Players on Madison served its last meal in early October after nearly 30 years in business. But we knew the popular Lakewood spot wouldn’t stay idle for long as longtime chef Anthony Romano announced that he and business partner Sandy Smith would be taking over the restaurant and reopening it as Sarita
(14523 Madison Ave., 216-226-5200).
Following a major interior renovation, Sarita will begin welcoming diners starting November 14.
Culinary Institute of America grad Romano describes the cuisine as New American.
“Lakewood, like many parts of the city and country in general, is this fantastic melting pot of cultures and flavors,” he says. “To me as a chef, that’s what new American cuisine is. It’s not pigeonholed into one country or one style. But a representation of all of us. A blend of the best if you will.”
In terms of flavors and presentations that translates into lighter dishes with natural reductions and vinaigrettes in place of heavy cream- and butter-based sauces. Romano intends to keep his menus seasonal, with frequent tweaks throughout the year. His goal, he says, is to provide tastefully healthy options at reasonable prices.
At the end of the day, Romano says that he just wants to create an environment that is casual, appealing and fun.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” he adds. “This is the hospitality business; it’s supposed to be fun. We aren’t saving lives, fighting wars or arguing politics. We’re breaking bread and drinking wine. Our only goal is to treat people to a good time – just like we would if you were in our home.”
The 100-seat restaurant now features a custom built 16-foot communal table, 12-foot chandelier made from kitchen utensils, and a contemporary black-and-white color scheme. It will be open for dinner seven nights a week. The 25-seat patio will reopen next spring.