The roomy outdoor bar and beer garden at Sterle’s feels like a separate entity from the operation inside. On warm summer days, it’s a magical little spot where family and friends gather for beer, grub and games. Since coming on board, new chef Jeff Jarrett was deliberating on how best to utilize the outdoor space.
“We have this gigantic, ginormous smoker out in the beer garden,” Jarrett explains. “I took one look at it and thought, I need to call Walter. What the beer garden needs is a couple of really gregarious people who just want to own and light up this entire place, and we all know that Walter is exactly that.”
“Walter” is Walter Hyde, who along with partner Scott Slagle lit up the food scene briefly with their mighty fine barbecue, served up unceremoniously from a nondescript roadside joint in Macedonia called Fat Casual. But lengthy road and bridge construction forced them to close after only two years. The team took its talents to Solon, where they ran the kitchen at the Tavern of Solon, but the owner soon wanted to go in another direction.
Hyde and Slagle will take over the beer garden Thursdays through Sundays beginning April 2, which also is the next St Clair Market. That market, sponsored by St. Clair Superior Development Corporation and hosted on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, features food, beverages and craft items.
Other than during busy Saturdays, the barbecue items will be available both inside and out. Plans call for Hyde’s legendary smoked prime rib to be a staple special on Friday nights, the first being the Friday following Lent, coincidentally enough.
“Honestly, it’s like life-changing,” Jarrett says of the smoked prime rib. “The first time I had it was at Dinner in the Dark three or four years ago.”