Lakewood native, one-time chef at Great Lakes Brewing Company, and sustainable foods advocate Kurt Steeber is set to launch a gastropub inside the former Johnny Mango’s space in Willoughby, at 4113 Erie St.
Look for Ballantine to open in early June, with a luscious menu of Steeber standards – including braised pork belly, old-world pâtés, and salmon sous vide. Besides giving the dining room an extreme makeover, Steeber has installed a woodburning oven, a sous vide station, and two 15-pound deep fryers – one filled with lard and the other with duck fat. (Nope, it won’t be health food…) He’s also equipping a downstairs curing room, where he’ll make his own sausages.
To drink, the chef has amassed a worthy collection of craft-brewed beers – 29 on tap and another 30 by the bottle – as well as a 50-bottle wine list. Plans call for dinner and late-night service initially, with lunch to be added later.
As for the “gastropub” designation, that’s just foodie-speak for a casual pub that serves top-notch food. -- Elaine T. Cicora