When Bar Symon closed this past fall, former employees spread across the Cleveland dining landscape like so many fennel seeds. At least two landed at the newly opened Plank Road Tavern (16719 Detroit Ave., 216-221-5900, www.facebook.com/plankroadtavern).
Located in the old Panini's at the Riviera spot in Lakewood, Plank Road gets its moniker from the old name for Detroit Avenue, which at one time was indeed built of wooden planks. Following a complete makeover that included new pine flooring, wall-mounted fireplace and state-of-the-art tap system, Plank Road opened for business on December 2.
"We're still flying under the radar," says manager Matt Raynor. "We don't even have our sign up yet."
Also from Bar Symon is chef Justin Butterfield, who describes the menu as "contemporary rustic," with a focus on burgers, comfort food, and Midwestern craft beers. Build-your-own burgers are the main event here, with $5 buying a diner a quarter-pound of fresh ground meat and a choice of cheese, three toppings, and bun. Toppings include caramelized onions, portabella mushroom, pickled red onion, pepper bacon, and fried egg.
Starters include IPA-battered pickle spears, fried green tomatoes, roasted pork chili, and dry-rubbed whole chicken wings. Entrees change often with a pub meatloaf with mashed skin-on potatoes fetching $9. A pizza oven is on the way.
"We are not a sports bar, but it's still a great place to catch a game," says Raynor. "We're not quite a restaurant, but it's a great place to grab a meal."