Friday, August 29, 2014

Tim Bando: Balance, the new success

When I first interviewed Tim Bando, he was at a precipice. He had come to the realization that his definition of success needed to change – not because success had eluded him in Tremont (Theory), New York City (Tremont), or the Hamptons (Meeting House), but because the cost of success was too great. It took the shock of his wife picking up and moving back to Cleveland with their children for that epiphany to occur. He had to modify his definition of success to “balance.” It is a daily pursuit.

After my initial meeting with him on that cold December morning, I was satisfied with his reasons for returning to Cleveland in 2012. His wife wanted to be closer to her family and he wanted more realistic hours, nothing too drastic. The brutal hours are a common complaint. It wasn’t until I was back at my desk organizing my notes when my phone rang. It was Tim. He proceeded to tell me his story. Bando, like many others in the industry, was battling addiction. He wanted to go on record – not only as part of his own healing process, but also to raise awareness of one of the real dangers in the industry. It also reminded me of a conversation I had years ago with a restaurateur who has since relocated, who said, “you’re young and at the end of your shift you have a lot of cash. If you want trouble, it’ll find you.” 

Since that original article was published, Bando has transformed Deagan’s Kitchen & Bar in Lakewood into a successful venture, created the menu and opened Humble Wine Bar just down Detroit Road from Deagan’s, and went on to do the same for The Standard on the east side. As I drove to Chagrin Falls to meet him recently, I couldn’t help remembering his emphatic proclamation at our first meeting: Tim Bando wasn’t interested in opening his own place. Grove Hill, Bando’s new restaurant, located in the old Raintree space, has been open for six weeks now. Take from that what you will. I figured it was a good time to check in.

Grove Hill
Grove Hill, Dining Room
He was running a little late. I wandered into a side door that was left open by a service repairman who appeared to be working on the HVAC system. The transformation isn’t dramatic, but it’s done in such a way that has preserved all that was good while stripping away the years of wear-and-tear it endured. Raintree was there so long that it had become woven into the very fabric of Chagrin Falls’ culture. The tables are lined with white butcher paper, brightening the room while giving the tables a polished look. The walls have been freshly painted a warm gray with black trim. Two of the original clocks adorn the dining and bar areas. There’s also a painting of Tim’s wife as a young girl on the wall in the bar. The painting sets up the family friendly vibe, confirmed by his children’s menu. The main menu is nicely casual, offering American dishes with Mediterranean influences. He is also offering a variety of oysters. For the most part, the décor still relies on the original bones of the space. The arched, wood-trimmed mirrors in the main dining room and the bi-level bar area remain the most dominant architectural features. The bar itself is where most of the renovations occurred. Notably, they repurposed an area within the dining room to be used as a private dinning space. It can easily accommodate a party of twelve.

Grove Hill, Bar

Grove Hill, Private Party Room
Enter Bando. He’s simultaneously talking to his FOH manager and the workers, and apologizing to me for his tardiness; it’s as if a mild cyclone has entered the room. He immediately starts obsessing about a Yelp review, one negative in a sea of positive reviews. A review he already knows he should not have read. We sit at the bar with the afternoon light streaming in. I ask him how his first weekend of brunch service went. “It was good. We wanted to ease into it so we didn’t make a big announcement about it. Now that we have that experience behind us, we’re ready to get the word out. We’ve enjoyed a great reception since our open. It took longer than I thought it would to get open and we went over budget.” He adds the last part almost in jest. Again he brings up reviews. “The critical reviews have all been positive. I wish I could focus on those and block this one out,” Bando says. He tried to contact the review’s writer, but as of last Monday he hadn’t been able to make the connection. I try to set him at ease by mentioning that most chefs simply don’t read Yelp reviews. But since I’m all too aware that this is this same obsessive nature that leads most chefs to triumph, I let it go. Even though I’d love to ask if he’d consider reading his Yelp reviews on camera.

