Although Northeast Ohio's dining scene is the toast of the country these days, one local organization has been furthering the best interests of the area's independent restaurants for years. Cleveland Independents represents more than 90 locally owned restaurants that've earned national acclaim, local accolades, numerous awards and a devoted following.
The organization's reach is as expansive as the varied member restaurants, from the homey vibe of owner Greg Jurcisin's Beach Club Bistro in Euclid to the seasonal, classic cuisine of chef Michael Mariola at City Square Steakhouse in Wooster; from chef/owners Scott and Brenda Kim's SASA in Shaker Square to Tartine's bistro chic in Rocky River; from the Larchmere neighborhood gem Felice Urban Café to chef Michael Annandono's mastery of northern Italian cuisine at Michaelangelo's in Little Italy; from the eclectic showcase of local ingredients at chef Matthew Mathlage's Light Bistro in Ohio City to the Mediterranean cool of Marlin Kaplan's Luxe Kitchen & Lounge in Detroit Shoreway's Gordon Square Arts District. It's a fitting collection for members and an organization whose mantra is "Eat. Drink. Local."
“We’re so incredibly fortunate that our customers are invested in our restaurants and our organization,” says Cleveland Independents’ president, and fire food and drink owner Douglas Katz. “There’s an excitement and a loyalty about independent restaurants in northeast Ohio that truly has become contagious.”
On January 20, Cleveland Independents and its impressive roster of member restaurants will give back to those loyal patrons with the first quarterly gift certificate sale of 2011. All member restaurants commit to offer thirteen $50 gift certificates for $35 or twenty-six $25 certificates for $17.50. Now in its seventh year, the promotion is among the organization's most popular, with area culinary enthusiasts eagerly waiting for the quick selling certificates to go live on www.clevelandindependents.com. "Each year, the most popular restaurants' certificates go very fast," says Cleveland Independents spokesperson Myra Orenstein. "Last year, all fire [food and drink's] gift certificates sold out in about three minutes." [pictured left: steak au poivre from Tartine Bistro / photo by Ken Mengay]
In another year, Cleveland Independents posted certificates for sale at 3:00 am and 60 percent were sold by 4:00 am, according to Orenstein. The region's gastronomic enthusiasm means procrastination is not an option.
The exact time when the gift certificates will go on sale is kept secret, but they will be available on January 20 at www.clevelandindependents.com.