For a city the size of Euclid, with close to 50,000 residents, the community is woefully underserved by great independent restaurants. Other than a handful of small, popular spots like Beach Club Bistro and Paragon Wine Bar, the sprawling municipality just east of Cleveland is a culinary wasteland.
Going a long way toward righting that wrong will be Great Scott Tavern, a multi-million dollar project two years in the making. When it opens in April, the 7,500-square-foot bar and restaurant will accommodate 180 diners indoors, with room for another 150 outside.
If you live in the area, chances are good that you’ve driven by the attractive two-story brick building (21801 Lakeshore Blvd.) and watched as the building was systematically gutted and rebuilt. Originally a post office, the 70-year-old building had been chopped up over the years into multiple rental spaces. The owners have spent the last 24 months – and a few buckets of cash – unifying the space to ready it for this restaurant.
The project is named for its munificent benefactor, Janet Scott, a longtime resident of Euclid who just wanted to do something positive for the community she loves, explains the project’s architect Richard Beck.
“She always joked that she had to leave Euclid for a great meal,” Beck says. “She's not doing this for profit. It’s more of an economic development project than a money maker.”
In fact, she didn’t even want the restaurant to be named after her.
Scott brought on Nick Kustala as chef-partner. The industry vet owned the popular Lure Bistro in Willoughby for years, before selling it eight years ago to his sushi chef. He has since been involved with Bar Lure, Vault, and Heirloom Country Bistro in Madison. He also currently owns the Estate on Coffee Creek
“We want to be a restaurant that fits the neighborhood,” Kustala explains. “This is not a destination restaurant. We really want to stay in the $14 to $20 range.”
The menu will be a mix of chef-driven, seasonal comfort foods and higher-priced steaks and chops, cooked over a diner’s choice of two separate hardwood fires.
“We have two wood grills, one that will be burning cherry wood and another burning mesquite,” says Kustala. “They lend completely different flavor profiles.”
So, a diner might go with the fresh catch of the day grilled over fruit wood, say, or a house-ground burger cooked over smoky mesquite.
While still in the planning phase, the menu might feature starters such as mussels frites, brisket-stuffed potato skins, blue crab and Ohio corn crab cakes, latkes topped with house-cured salmon, and boneless stuffed chicken wings with blue cheese sauce. Entrees might include braised short rib stroganoff, chili mac with gouda, chicken pot pie, City Chicken, and veal-poached meatloaf, a meaty terrine that’s wrapped, poached in veal stock, cooled, sliced and reheated in broth.
The menu will be overseen by chef de cuisine Mike Keyerleber, who for the last three and a half years has been at Noodlecat and Greenhouse Tavern.
At 7,500 square feet (the second floor is being used for administrative purposes… for now), the main floor is roomy, to say the least. The dining room, outfitted with numerous booths and illuminated by warm Edison bulb fixtures, will seat about 120. In place of a bar with an open kitchen, Great Scott features a kitchen with bar seating. It is one of, if not the, most open kitchens I’ve come across. Guests seated at the 40-stool wraparound bar and chef’s table will have a first-row seat on all the action, to say the least.
Two patios – an elevated patio for dining, and a street-level patio for lounging – will up the total occupancy to north of 300.
There is plenty of free parking on an adjacent parcel of land, a former gas station that Scott purchased, abated and leveled.
Look for Great Scott Tavern to open this spring.