On the final night of a culinary press tour, we were fortunate enough to visit The Greenhouse Tavern. Chef, owner, and James Beard award nominee Jonathon Sawyer fresh off his Iron Chef America appearance last night was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
Prior to The Greenhouse Tavern, Sawyer worked under the tutelage of Iron Chef Michael Symon at Lola. In fact, he even worked with Symon on Iron Chef America. Speaking about kitchen stadium “I’ve competed before as a sous chef for Michael Symon, so I was pretty familiar with the layout. It’s always stressful though, and that hour goes by so fast.”
Sawyer opened his place just a few doors down from Symon’s flagship restaurant. With no hard feelings, of course, Symon wouldn’t have it any other way. Fourth Street is a vibrant downtown district full of restaurants and entertainment options. Definitely a street worth visiting.
Sawyer has built a menu centered around fresh local ingredients. “I like to cook with whatever vegetables are coming into season, while they are at their peak. It’s always inspiring to see what mother nature gives you next,” says Sawyer. Chef Symon has had an immense influence on Sawyer’s cooking and the menu reflects this.
My visit to The Greenhouse Tavern was a late night one, but the scene was upbeat and exciting. This is due in part to the late night happy hour menu. “We’ve always supported the revitalization of downtown CLE and for us it’s important that everyone has a place to eat no matter what time it is. We hope if more places catch on and stay open later, more people will move downtown,” says Sawyer.
One thing I noticed about Cleveland while visiting was the overall excitement of its residents. Chef Sawyer feels the excitement, too, but he can’t pinpoint it, “It’s not one thing specifically that’s exciting, but the idea that younger Clevelanders are finally investing in the city – Go CLE!” he exclaims.
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