The Wonder Bar (2044 E. 4th St., 216-298-4050, www.wonderbarcleveland.com) has seen its share of chefs, menus and concepts since it opened in the summer of 2007. Last month it took another turn with the addition of Joe Bemer, a chef who has worked at Melange, 56 West, and others.
"The past is behind us," Bemer says. "We have to look at today and tomorrow. All we want is for people to come back in and taste the food."
Wonder Bar has always had to make do with a tiny kitchen that contains no grill, burners, or deep fryers. All cooking is done in ovens or on small induction burners. What others see as a hindrance, Bemer sees as an opportunity. "This is a healthier cooking style."
One item that is going nowhere is pizza, which has been one of the bar's top sellers. But now the dough is made fresh daily, upping the quality of the thin-crusted pies. Other menu items fall into categories for soup and salads, appetizers, and entrées. Popular seasonal items include an elegant chicken paprikash made with an airline breast, and a hearty beef tip and mashed potato meal.
No item on the menu exceeds $16.
"We are definitely more affordable then everyone on the street," he adds. "Some neighborhood people eat here more than once a week."
Wonder Bar still features live music Thursday through Saturday.