Chef Tim Bando in front of a painting of his wife as a child
“Grove Hill is most like Meeting House,” he explains, citing his place in Amagansett. “A casual bar, relaxed dining room. We offer five-to-seven varieties of oysters, which come in three-or-four times a week.” He also offers a 45-dollar dry-aged ribeye from Pat La Frieda, which is served with wild mushroom hash, roasted cipollini onions and salsa verde. “I’m not fucking putting mashed potatoes on the menu,” Bando declares. He goes on to mention he’s been experiencing more substitution requests out in the suburbs “We do the best we can to substitute based on the ingredients on hand. I’m not going to 86 a dish to allow someone a side that will be needed for another. An up-charge may be incurred – it depends on what they want to sub,” Bando explains. Evidently, this has been more of an issue than he would like. He’s also considering adding a late night menu featuring a cheese program and oysters for people coming home from social engagements.

Despite these minor protestations, he is quick to mention how well things have gone for him since opening – largely due to the fact that among his 30 employees are many veterans of the industry People he has known and trusted for years. They help him run his 130-seat restaurant with an additional 16 seats at the bar, eight more in the window and 24 on the riser. Things have worked out.

When asked what advice he might have for young people who want to pursue a career in the culinary industry, he immediately chimes in with “choose another profession.” He also recommended, “work with the best people in the industry. People you want to emulate. It takes time to become a Sous Chef but it is that relentless repetition and practice that will get you there. Too many are bored too quickly. It takes time to develop talent.” In a bittersweet moment he says, “if I had gone to culinary school at 18, I might very well be retired by now.” He doesn’t want the job of babysitter. He sees his role as that of a supervisor. “Applying constant, gentle pressure to get them up to speed. You can’t let anything go.” I get the general impression that being a chef means sweating the small stuff.

I asked what he thought about Cleveland’s prospects and he was hopeful, adding this caveat: “We’re not Chicago and we’re not New York City. The sooner we recognize that, the sooner we can move on with the business of realizing Cleveland’s potential.” He also worries we may be hitting critical mass in restaurants. “Consumers will decide which restaurants will make it and the frustrating reality is that restaurants with fine culinary programs are not guaranteed success.”

Finally, I wanted to be indulged in one last Tim Bando story, since he is also a skillful raconteur. I asked him what the craziest thing that’s happened to him while on shift. He recounted this adventure: “I’m working at Avanzare in Chicago and we witnessed someone stealing wallets from unsuspecting patrons at the bar. He was reaching inside ladies’ handbags that were draped across the back of the bar stools. We called the authorities but before they could get there, he made a dash for it. We trapped him inside the revolving doors until the cops could get there.” That’s the kind of quick-on-your-feet thinking that is expected of chefs every day.

I mention that I continue to recieve positive feedback regarding the initial published article. Bando adds, “Since then several people in the industry faced with similar problems have contacted me seeking help and advice. I’ve been given the biggest second chance of my life. We’ve all settled into our new routine.” There is balance. 

Grove Hill Restaurant
25 Pleasant Drive
Chagrin Falls, OH 44022


Prices: $$

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Welcome to Ninja City

Ninja City opens its doors today with a loud emphatic “kaboom!” The comic book creation that began to take shape in Bac Nguyen’s imagination in the 80s has been realized with fantastic design, brick, mortar, duct work, steel, graffiti, hip-hop music and an arcade game. It is a joint venture with business partner Dylan Fallon. The soft opening Tuesday night was frequented by many of the two partners’ pals, industry friends and family. You felt the celebratory spirit the second you walked through the door. As they say, there is no better compliment than to be respected by your peers. Everyone was happy to celebrate and witness this moment. You may already know Bac as the chef/owner of Bac Asian American Bistro & Bar in Tremont, which has been operating for four years now.

Ohio City loves Ninja City

Tremont love for Ninja City

Ninja City is a brilliant concept for the University Circle area. In the old Boarding House location — back when cream of mushroom soup (and I don’t mean oyster, chanterelles or morel mushrooms either) was considered “new and exotic.” Ninja City is actually a great example of how far we’ve come. Can you imagine how much better your college years would have been with decent ramen and comfort food? And, as an added bonus you get to enjoy it in a back-to-the future retrospective of the 80s — an amalgam of comic book, hip-hop and video games — all taking you back to a time when “Everybody was Kung fu fighting.”

Ninja City’s fun-tastic logo was designed by Aaron Sechrist, who, along with Designer Jude Goergen, are responsible for the restaurant’s successful look. As you enter from Euclid Avenue, the space is divided into two levels: the lower barroom with some high tops, and a dining room on the second level with four tops. Both areas account for about 80 seats, including the 30-seat bar. There is a garage door facing Euclid that opens up the space, weather permitting, and another 15-20 seats on the sidewalk patio. Fans and wire lighting add the perfect industrial accent, and by “industrial” I mean a factory of fun, complete with arcade game and great food and drink. As Paul Benner of Platform Brewery succinctly summarized Tuesday night, “Just enjoying some wet drinks and killer grub.”

