If great bread is the key to a great sandwich — and it is — then it's no surprise the new pop-up cafe at On the Rise bakery is serving some extremely savory treats.
"Sandwiches are something I have always loved doing," says chef Brian Evans, part of the culinary team at Adam and Jennifer Gidlow's 11-year-old Cleveland Heights bakery. "They can be delicious if you approach them with the same passion and pride you would bring to a gourmet meal."
At Evans' suggestion, the Gidlows decided to take a chance on expanding their bakery operations a few days each month, adding sandwiches and soups to the lineup of artisanal breads and pastries. "Brian has definitely taken the lead on this," says Adam Gidlow. "Obviously we have all the equipment here. And approaching it as a pop up seemed like a good way for us to test the waters."
The pop-up cafe made its debut today with a concise menu that included three sandwiches — ham and Gruyere with garlic herb butter on a baguette ($7), a meat-free combo of roasted eggplant, sweet pepper confit, roasted shallots, and Parmesan cheese on focaccia ($7), and — our fave — succulent roast beef with pickled shallots, arugula, Manchego, and horseradish aioli on a crusty French baguette ($9). On the side, an ample bowl of satiny butternut-squash soup ($5), garnished with blue cheese and sliced apples, was rich, creamy, and delicious, with a zesty interplay of flavors tart and sweet.
Evans, a graduate of ICASI whose resume includes stints at Fire Food & Drink, Parallax, and the Dim and Den Sum food truck, uses locally sourced meats and veggies in his creations, including produce from Rainbow Farms and grass-fed beef from Miller's Livestock. All sauces, dressings, and soups are made in-house, from scratch.
The pop-up cafe remains in business tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Enjoy your lunch at one of the bakery's handful of seats, or get it packed up to go.
"If this goes well — and I think it will — we plan to do this on the first weekend of every month until spring," says Adam Gidlow. "Then, assuming the response has been good, we'd love to do this on a permanent basis."
On the Rise is at 3471 Fairmount Blvd. For more info, call 216-320-9923 or go here. —- Elaine T. Cicora