Cleveland Heights-Based Rib Cage to Expand to Ohio City


The Hill Family
  • The Hill Family
Since 2012, the Rib Cage (2214 Lee Rd., 216-321-RIBS) in the Cedar-Lee District of Cleveland Heights has been dishing up hearty Southern-styled barbecue smoked on site in a custom-built brick smokehouse. Owner Robert Hill, along with sons Robert, Ronnell and Brandon, has built up a loyal following for his restaurant’s slow-smoked brisket, ribs and chicken, all of which is served up in a relaxed saloon setting.

Next up for Team Hill is an Ohio City outpost.

“We have customers up here that come from Ohio City all the time, and for years they’ve been telling me to come to the west side – and so here we are,” says Hill.

The Rib Cage will take over the spot most recently occupied by Orale Contemporary Mexican (1834 West 25th St.), which closed its restaurant operations a year and a half ago. Orale maintains a separate kitchen for its catering business and West Side Market stand. The turnkey property could be up and running sometime in April, Hill estimates.

In advance of the opening, Hill says that modifications and improvements will be made to the Cleveland Heights smoker, which currently flies through a cord of cherry wood per week. All meats will be smoked out east, with items destined for Ohio City getting bundled up in insulated coolers for reliable storage and transport.

“Because we’re going to be smoking 24 hours a day, the customer will be getting the exact same thing that they’re getting here,” Hill explains.

In addition to smoked meat dinners built around brisket, half chickens, turkey ribs, spare ribs, baby back ribs, pulled pork and chicken wings, there are a variety of sandwiches. A range of sauces includes Carolina mustard-vinegar, spicy bbq, Jamaican jerk and sweet Thai chili. The Rib Cage also prepares fried, grilled or blackened fish dinners made from tilapia, perch and catfish, and sides like candied yams, red beans and rice, bourbon baked beans, collard greens, mac and cheese, and fresh-cut fries. To start, there are rib tips, alligator bites and fried green tomatoes.

Rib Cage will have a full bar.

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