Earlier this year, the sleepy Village of Burton welcomed the addition of Warren’s Spirited Kitchen
, a progressive dining option in a sea of humble home-style cooking. By the middle of October, Burton will say howdy to The Smith, described by management as a “contemporary smokehouse.”
For the past 18 months, owners Art and Linda Smith, who have run Meadow Ridge Events
for decades, have been working to convert the old Belle's Colonial Restaurant in the heart of town into The Smith
(14608 W. Park St., 440-273-8039), which executive chef William Burke describes as an updated take on the country kitchen concept.
“I enjoy the idea of doing revivalist cooking; using recipes that have been forgotten along the way or replaced with more convenient ones,” says Burke, who for the last three years served as chef de cuisine at the nearby Walden Inn and Spa.
Diners can look forward to a menu that makes modern use of techniques like smoking, canning, pickling and other traditional forms of preserving foods, many of which will be sourced locally at the peak of freshness. From that Southern Pride pit will come a wide array of slow-smoked meats like pulled pork, ribs, sausage and chicken, but also bacon even chili meat.
“Smoke will touch almost every menu item,” Burke says.
Smoked herbs will season split chickens, which will then be cooked confit-style before a hot bath in the deep fryer. Whole wings will be smoked. New Creation top round will be smoked, shaved, piled into caraway and salt encrusted brioche and served with smoked au jus. Seared trout will come with sweet potato hash and smoked butter sauce. Sweet potatoes will be smoked and turned into gnocchi.
For dessert there will be old-fashioned pies like rhubarb, apple and chocolate chess pie made with a splash of local buttermilk.
“Belle’s used to be known for their pies,” notes the chef.
The transformation from Belle’s to The Smith pared down the dining room from about 190 seats to just 66. As the business gets its bearings it will expand into the rear of the space. The restaurant will serve dinner five nights a week and weekend brunch.
For those living in the area, the news of another quality dining option means there will be fewer trips into town, says Burke.
“I think that Cleveland – and Chagrin – are getting almost over saturated with restaurants so instead of wanting to go all the way downtown, why don’t they come to us instead,” explains Burke. “On one side of us we have JC’s, a sort of greasy spoon that every small town has. And then across the square we have Vince [Thomascik] at Warren’s. We’re kind of filling the niche right in the middle.”
The Smith is on schedule to open on October 19.