Ninja City Soft Open 9.12.14

Ninja City Soft Open 9.12.14

Ninja City Soft Open 9.12.14

Ninja City Soft Open 9.12.14

Ninja City Soft Open 9.12.14

The fun and casual environment extends to the menu. Similar to Happy Dog and Barrio, there are menu pads to check-off your selections. In every other way, Ninja City is a full-service restaurant. There are three main divisions on the menu: Little Bites, Big Bites and Build-Your-Own Big Bites, where you build your own Banh Mi, Bowl or Buns. There are eleven Little Bite choices. They can be purchased on their own or as a build-your-own bento box combo with three or four choices. We selected a Bento Box with Spring Roll, Gyoza Dumplings, Sweet Potato Tempura Fries and Bacon Guacamole. We also shared a bowl of soul-soothing Chicken Ramen from a list of six Big Bite options and a build-your-own Banh Mi. The Chicken Ramen was all the comfort anyone could want on a cool, rainy summer night. It came layered with veggie miso broth, poached chicken breast, napa cabbage, seaweed, sesame seeds and scallions. We selected pork, cucumber, cilantro. spicy kim chi, scallions and peanuts with lime aioli for our banh mi. As we enjoyed our meal at the bar we talked to many of the guests. Our neighbors who sat to the right of us work at Porco Lounge & Tiki Room, and they graciously allowed us to photograph their eye-catching Bacon & Egg Ramen which consists of pork miso broth, smoked pork belly, fried egg, spicy kim chi, seaweed, sesame seeds and chili aioli. It’s the first thing I will order on my next visit.

Ninja City Bento Box

Ninja City Chicken Ramen

Ninja City Chicken Ramen and Banh Mi

Ninja City Banh Mi 

Ninja City Bacon & Egg Ramen

Similar to his place in Tremont, all of the selections are a fusion of Asian/American favorites. There wasn’t a missed step in the food or drinks. They’re ready to go. For his part, Bac has experience and heritage on his side: Bac’s family has been in the restaurant business in Cleveland for three generations. His grandmother was instrumental in the opening of Minh Anh and his mother is a partner of Bac in Tremont.

Ninja City’s bar list also packs a “kapow” punch thanks to Christopher Flood, Bac’s Bar Manager. The list includes some of my all-time favorites (17th Parrallel, Lychee Mojito and the Tokyo-Politan) along with some Ninja City newbies and a fine selection of beer, wine and sake. Flood says, “We are highlighting Ohio and Asian beers here.”

Ninja City 17th Parralel

Tokyo-politan and Lychee Mojito

Go and experience a unique 80s back-to-the-future dining experience. You’ll be glad you did. I don't know what the process is to become a permanent resident or citizen of Ninja City, but I’m looking into it.

Ninja City
11311 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106


Prices: $$

Reservations Recommeded

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Eric + Heather Williams: The She & Him of Momocho, The Happy Dog(s), El Carnicero and Jack Flaps

If you follow the local food scene, you’ve no doubt heard of Eric Williams. Eric is chef/owner of Momocho and El Carnicero, and a partner at The Happy Dog(s) and Jack Flaps Urban Breakfast Shoppe. But you may not know his wife — and partner in life and business — Heather Williams. Eric and Heather have been sweethearts since their days at Chanel High School in Bedford. They have a son, Jaxson, who is 11 years of age and is really pushing them to buy a food truck that features deep-fried Oreos. Heather was quietly tending to the bookkeeping when I met with Eric for the first time seven or eight years ago. I couldn’t help but notice her calming presence – just do not mistake her silence for a lack of interest in their business. Heather is Eric’s watchful eye and she constantly brings potential problems to his attention. It may be a front-of-the-house dilemma, a problem with how a dish is plated, a spot on a wall that needs to be touched up … Heather notices everything. “She goes through all of the receipts, which means there are three sets of eyes on them,” Eric said. “Without Heather taking care of everything at home I wouldn’t be able to remain focused on our business 24/7.” It is an arrangement that has led to great success.

