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WKYC-TV Story: Cleveland Chefs Getting National Press

October 12, 2009

This story ran on WKYC-TV.  You can see the video of the story here.

CLEVELAND — From the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune to Esquire Magazine, Cleveland-area chefs are getting high praise and attention.

Many food critics believe that when Tremont’s own Michael Symon became an international celebrity as the “Iron Chef,” his fame helped pump up the food scene for all of Cleveland.

Many talented local chefs decided to move home and open their own restaurants. Today, from Tremont to East 4th Street and across town to Shaker Square and Little Italy, there are major pockets of culinary excellence all across the city.

Down on East 4th Street, chef Jonathon Sawyer is getting major buzz about his Greenhouse Tavern.

Sawyer said, “We chose East 4th because it gave us a good opportunity to preach about what we believe in. The keys are great local food coming from great local cooks in a great local location.”

The food critics across the country are taking notice of Cleveland.
For months now, headline after headline, article after article, food writers have begun to extol the amazing food scene in Cleveland.

Even Cav’s superstar Shaquille O’Neal raved about his dinner at Lago Restaurant in Tremont last week. He sent out this tweet to more than two million people: “Lagos is the best Italian restaurant in Cleveland. Wow! The lasagna is off da chain.”

In the Tremont neighborhood, chef-restaurant owners say they love the energy and the friendly competition.

Lago owner Chef Fabio Salerno said, “Michael Symon put us on the map over here and that’s made a big difference and gave us an international spotlight.”

Chef Rocco Whalen, owner of “Fahrenheit,” said, “I think the best food in Cleveland is in Tremont. I am biased.

Whalen added, “People know that they can walk from great restaurant to great restaurant here. There is so much to choose from and I think it’s good for all of us.”

Sitting near the lobby of his Lolita Restaurant, owner-chef Michael Symon said, “To me, Tremont is what started dining as it’s known in Cleveland now.”

Symon added, “When I see a Rocco and Fabio succeed and Jonathon down at the Greenhouse Tavern, that makes me ecstatic. I am so proud of what we are creating in Cleveland.”

At Positively Cleveland, Tammy Brown helps to promote Cleveland across the country.

Brown said, “There are so many pieces and parts that have all come together to make culinary tourism a real goldmine for Cleveland.”

Brown added, “When we bring food writers and travel editors here to visit, they all rave about the dining experience in Cleveland. The energy keeps building, too.”

“You know that, for its size, Cleveland has a tremendous amount of home-grown local chefs,” said Chef Michael Symon.

“We all have a great impact on the food scene here,” added Symon. “I think the food critics are getting the message.”

© 2009 WKYC-TV

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