It's only natural
Not so long ago, Northeast Ohioans had to either hang out in college-town caf´s or cook at home if they hoped to dine on wholesome, organically grown vegetables and hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. Now, environmentally concerned chefs like Steve Parris at the Fulton Bar and Grill (1835 Fulton Road, 216-694-2122) are helping usher in a whole new era in local restaurant fare, with frisky menus based on additive-free products and healthy, homegrown foods. While Parris, himself the very model of vitality, has long relied on local organic farmers for the mushrooms, greens, and veggies that find their way into his jazzy compositions, he has recently turned his attention to procuring organic and/or sustainably farmed meats. Soon, his menu will feature such items as succulent pork chops from Niman Ranch in northern California ("So good, I've even seen vegetarians eat them," Parris marvels), strip and sirloin steaks from Montana Natural Meats, and fresh-scented, delicately flavored ground beef from Ohio Farm Direct, near Columbus. "The taste," says the chef, "is unbelievable, and I'm convinced that it's better for our bodies."
Keen on quinoa
Parris also recently put on what he hopes is the first in a series of vegan feasts at the Fulton, with the help of folks from Westlake's Web of Life Natural Foods Market (25923 Detroit Road, 440-899-2882) and members of EarthSave Cleveland. The $35 Sunday evening dinner -- with dishes like mango rice-paper rolls, tropical quinoa salad, roasted asparagus, garlic ravioli, and a nontraditional tofu stir-fry in a fiery sauce of citrus, chiles, soy, and tamarind -- was a sellout, and Parris plans to host more. While nothing is scheduled yet, you can get a heads-up by stopping by the market or calling sometime later this month.