Eric + Heather Williams
Eric worked in a variety of kitchens for nearly 15 years before opening Momocho in March of 2006, including the kitchens of some of Cleveland’s all-time notables. At Lopez y Gonzalez, he learned from arguably the foremost authority on modern Mexican-American cuisine in the country, Rick Bayless. (Bayless was originally hired by owners Craig Summers and Brad Friedlander as a menu consultant and was a visible presence during Lopez y Gonzalez’s first few years of operation.) That is also where he met Nolan Konkoski and Molly Smith (co-owners of SOHO Kitchen & Bar in Ohio City). Nolan became his Sous Chef at Momocho and Molly, his Bar Manager. (The incestuous nature of Cleveland’s restaurant history really should be mapped out like they do with ancestral trees at some point. It is a fascinating history.) Eric also worked at Cleveland PM, Maria’s Roman Room, Pete & Dewey’s Planet (he created one of my favorite dishes there, the BBQ Chicken Pizza), Napa Valley Grill, Johnny Mango, and Keka (where he worked for Susan Walters, who is set to open Cha Spirits and Pizza Kitchen in the Battery Park Wine Bar space, and where he met Michael Symon and Tim Bando). He joined The Happy Dog as a consultant in October of 2009, becoming a sweat equity partner shortly thereafter. El Carnicero was added to their collection in July of 2013, and Jack Flaps in December of that same year. Recently, Eric was excited to announce “Momocho will be providing food on Saturday nights to Platform Beer Company,” Ohio City’s newest brewery. They are also about to add another feather to their hat: The Happy Dog is weeks away from opening a second location in the legendary Euclid Tavern space in University Circle.

Eric Williams

As regulars at Lopez y Gonzalez, we anticipated Momocho with great interest once we learned Eric was opening his own spot. We were impressed not only with the food and execution, but with how Eric interacted with his staff and the Ohio City neighborhood. I remember sitting on the patio one summer evening when, at 10:00 pm, the music outside stopped. I asked Eric what happened. “My neighbors need their quiet time.” That sort of thoughtfulness is the essence of the hospitality business. It can be taught but it comes naturally to Williams. When asked to define his job he jokingly explains, “At this point, my job is probably 90% management and 10% food related. My first priority is problem solving. Second, I’m a professional babysitter and adult counselor. Lastly, I’m a chef. My level of involvement once the menu is set at a restaurant is to oversee and consult on menu changes, fill-in if a chef calls off, and plan special events.” It hasn’t always been easy in the past eight years. Certainly, one of the most trying times came this past year with the death of Sean Kilbane, part owner and founder of The Happy Dog. “We all sense a different dynamic,” Williams says. “We didn’t experience any decline in business since Sean’s death but our staff became closer, more cohesive and determined. We all came out of it stronger and more resolved to see Sean’s vision of a successful music venue through.” Another major adjustment in the past year was learning to adapt to a new and different customer base in Lakewood. Considering the community turnout at El Carnicero’s first year anniversary party, I’d say they’ve figured it out.

Best part of  being an owner, you can go rouge on the menu and order the Lemon Curd at Jack Flaps on a waffle

At 43 years of age, Eric will be in charge of a staff of 200 employees once The Happy Dog (East) opens. When asked how he goes about selecting his impressive team, he answered, “I run ads on Craigslist and I make it perfectly clear, no wallflowers or cell phone junkies need apply (gulp).” There are 32 staff members at Momocho, 39 at El Carnicero, 42 at Happy Dog, eight at Jack Flaps and there will be 50 at The Happy Dog in University Circle. Eric prefers people who are interested in growing along with him and, to that end, he cross-trains them so that they understand more about the industry than merely their “job.” His staff includes some local industry greats: Mike Smith, General Manager, FOH, Momocho (responsibilities extend to other restaurants); Tom Burke, Corporate Executive Chef, BOH, Momocho, (responsibilities extend to other restaurants); Cristy Shumaker, Assistant General Manager, Momocho (responsibilities extend to other restaurants); Tony Kost, FOH Manager, El Carnicero; Adam Legler, Chef BOH, El Carnicero, Alex Arscham, Chef BOH, El Carnicero; Justin Hearl, Kitchen Manager BOH, El Carnicero; and, many more. Randy Carter started in the kitchen at Momocho and is now part owner of Jack Flaps. Eric says, “Three good examples of the upward mobility I promote are Mike Smith, Cristy Shumaker and Tom Burke, but I rely on all of them.” Just as an example of how responsive his staff can be when needs arise, he mentioned, “I no sooner text them that we will be serving food at Platform Beer Company on Saturday nights and I receive a half dozen texts telling me how they can accommodate the added work load.” There’s a deep sense of trust and respect between Eric and his staff and I happened to witness this one afternoon, when I was at Momocho before-hours for a staff meeting. Everyone’s opinion was welcomed and appreciated as they figured out the best way to accommodate their customers (who were already lining up outside) on yet another evening in one of Ohio City’s busiest and most successful establishments.

