It’s been a while, I know. Between work and PlayhouseSquare’s Partners board kicking into high gear, I haven’t had time (or residual energy) to blog here.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t been blogging. I’ve been busy the past couple of months over on PR Newswire’s Beyond Bylines blog. (If you’re a blogger, feel free to check out a few of my recent blogging tip articles here, here and here.)
All of this has meant a lot of late nights and working through lunch. I’m not complaining, though. Ever since Urban Farmer opened in the Westin attached to my office building, I have a delicious and terribly convenient go-to for a late after-work dinner or happy hour.
Scott and I have worked in the Penton Media Building for eight years and with the exception of the occasional restaurant in the Galleria like Winks, dinner near work usually meant walking to PlayhouseSquare or E4th Street. Especially if we were in the mood for something special.
Although that 15-minute walk isn’t the worst, I sometimes think twice about it when it’s February and a few feet of snow or ice coat the ground.
With Urban Farmer, the trip consists of one elevator ride and a short walk down the hallway into the Westin.
It’s not only the convenience that makes Urban Farmer amazing.
From a blogger dinner a couple months ago to numerous happy hours and lunch meetings, Scott and I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring their menus. Scott even picked Urban Farmer as his birthday splurge for the year — and there were no complaints from me about having to go there again.
Here are my five favorite picks when I eat there:
For Lunch: The roasted pork bbq sandwich. One of the best sandwiches I’ve had. Wonderful BBQ flavor, juicy. The brussels slaw really complements it. While I’ve heard wonderful things about their fries from Scott, my recommendation is to go with their salad for your side. Always delicious with seasonal vegetables and quinoa on top.
For Happy Hour: This is my favorite time to go to Urban Farmer. I recommend sitting in the lounge seating instead of at bar. You’ll have table service and still enjoy the happy hour specials.
To drink, try a salted honey beer for $5. This drink is perfect — gin, pilsner, lemon and a honey rim. I wish that it was on their regular dinner drinks menu.
Pair that with: their deviled eggs topped with a large chunk of house bacon and maple; their bangers and mash dish with chicken cherry sausage and potato puree; and the bbq pork shoulder, shrimp and grits. Three fantastic small plates that range in the $5-$7 range.
For a Special Occasion: Go ahead and splurge. Urban Farmer’s steak selection rivals some restaurants’ wine menus. If you can’t make up your mind, go with the New York Steak Tasting (6 oz each of White Oak grass-fed, Creekstone corn-fed and Ohio Proud twenty-one day dry aged).
For the Non-Steak Fan: Although Urban Farmer really shines at steaks, they offer excellent pork, chicken and fish dishes. I actually went with a flounder special for Scott’s birthday and as someone who grew up eating fresh flounder we had just caught off a boat, this dish blew me away. I also love pairing a couple first courses and sides, such as the lobster, tomato, avocado, and verjus sorbet, their prime beef tartare, or creamed spinach gratin.
Save Room for Dessert: I never save room for dessert. Sweets are great, but I’d rather another serving of oysters instead. Not at Urban Farmer. Ever since they served their Great Lakes Barley Custard at the blogger dinner, I’ve been hooked. It’s a mild flavor with an undertone of hops. And to top it off, a crunchy honeycomb.
In addition to their food, I love disappearing into Urban Farmer’s beautiful surroundings after a long day. The restaurant designer has created an atmosphere that perfectly encapsulates the Urban Farmer name.
While of course it feels like a posh restaurant you’d find in any city – be it Cleveland, Philly or New York, there are elements that make you instantly comfortable like you’re sitting down to dinner with friends in a warm, comfortable farmhouse.
And although the restaurant isn’t actually that large, it feels huge with at least 4 or 5 interconnected spaces, all a little unique in their decor to one another.
I love it because there’s a level of familiarity whenever I dine there, but I also feel like I see the restaurant with fresh eyes each time. Which is good, because I plan on dining there a lot.
Urban Farmer is open seven days a week at the Westin in downtown Cleveland. They offer breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner Monday-Friday. On the weekends, join them for brunch and dinner.
If you’re looking for a special way to celebrate New Year’s Eve or Day, join them for dinner on the 31st before heading out to your NYE party (dinner will be served til 11pm) or enjoy a hearty brunch on January 1.
Disclosure: I attended a dinner for bloggers a few months ago at Urban Farmer, but have visited the restaurant a few times since to get a feel for the rest of the restaurant and their other dishes. All opinions are 100% my own.