This May, Sage Restaurant Group (SRG), the Denver-based independent restaurant group dedicated to creating experiences where food, drink, and inspired design meet and mix, introduces its second Urban Farmer Steakhouse in downtown Cleveland. Originating in Portland, the Cleveland iteration is uniquely inspired by the city’s indigenous community, sourcing ingredients from Midwest farmers and featuring a décor that incorporates the works of local artisans.
“One of many things I love about Clevelanders is their unshakeable pride for their city,” says Peter Karpinski, co-founder and COO of SRG. “For this reason, we knew the local touch points that the Urban Farmer brand is known for would really resonate in this community – and I could not be more excited to introduce the SRG brand to the city’s incredibly rich culinary scene.”
Urban Farmer Cleveland’s seasonally-driven menu highlights nose-to-tail cuts of naturally-raised meat, carefully curated by Executive Chef Brad Cecchi and Culinary Director of the Urban Farmer brand, Matt Christianson. Steaks are butchered and dry-aged in-house. Selections include Wagyu Ribeye from Nebraska; a Butcher’s Cut of Creekstone Flatiron from Kansas; and an Ohio Proud Twenty-One Day Dry Aged New York Steak. Non-beef options are equally delicious and include the Hudson Valley Duck Breast with coriander, buttered radish, and apple; and the Great Lakes Walleye Pike with parsley root puree, peas, and black garlic. The steakhouse boasts a 12-seat, communal charcuterie station designed as an interactive and educational space for guests to ‘meet their meat.’
Several soul-nurturing sides accompany the entrees, including a Twice Baked Fingerling Potato Tart with aged cheddar, bacon, and chives; Charred Carrots with pesto and caraway crumble; and Popcorn Grits with poached egg and espelette. Diners will also find a Roaming Cheese Cart displaying a variety of high-pedigree cheeses, from funky to refined, served tableside. The cart is meant to showcase the scope and prestige of artisanal, domestic cheeses available locally. Post-supper sweets include Whoopie Pies filled with chocolate buttercream and finished with freshly whipped cream and house made chocolate kisses; a Butterscotch Sundae with a warm brown butter Blondie, cherries, praline, and toffee chip ice cream; and a selection of rotating House Made Ice Creams and Sorbets.
Early risers can enjoy breakfast options including Eggs Benedicts with either shaved ham, avocado, or White Oak grass fed sirloin, all served on Urban Farmer’s house made English muffin; the Grilled Flat Iron Steak and Eggs with sausage gravy, and crispy breakfast potatoes; and Buttermilk Pancakes paired with Ohio maple syrup, blackberry compote, and lemon marmalade.
Urban Farmer’s downtown location makes it a popular destination for the post-work happy hour crowd, who will find an expansive beverage program to complement the fresh and seasonal menu. Nearby craft breweries like Great Lakes Brewing Co. are prominently featured, alongside locally-sourced wines. Cocktails range from completely modern to updated riffs on the classics. Examples include the Farmer #3 with Hangar One Straight, Saint Germain, honey, and grapefruit; and the classic Summer Manhattan with George Dickle Rye, and rhubarb bitters.
The 5,950 square-foot, rural-chic space seats up to 255 guests between its dining and pantry area, private dining room, bar and lounge, charcuterie station, and street-side outdoor dining area.
“The experience begins at the restaurant entrance, which is marked by a four-story sign inspired by 20th century neon industrial signage and a faded two-story mural on the building's exterior, all reminiscent of early rural style,” explains designer David Ashen of dash design. “It continues as you enter the main dining area, where a series of videos commissioned by artist and filmmaker Matt McCormick capture Cleveland's lakefront landscape and create a happening 'sense of place' for the restaurant's visitors."
Other design highlights include: a theatrical open kitchen; blackboards to outline where the food and drink was sourced; and an intriguing mix of decor, including large chicken wire chandeliers and an eclectic blend of vintage carpets and furniture. Urban Farmer also boasts a bar and lounge wrapped with reclaimed wood from local barns, soaring 20-foot ceilings and a wall of glass that looks out onto the street. Paintings and photographs from country artists of the last century adorn the space and add interest.