Heather Williams

From the Mod Mex cuisine at Momocho and El Carnicero … to the endless ways that one can personalize a hot dog at The Happy Dog … to the eye-opening variety of sweet and savory pancakes and waffles at Jack Flaps … Eric Williams has helped shape Cleveland’s current food scene. Despite his celebrity status, he’s the first to credit Heather with keeping him on point and focused; he’s the hands-on manager who relies on her advice and counsel when it comes to the restaurants they oversee. “She’s my fiercest food critic. But more important, Heather is my sanity. She brings me to solid ground.” So much for the tatted, tough-guy image; Eric’s actually one of the sweetest, kindest and most generous people in the industry. We’ve seen him drive around town delivering popsicles to various kitchen staffs on hot summer nights. And there’s no end to the kindness he shows his staff when it comes to staff outings or parties. He truly loves indulging them and rewarding them for their hard work and loyalty. Williams is also quick to say “yes” when it comes to charities. He will once again participate in this year’s Autism Speaks Event featuring Mario Batali and led by his friend Michael Symon at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s new Central Atrium taking place this Saturday, August 9th.

What appears to be the Williams’ good fortune turns out to be nothing more then a mix of talent, tenacity and tireless toiling … all the usual suspects.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Butcher & the Brewer: Place and Time

The stars align for all of us from time to time. That’s happenstance. But every once in a while, you find yourself at the crossroads of “right time” and “right place.” That’s true serendipity. This is the very intersection where the three owners of The Tremont Taphouse — Jeff Leonard, Chris Lieb, and Jason Workman — happen to be right now, with everything advancing in such a way that it adds to the anticipation and excitement of their new project’s conclusion. It also doesn’t hurt to have Lebron James returning at about the same time you happen to be opening an establishment, the likes of which has not been seen in Cleveland, within one of the most popular dining destinations in the city (like I said: serendipity). In this case, the conclusion is actually going to be its beginning: Butcher and The Brewer, a communal gastropub, is weeks away from becoming the latest entity in the already-popular East 4th Street entertainment district. B&tB will house a new butcher shop, brewery, restaurant, and a bonus cocktail bar/speakeasy (!).

Stairway - Butcher & the Brewer

Diagram of Distillation Process - Butcher & the Brewer
The space has been completely transformed from its previous life as Dredger’s Union, the only recognizable feature being the ornate iron stairwell that takes you to the lower level. Every square inch of the cavernous, 180+ seat eatery is devoted to food or drink. You walk in through the main entrance from 4th Street into the main dining area. Off to the left (north) is the butcher shop where you can browse their selection of fresh meat, and where you’ll be able to grab a quick sandwich or a dog and a brew while you shop. The kitchen area is fitted with just about every kind of oven: conventional, charcoal, gas, stone, etc., and can be found behind the butcher shop. The kitchen also houses a walk-in cooler (with a window) and the dishwashing station. In the main dining room, you have an open view of not only the kitchen — with its open raw oyster bar and food/bar counters — but the gleaming stainless steel distillation tanks along the back wall. The main dining area contains a row of communal tables and high tops; to the right are more banquets and tables for four that can extend to six and more communal tables. And while the lighting, overhead fans, and surface materials (like the galvanized entrance to the butcher shop with chicken wire glass) could probably best be described as “industrial,” there is a warmth and coziness that seems to defy both the industrial tone and voluminous scale of the room.

