I dropped by at Johnny’s Downtown after a meeting this afternoon and ran into Leah Santosuosso, who handles Front-of-House during the day. Santosuosso recently published a book, East Cleveland: Images of America, available at Visible Voice Books in Tremont and other local bookstores, and online at Amazon.com. She is in the midst of reading a fantastic book full of great recipes and inspiration, Painters & Food Renaissance Recipes, and she shared an amazing recipe for veal involtini that is worth the price of the book alone – but the Sanotsuossos know all about how to prepare veal (oh, what I’d give for Vid Lutz’s veal demi-glace recipe.)
When it comes to restaurant pedigree in this town, few can beat Santosuosso. Her grandmother opened Louise’s Garden in 1918 in the very location where Johnny’s on Fulton exists today. The restaurant had the first liquor license issued in the state of Ohio after prohibition – talk about a trailblazing woman! Santosuosso seems to have inherited some of her grandmother’s trailblazing spirit.
Our conversation led me to conclude that she and I need to get together in the next few weeks to talk at length about her family’s restaurant business, her new book and her ideas about her generation’s future in Cleveland.