Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine closed its doors after 20 years a little more than a year ago. Almost immediately the large, stand-alone building was purchased by local business owner Yashar Yildirim, who also owns the Turkish restaurant Anatolia Café just down the street. Since that time he has been actively searching for a suitable buyer or tenant for the building, which sits close to the Cedar Lee Theatre and is a marquee property both for Lee Road and Cleveland Heights in general.
That search officially ended this week when brothers Josh and Jason Sweet purchased the building. Their plan is to open Boss Dog Brewing (2179 Lee Rd.), a 10-barrel brewery and restaurant that should plug a gaping hole in the immediate landscape.
“We’ve been looking for the right space for two years,” says Josh. “We wanted to stick to the East Side; we’re Heights people, both my parents went to Heights High.”
To get to this point, the brothers played the ultimate long game, starting down a path five years ago with this exact end game in mind.
“We started out as your average homebrewers, doing it on our stove,” explains Josh. “We kind of got a passion for it and decided that this was something we really wanted to do. Jason was a little more into it so he was going to be our brewmaster.”
The pair sent letters to all of their favorite breweries in search of an entry-level position. Ultimately, it was Matt Cole from Fat Head’s who would give Jason his first real job, hiring him on as the production facility’s first employee. He worked his way up to third-shift brewer, only recently leaving his post.
Following significant renovations, which should take anywhere from six to nine months, a 10-barrell brewhouse and six to eight fermentation tanks will be visible from the street and inside the restaurant. The beers will be sold exclusively onsite to begin with, but may make their way to other establishments at a later date. As for the style of beer, Josh says they won’t likely be timid.
“Definitely more on the bold side,” he says. “We love hoppy beers, and coming from Fat Head’s, their beers are pretty hop-forward. But we’ll do a lot of different styles.”
The decision to include a full-service restaurant stems from the fact that the space is roomy – 5,700-square-feet upstairs with an additional 3,000 on a lower lever – but also the nature of the surrounding neighborhood.
“We want to be a community centered place and I think that lends itself to having not just a bar, not just a production facility with a tasting room, but an actual sit-down restaurant with good food and greet beer.”
Diners can expect gastropub-style fare, he said.
We’ll keep you updated on the progress.