Distillation Tanks - Butcher & the Brewer

Communal and Four Top Tables - Butcher & the Brewer

Galvanized Metal Door to Butcher Shop - Butcher & Brewer

Overhead Lighting and Fans - Butcher & the Brewer
On the lower level, you’ll find restrooms that can be accessed either by the staircase from another era or by elevator (ADA compliant) and the distillery’s storage tanks. At the onset, B&tB will offer 10 to 12 beer varieties, but once the kegging system is completed their only limit will be the brewer’s imagination. The lower level also houses a massive prep room equipped with a modest-sized freezer (considering the scale of the operation). The emphasis will be on farm-to-table freshness of food, especially when you have your own butcher shop and charcutier. The impressive equipment in this room also includes an oven that is several ovens in one (conventional, convection, steamer etc.,) and is the culinary equivalent of a smart phone. This “smart oven” not only memorizes recipes, it will automatically adjust the cooking time for a double-batch. Same if you substitute an ingredient. It learns and continues to store information as you use it. Incredible. Not to leave any stone unturned, there is also a walled-off private area with its own street entrance, which will serve as a cocktail bar/speakeasy.

Fermentation Tanks - Butcher & the Brewer (Lower Level)

Communal Sink Station - Butcher & the Brewer (Lower Level)

Cocktail Bar/Speakeasy - Butcher & the Brewer (Lower Level)

Smart Oven - Butcher & the Brewer (Lower Level)

As you may have guessed, no one would attempt an enterprise of this magnitude without a stellar crew of field generals all orchestrating their own area of expertise. We begin with the two for which the establishment is named:

• Butcher: Rex Workman (Jason’s brother)
• Brewer: Eric Anderson
• Charcutier: Nate Sieg
• Executive Chef: Jim Blevins
Chef de Cuisine: Mitch Keener
General Manager: Nikki Johnson

Rex Workman, Butcher

Nate Sieg, Charcutier

Nikki Johnson, General Manager and Lisa Newland, Manager

Executive Chef Jim Blevins was gracious enough to grant me an interview and tour. Blevins is a 20+ year veteran of the restaurant business in northeast Ohio. He credits many of the restaurants in which he worked, but he mentioned the training he received at Leo’s in Warren as his solid foundation. The chef/owners at Leo’s were all trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. He went on to work at The Reserve Inn in Hudson (where he met his wife), Blue Canyon, Lola, Downtown 140, and Hodge’s. Blevins recalled that at age 27 he realized he didn’t want to do anything else and became even more determined to succeed in the industry.

Jim Blevins, Executive Chef/Photo by Edsel Little
“As Executive Chef, I see my role as being more like that of an editor of a daily newspaper.” Blevins will oversee a team of chefs as opposed to reporters. His team will include a chef de cuisine, two or three sous chefs, a butcher, a charcutier and a plethora (12-13) of line cooks. Blevins is adamant about wanting to showcase their work and give them credit. He regrets that many people don’t know the names of the people who actually create and cook the food in some of the more popular area restaurants.

“I’ve spent the past two-and-a-half months in Dubick’s test kitchen, figuring out the best process to accommodate the scale of Butcher & the Brewer, the nature of a communal gastropub, with a focus on grazing, menu, portion size, price point, all the while, emphasizing ‘hospitality.’ We’re here to serve our customers needs.” says Blevins. “It all has to come together for it to succeed.” His menu has six categories: Bar Snacks, Cultured & Cured (salume and cheese), Vegetables, Meat & Seafood. Blevins seemed proud to point out,  “I’m most excited about the vegetable dishes we’ve been able to create for our menu. It is an area we spent a lot of time developing and I expect it will be the star of the menu.” Although the food is here to support the beer operation, you would never guess this from the way the owners have equipped and staffed B&tB’s food operation to the nines.

Pickle Taste Test - Butcher & the Brewer
“The plan is to open for dinner in a few weeks with lunch to follow, then to open the store. Our menu will be the same for lunch and dinner,” says Blevins. “Eventually, we will add a brunch menu.” Although the rollout begins in a couple of weeks, they are giving themselves until November for their downstairs to open. It is an ambitious plan unfolding at the perfect time in our city’s downtown development. The butcher shop will have more area residents to rely on since there are more people living downtown than ever before. And, as if East 4th Street needed any more of an impetus, this fall we will see (witness?) the trumpeted return of a sports superstar to the Q.

I’m looking forward to following Butcher & the Brewer’s progress in the coming months — perhaps from one of their very own communal tables.

Chef Jim Blevins photo by Edsel Little