Here we go Cleveland! On Friday April 12, we open Schwartz’s new Ohio outpost of Michael’s Genuine at The Van Aken District in Shaker Heights! We are in the throws of practice services and getting everything tuned up from lighting and ambience, to decor and signage — understanding what the restaurant becomes when the lights go down and service begins. It’s a feeling out process and the fine tuning is super important to bring the experience to life in the best way.
“Cleveland feels really good, and we’re so excited to finally open and get to know our new community,” says Schwartz, “For us, genuine is a thoughtful approach to hospitality – I’m a chef, but it’s as much about making fresh, simple, pure food that tastes great from quality sources as it is about a tireless attention to detail of every aspect of the dining experience for guests. As we build a new team in a new location, making sure our culture thrives is really important to us. We’ve worked hard to get here and are looking forward to continuing to grow in our new home.”
For the menu, Michael and Ohio-born Chef de Cuisine Vinnie Cimino wanted to incorporate some favorites from home and also celebrate some local things too. Organized simply with sections of dishes ranging from small to extra-large like Miami, there are many ways to enjoy a meal. An abundant raw bar with Oysters with classic mignonette, King Crab with green sambal, Snapper Ceviche, and Seafood Tower available in tiered sizes comes off the food bar and oven station — a first! Greatest hits include Butter Lettuce with orange, duchilly hazelnuts, avocado, and shallot-hazelnut vinaigrette; Crispy Pork Belly with kimchi, crushed peanuts, and cilantro; and Wood Oven Roasted Whole Chicken with plumped currants, toasted pine nuts, and arugula. Schwartz’s upbringing in Philadelphia drew him to old world Cleveland comforts inspiring the Liverwurst Toast snack made with red onion, iceberg lettuce, and yellow mustard. A food sensitivity key makes it easy for guests to know what they’re eating, labeling dishes that are vegan (VE), vegetarian (VG), and gluten free (GF).
Embracing an open floorplan, the restaurant is designed to feel comfortable and welcoming. Guests are first greeted by the butcher block-topped bar and the main dining room behind, through a wood beam slatted partition. Warm woods, polished concrete, marble counters and vibrant red accents channel an easy energy throughout the space, anchored in the far corner by the Marra Forni wood burning hearth and raw bar display. The glass-enclosed dough room is an active workhorse for the menu, where pizza dough is proofed and fresh pastas are handmade daily. In the warmer months, the restaurant expands outdoors to an expansive 50-seat patio with umbrellas.
The beverage program, led by Michael’s Genuine veteran and The Genuine Hospitality Group’s Head Sommelier Amanda Fraga, takes a page from Miami’s approach, where cocktails, beer and wine are interesting, yet familiar, complementing what’s on the table.
“We naturally lean toward food-friendly wines, especially old world styles and classic interpretations,” Fraga explains. “When I first went to Cleveland, I was excited to see such an eclectic style of wine programs at the restaurants I visited. I’m really excited by Cleveland’s adventurous taste and desire to try something new. ”
Cocktails include beloved classic recipes as well as original house twists. Beer selections include diverse styles from local breweries, rotating on tap, as well as an extensive by the bottle list.
Situated in the heart of The Van Aken District in the historic Shaker Heights community just 9 miles east of the Cleveland city center, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Cleveland is located at 3427 Tuttle Road, Shaker Heights, OH. The restaurant opens with dinner service Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m., with lunch and brunch hours to follow with the arrival of summer. Reservations are available via OpenTable or by calling the restaurant at 216.230.8022. For updates on Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Cleveland visit the website and follow @michaelsgenuineCLE on Instagram.