This year's fourth annual Chef Jam will go down at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 10, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The combo of great food, live music, and the unique venue make this one of the most anticipated food events of the year — as sellout crowds at each of the previous Jams would seem to bear out.
Staffers from two dozen Cleveland restaurants — many outfitted in rock-themed costumes — will dish up tasty grub while competing for various honors. In addition to the celebrity-judged Maker's Mark challenge, there will be a new Best in Show award, determined by those in attendance.
Organizer Steve Schimoler of Crop Bistro says that finding participating chefs is a breeze.
"Everybody wants to do this event. We are completely full. And this year, we have a bunch of new blood."
New and soon-to-come restaurants like SOHO, Spice, and Black Pig are among this year's 22 participating eateries. Also in the lineup are ABC the Tavern, B Spot, Bar Cento, Blue Point Grille, Bonbon Café (see review in this issue), Flying Fig, Greenhouse Tavern, Melt, Momocho, Moxie, Pier W, Prosperity Social Club, Pura Vida, Reddstone, Sasa, Tremont Tap House, Umami, Washington Place Bistro, and Zack Bruell Restaurants.
Tickets are $65 and include food, beer, wine, and live entertainment from Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk. Guests also have access to the museum's exhibits, including The Grateful Dead: Long, Strange Trip.
For more info or to purchase tickets, go to rockhall.com/event/chef-jam-2012.
DREAM MENU: Chef Eddie Cerino is branching out — both geographically and culinarily. As owner of Seven Hills-based Eddie's Pizzeria Cerino, the chef focuses on pizza, pasta, and other traditional Italian food. The CIA-trained Cerino will extend his reach to Lakewood with the opening of Eddie 'n' Eddie's Burgers, Bourbon and Apple Pie.
Shooting for an early August opening, Cerino and his son will specialize in big burgers, fresh-baked pies, and booze. The team is still deciding between grass-fed and American wagyu beef for its meaty 10-ounce patties. The 5,000-square-foot space at the corner of Warren Road and Detroit Avenue will feature an in-house bakeshop.
In addition to beef, burgers will come in chicken, shrimp, and veggie varieties. Daily specials will include savory and sweet pot pies. And despite the name, there will be more than just apple pies on the menu; Cerino feared that if he included just "pies" in the restaurant name, folks likely would assume he meant pizzas.
The dining room is decked out in white tile for a crisp, clean look, says Cerino. An entire wall is wrapped in charred oak — a nod to the bourbon that will be the backbone of the spirits program. Seating for 140 (no patio) will make Eddie 'n' Eddie one of the larger restaurants in the neighborhood.
USING HIS NOODLES: Restaurateur Hiroshi Tsuji sold Hiroshi's Pub, his two-year-old Beachwood eatery, at the end of April. In addition to his acclaimed sushi restaurant Shuhei, the chef will now run a Japanese-style noodle shop in Kent. When it opens on South Water Street in a few months, Noodlebar will specialize in bowls filled with ramen, soba, and other slurpy stuff topped with all manner of add-ons. Rice bowls, rolled sushi, and salads will round out the menu.
"Down there you have a lot of international students," explains Tsuji. "And kids who grew up with Cup o' Noodle are more sophisticated these days."
The purchaser of Hiroshi's Pub is Milo Valenti, a partner in Little Italy's Michaelangelo's. Following a complete renovation of the space, Valenti will open an Italian restaurant there this summer. "Of course, Michaelangelo's is Piedmont, northern Italian," says Valenti. "This is going to be southern Italian comfort food."
OUT OF FAVOR: Less than a year after opening, Favor Bistro has closed. The restaurant at 1975 Lee Road occupied the Cleveland Heights diner cars that made similarly quick work of Clyde's Bistro, Chris & Jimmy's Diner, and the original occupant, Dottie's Diner.