Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Shake Shack Coming to Cleveland Sooner than Planned

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 12:31 PM

In February, we learned the exciting news that Shake Shack would be planting a flag in Cleveland if and when the mixed-use, high-rise development NuCLEus ever materialized.

Today we learn of more concrete plans.

Shake Shack just announced that it will be opening a location at the Pinecrest development – Ohio’s first – by the spring of 2018. Located on Harvard Road at I-271, Pinecrest is the new mixed-use district from Fairmount Properties to be filled with shops, restaurants, boutiques, entertainment, hotel, residences and office space.

The Pinecrest Shake Shack will offer all the classics, including the ShackBurger, crinkle-cut fries and handmade shakes, plus a selection of frozen custard concretes in collaboration with local food purveyors.

Shake Shack’s burgers are made with fresh 100-percent hormone- and antibiotic-free Angus beef.

Since the original Shack opened in 2004 in NYC’s Madison Square Park, the company has expanded to more than 80 locations in 18 U.S. States and the District of Columbia, and more than 50 international locations including London, Istanbul, Dubai, Tokyo, Moscow, Seoul and more.
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Sterle's Country House to Close After More than 60 Years

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 11:20 AM


“Sterle’s is not closing,” explains chef Natasha Pogrebinsky. “We are rebranding and focusing more on large groups and private events. Just because we are not going to be open for public dinners, it’s not like the restaurant is going to be torn down.”

The chef stresses that the intent was never to shock and sadden the community with the sudden news. The shift away from public dining to private dining just made sense, she says.

“We grew more into an event space,” she adds. “This way we can keep the restaurant alive, keep the food and traditions alive, just in a different capacity. This Cleveland treasure is being cared for.”


Original story:

It's the end of the line for another Cleveland landmark. After more than six decades, Sterle's Country House will close, according to owner Rick Semersky.

Semersky took over the business, formerly Sterle's Slovenian Country House, in 2012. He has since worked tirelessly to make the restaurant relevant to today’s younger dining clientele by tweaking the menu and concept. Apparently, those efforts have not been enough to buoy the operation.

Semersky added the casual Cafe 55 to the complex a couple of years ago and last year debuted Goldhorn Brewery. Hub 55, a multi-dimensional entrepreneurial endeavor at the same site, will continue.

Going forward, Sterle’s will be used solely for private events.

Here’s the official statement:

“Dear friends, family, and community! We want to thank you for the many decades of support. You have been a part of our family and hearts as much as we have been a part of yours. Although we will be discontinuing our dinner programs, we are happy to announce a new era for Sterle's. Due to massive popular demand, we will be re-branding as a full-time events and catering venue. We are excited to host your next party, celebrations, or event, family or business, we accommodate all requests. Our Executive Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky will continue to host regular Chef's Dinners, for all you dieheart fans of Sterle's food, stay tuned for more info on that. In the mean time, come see us at Cafe55 and Goldhorn Brewery, just next door, where Chef Pogrebinsky and the dedicated Hub55 Team are cooking up fresh, and delicious meals everyday. This is not goodbye, rather a new and exciting beginning!”

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

More Changes at Red Restaurant Group: Team Adds Executive Chef, Director of Operations

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 5:03 PM

Lately, the news out of Red Restaurant Group has been one of exits: that of longtime chef and partner Jonathan Bennet, and that of short-lived restaurant 811, which closed last week to retool.

This week brings some positive news for the organization. The recent hiring of two key figures will undoubtedly add some leadership and stability as the company continues to expand its footprint at home and away.

Shawn Cline, who for many years has been an integral figure with Hospitality Restaurants, not the least of which has been helping to launch and expand the Rosewood Grill brand, has been named Executive Chef of Moxie and Red, the Steakhouse (Beachwood). Cline graduated from the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts and actually worked at Moxie early in his professional career.

David Schneider, who recently rejoined Zack Bruell’s ZB Restaurant Group after exiting from it a few years back, will leave it again to join Red Restaurant Group. As Director of Operations, Schneider will oversee all facets of Red’s growing portfolio of restaurants, both here and in cities like Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Miami.

“David and Shawn share the same passion for providing our guests with the highest level of experience,” states Jonathan Gross, President and CFO, Red Restaurant Group. “Our team of professionals is committed to excellence with every bite and at every turn.”
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Monday, June 19, 2017

There Will Be No Fabulous Food Show This Year, But Organizers Hope to Bring It Back in the Future

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 5:04 PM

Michael Symon speaking at 2016's Fabulous Food Show. - EMANUEL WALLACE PHOTO
  • Emanuel Wallace Photo
  • Michael Symon speaking at 2016's Fabulous Food Show.
Cleveland's popular Fabulous Food Show won't be back this November, or anytime this year. But Rob Attewell, the show's producer as well as I-X Center's consumer show manager, told Crain's Cleveland Business that the event's not dead yet.

"We needed time to step back and reevaluate best practices for the event and find areas to improve — and make certain the event made financial sense for us," Attewell said.

With 400,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space filled to the wings with food, beer, wine and a full slate of culinary celebrities, including Cleveland's own Michael Symon, The Fabulous Food Show has been the largest event of its kind bringing out people of all ages.

