Tremont's trendy restaurant and bar scene must have something for every taste at this point -- especially with the recent launch of SubStance, Susan Walters and Mark Shary's little kitchen and carryout at 815 Jefferson Avenue. The duo are Cleveland dining-industry veterans -- Shary was the original owner of Players Pizza and Pasta in Lakewood and later joined Walters in opening the now-defunct KeKA in Ohio City -- and their reunion has resulted in a good-tasting assortment of oversized subs, salads, and lushly loaded pizza-pies, freshly assembled inside a bright, colorful storefront. And although Walters and Shary intended SubStance primarily as a carryout, the two small tables in the front of the shop get a real workout. "We get people in here, and we can't get them out," chuckles Shary.
The imaginative subs ($5.50 for a half; $10 for a whole; and $13.50 for an entire loaf of Orlando's artisan bread, crammed with fillings) range from The Smokin' Vegetarian, with artichokes, oven-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, asparagus, goat cheese, and 'shrooms, to The Big Salami, a giant stack-up of prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, cappicola, provolone, banana peppers, and Italian dressing. And the pizza options ($7 to $15) are nearly endless, with six specialty numbers and a long list of sauces and toppings to mix 'n' match.
The menu also includes such starters as stuffed artichoke hearts, panko-breaded fried pickles, and nachos topped with cheese, salsa, and homemade guacamole. If you're thinking those sound a lot like upscale bar noshes, give yourself a cigar: The entire SubStance menu is also available at next door's The Flying Monkey Pub, where you can pair your drinks with items such as Flying Fries (hand-cut, enthusiastically seasoned potato wedges, served with housemade ketchup, roasted-garlic mayo, or malt vinegar) or Slap the Monkey, an Italian-style sub sprinkled with fresh basil.
For dessert, Shary bakes cookies and dense, chewy brownies, and there's a freezer filled with Woo City ice-cream cups. To drink, a nearby cooler holds bottled iced teas, smoothies, and juices -- but even better is the SubStance Lemonade, a refreshing homemade potion which, at least on the day we visited, was spiked with watermelon juice and ginger.
SubStance is open from noon to midnight, Monday through Thursday; noon to 2 a.m., Friday and Saturday; and 4 p.m. to midnight on Sunday. Delivery is available in select areas, with a $10 minimum order. Call 'em at 216-771-YUMM.