses,” owner Mike Colenich says with respect to the delays. “My other businesses build my projects.”

Colenich owns a number of properties in the area as well as a demolition business and The Other Woman, which he describes as “a shot and a beer bar.”

“We bought the building to relocate the bar and then we thought, why move the bar for the same amount of people?” he adds. “So we decided to put a restaurant in there.”

Over the course of the buildout, Colenich and business partner Irene Fanara salvaged materials from various construction projects for use at Water Garden. Guests who visit will see repurposed wood floors, marble counters, tin ceiling, kitchen equipment and various other fixtures.

Chris Antes, the third chef attached to the project, has put forth a menu that combines vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner items with non-vegan dishes. In the morning, items like hot cakes with berry coulis and “aquafaba butter,” a vegan substitute, join avocado toast with fruit, breakfast tacos filled with crumbled tofu and mushrooms, a vegan Spanish omelet and a vegan biscuits and gravy.

For lunch and dinner, vegan “beet burgers,” “neatballs” and squash noodle “pasta” with marinara join more mainstream items such as Ohio ground beef burgers, a Cubano stuffed with pork and bacon, and an oven-roasted salmon with basil mashed potatoes.

No item on the menu is priced higher than $12.

There is no liquor license.
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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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