Table Talk: Cleaver carves own niche in Grandview Heights

GARY SEMAN JR.
gseman@thisweeknews.com
Tony Tanner stands next to the sign at Cleaver, a restaurant he has opened with Matt Evans (not pictured) at 1099 W. First Ave. in Grandview Heights.

Tony Tanner and Matt Evans have opened Cleaver in the former Old Spot at 1097 W. First Ave. in Grandview Heights.

In some ways, Cleaver, which opened Aug. 7, is a significant departure from the luxury gastropub fare of Old Spot, which lasted about a year under the ownership of Tanner, Evans and chef Rick Lopez, founder of Lupo and La Tavola.

Old Spot closed June 30, with Lopez departing amicably. Meanwhile, Tanner and Evans reworked the concept and the menu with executive chef Jay Kleven.

"We had to figure out a way to get people in the door for an experience they can't get anywhere else," Tanner said.

Faced with COVID-19 coronavirus seating restrictions, Tanner and Evans decided to adapt. Instead of attempting another shot at casual contemporary fare, they refined the food and limited the capacity to two seatings of 10 at 4:30 and 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The eight-course degustation menu is $100 per person or $150 with wine pairings. The menu items change monthly, Tanner said. Reservations can be made via Eventbrite.

The August menu offers such dishes as wheat berries, mushrooms and farro; smoked chicken wings with rhubarb butter and a corn fritter; and salt-baked lamb with marmalade.

"You're having an experience in a restaurant," Tanner said. "You're not sitting in plexiglass and shower curtains."

All meats, sausages included, come from Butcher & Grocer, Tanner's boutique grocery store a few storefronts down from the restaurant.

Tanner said most of his ingredients come from Ohio producers, listed on the back of the menu.

Cleaver is balanced by a patio and bar, which are open 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays. Because of social-distancing guidelines, the bar and patio have seating for 10 people each during those times.

The restaurant reclaims some of its laid-back vibe in that area, which offers a separate menu of sandwiches, salads and sides, such as the five-step fries that are cut, soaked in water for 24 hours, boiled, fried and fried again.

Tanner personally favors the sausage-and-peppers sandwich, an old-school favorite that gets a touch of smoked mustard and giardiniera, all served on a ciabatta bun.

He also recommends the lamb meatball served in a tiny crock with tzatziki and radishes.

The steak salad, at $18, is the most expensive menu item.

Food from the bar is available for carryout only.

Cleaver has a full bar, with all-Ohio brewed beer, wine and Prohibition-style cocktails.

"We're not trying to be scientists behind the bar," Tanner said.

For more information, call 614-914-8057.

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The Kitchen, 231 E. Livingston Ave. in German Village is rolling out three Roasted Rainbowls, Festa Cucina and KET-OH! available through local food-delivery services.

The participatory dining-experience and special-events venue will feature Roasted Rainbowls this month, offering vegan and vegetarian options in which customers can choose their own ingredients from five base choices.

Festa Cucina, an Italian comfort-food concept, and KET-OH!, with 100% ketogenic-diet-friendly components, will be available in September.

For more information, go to thekitchencolumbus.com.

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Dayton-based Warped Wing Brewing Co. and local craft brewer Land-Grant Brewing Co. have collaborated on the Long-Distance High Five Gose, which will be released in their taprooms.

Land-Grant will release its version of the beer in cans only, but Warped Wing will have the gose available on draft and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans.

The Long-Distance High Five Gose is inspired by "Ohio's rich farm-country heritage," Warped Wing officials said.

The beer combines Ohio's "top agricultural products," such as corn, wheat and honeysuckle, the company said.

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Barrio Tacos will enter the local market in September with a quest to serve great food and hire 100 employees.

That figure might sound surprising, given there's only one location set to open at 1516 W. Fifth Ave. in northwest Columbus.

But consider that location is 4,000 square feet, including patio space, said Jason Beudert, spokesman for the Cleveland-based chain. The total also factors in both full- and part-time workers, plus future expansion, he said.

Applicants may email their resumes and contact information to columbus@barrio-tacos.com to set up an interview.

All interviews will be socially distanced, and applicants will be asked to wear a mask.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary

The menu at Cleaver, 1099 W. First Ave. in Grandview Heights, includes (from left) the five-step french fries, smoked pork-belly BLT, curried potato salad and the Big Griddle Burger.