Anchoring the Moreland Hill's retail complex that currently houses Paul Minnillo's Flour, ML Tavern fills the void that was left in Fountain's wake. The space at 34105 Chagrin Blvd. has been transformed from a European small-plates parlor to an American-style fine-casual tavern.
It's a homecoming of sorts for the operators. "We operated a Hyde Park Steakhouse from 1992 till 2003 at this same location," explains co-owner Rick Hauck of Hyde Park Restaurant Group. "They tore down the building and rebuilt this new complex, but it's like coming home."
Confessing that ML (a play on Moreland) Tavern is the brainchild of his partner Joe Saccone, Hauck says the goal was to create a space "where people come to meet and hang out while not losing the upscale feel."
The entire footprint has been totally reworked. Hauck describes the design as "City Club meets the Hunt Club." The 120-seat restaurant touts new wood floors, an 18-seat bar and lounge with dedicated high tops, and an indoor stone fireplace. A temperature controlled four-season terrace with fireplace will be used for private events.
The kitchen, once small and ill-equipped, has been expanded and opened to the main room. Executive chef John Polyeme, a former chef with Hyde Park, will manage the back of the house. He will preside over a menu described by Hauck as "American cuisine with a combination of steak and seafood." Menu items such as lobster crab cakes, a ML burger, 15-ounce USDA Prime New York strip steak, and pistachio-crusted sea scallops show the evolutionary hybrid between the new upscale tavern and its big brother Hyde Park Steak House.
ML Tavern is now open for dinner Monday through Saturday.