Since 2006, it attracted approximately tens of thousands of food fiends to the I-X Center. But while the number of attendees remained steady, the costs for bringing in insightful food demos and celebrity chefs to the event have continued to rise, causing a financial strain.

"You never want to see something like that go away," Chef Symon told Crain's. "It's been going for so long, and I think it's a good event for the city — but also brings people to Cleveland."

Attewell says a Fabulous Food Show return for 2018 is already in the works, but in order for the event to continue, he admits the festival model will have to change.
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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Updated: Rick's Cafe in Chagrin Falls to Change Ownership After 40 Years

Posted By on Sat, Jun 17, 2017 at 12:13 PM


Rick’s Café owner Alec Singer clarifies that he is indeed selling the 40-year-old restaurant to Shawn Monday and his partner Michael Schwartz. But he has assurances from them that the name, concept, staff and spirit of the restaurant will not change.

“Nothing’s changing,” Singer promises. “Michael Schwartz loves Rick’s Café and he always has. He’s happy to continue the legacy.”

Chef Monday says that while a new concept is possible down the road, he indeed might keep the Rick's Cafe concept going for a while.

Original article:

For the last 40 years, the saying in Chagrin Falls has been: "Everybody Comes to Rick's." Rick’s Café, that is. And for good reason. The laid back American tavern has offered just the right balance of comfort and panache, a dying breed where live music and conversation went hand in hand with hearty, traditional comfort food.

All that ends next week when the local legend shuts its doors after four decades. An employee, saddened by the news, reports that the staff was informed tonight that the restaurant would close next week. This shocking news comes on the heels of Gamekeeper's Taverne closing its doors after 40 years.

Within the matter of months, local diners have lost two local institutions.

While we still don't know what will take the place of Gamekeeper's, we do now know that chef Shawn Monday, who runs Flip Side down the road as well as One Red Door and Three Palms, will be the new occupant of Rick’s Café.

For now, the plan is to install a completely new concept, according to Monday, but that plan is still fluid.

We’ll keep you posted.
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Cleveland Summer Beerfest to Feature 50 Breweries

Posted By on Sat, Jun 17, 2017 at 8:04 AM

Fifty breweries, including local favorites Platform, Royal Docks and Market Garden, will be on hand for the second annual Cleveland Summer Beerfest, which takes place today at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica.

There will be food trucks and live music.

Continue reading »

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Water Garden Cafe's Vegan and Meat Offerings Alike Are Welcome Additions to Cleveland, If Only They Could Get the Service Right

Posted By on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 4:15 PM

Vegans must be a patient lot. Either that or they’re willing to put up with all sorts of complications just as long as there’s some meat-free food is waiting for them on the other end. Our group, while in no hurry whatsoever, found ourselves mired down in a morass of sluggish service at Water Garden Café, which opened near the Lorain Avenue Antiques District in February.

It certainly is an attractive space, a bright and airy double storefront that has been meticulously renovated. Ancient wide-plank wood flooring is balanced by a modern stacked stone fountain, ironically bone-dry given the restaurant’s moniker. A lengthy wood-slab bar is also bone dry as Water Garden has no liquor license, and frowns upon diners toting in their own.

The menu is a small but eclectic mix of meaty and meat-free options ranging from starters like vegetable tempura and vegan tamales to a grilled beet burger and chicken flautas. There are also the requisite vegan items that make use of the figurative parentheses, like “meat” balls with sauce, squash “noodle” pasta with marinara, and “bacon,” lettuce and tomato sandwiches.

We heartily enjoyed our bowl ($6) of lentil soup, a thin broth with warm spices and fresh vegetables. The house tamales ($6) looked promising when they landed on the table, with twin corn husks filled with dough topped with black beans, pickled onion, roasted veggies and avocado cream. Unfortunately, the dough (cornmeal?) was cold and pasty and the toppings never really came together.

I’ll be the first to admit that the roasted beet burger ($11) was a surprise hit, a substantial burger substitute paired with top-notch french fries. We could have done without the “black bean aioli,” which we all agreed was simply the water that one drains from a can of black beans. A colorful and vibrant mound of crisp zucchini and squash ribbons ($12) is set atop a fresh tomato marinara. It’s a nice, summery dish that’s appealing in its simplicity.

Oddly enough (or not), it was the non-vegan options that made the best impressions. There’s a damn fine grass-fed beef burger ($11) topped with swiss, lettuce and tomato and sided by those same great fries. And the chicken flautas ($12), four crispy-fried tortillas rolled around juicy dark meat chicken and capped with sour cream and all the fixings, went over with a bang.

There is no denying that the service is sweet and meaningful, but with just one staffer doing the job of host, waiter and cook, it also is amateurish. We waited for seemingly ever, while our water glasses remained bone-dry, as the lone employee prepared our four-top’s food. We wondered aloud what might have happened if we weren’t the only diners.

Management also made a point of talking up breakfast, lunch and brunch service with our table, but when I called on a recent Friday morning the phone rang and rang unanswered. The restaurant business is brutal, especially given the stiff competition. Water Garden has a product that people want, but they’ll need to tighten up their execution game to succeed.

Water Garden Café
7646 Lorain Ave., Cleveland

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