With Memorial Day this weekend, the “unofficial start of summer” is here. But a few restaurants got an early start over the last couple of weeks as they have begun opening up their patios.
When it comes to dining and drinking al fresco, E. 4th Street is one of my favorite places in Cleveland. And like many of the restaurants in the neighborhood, The Greenhouse Tavern has offered outdoor seating on the street for a while.
However, one of the city’s most celebrated restaurants is opening up a second outdoor space this summer and had a kick off party last weekend to celebrate.
Starting in mid-July, Greenhouse Tavern’s newly constructed rooftop patio will open to the public. When it opens, restaurant guests will not only have an additional bar to enjoy, but also an excellent view of E4th and an enjoyable way to forget Cleveland winters.
This past Sunday, Greenhouse opened up the space early for a Rooftop Beach Party. The party revolved around art work from photographer Billy Delfs’ Cleveland surfers series. Scott and I went (how could you say no to a $20 ticket price that included food and drinks!) and had a fantastic time taking in the festivities.
As soon as we got there, we enjoyed a complimentary glass of “Hang Ten Punch.” Made specially for the party, it featured 360 Mandarin Orange Vodka, Pineapple Juice, Cranberry, and a splash of club soda. I loved the color and it had a refreshing, effervescent taste – perfect for getting the party started.
Heading over to the grill, we sampled a few servings of Teriyaki Spamwiches with pickled pineapple and Coconut Fruit Salad. Up until Sunday night the only thing I’ve ever liked about spam is the Monty Python sketch.
However, Greenhouse Tavern has converted me. Cooked on the grill and garnished with some teriyaki sauce, these sandwiches were delicious! The fruit salad complemented the sandwich with melon, berries and coconut.
As much as we enjoyed the sandwiches and salad, Scott and I knew to save room because grilling next to the spam were the heads of the suckling pig they were cooking up. Squeamish guests may have wanted to avert their eyes, but once the pig was ready to go – it was tender and so flavorful. They also put together a selection of sauce to accompany the pig including Korean BBQ, Pineapple Hot Sauce or Sweet Chili and Garlic Sauce.
Coconut Polenta and Sweet Potato Hash with roasted Brussel Sprouts offered non-meat pairings that were just as savory. For a second time that evening, Greenhouse converted me on a dish I used to not like – debunking once and for all my childhood misconception that brussel sprouts are gross. The Sweet Potato and Brussel Sprouts were actually my favorite dish of the entire evening.
While we enjoyed Greenhouse’s delicious take on summer fare, we enjoyed live music from Beach Stav. They offered up some surf rock as well as a kicking rendition of the Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop.
After Sunday’s party, I can’t wait for the rooftop patio to open up full time. Even though they’re still putting the finishing touches on it, it’s already proven itself to be an excellent space for enjoying summer in Downtown Cleveland.
With a mix of wood, stone and metal, it was both a comfortable and urban environment. Additionally, the rooftop view offered prime real estate for people watching.
Scott and I grabbed a couple chairs overlooking E 4th and looked on as Indians fans celebrated the win over the Reds, audience members emptied out of Hilarities after a show and couples enjoyed an end-of-weekend date.
As Greenhouse gears up to open the rooftop patio to the public, there will be the occasional event like last weekend’s beach party. For instance, Greenhouse is hosting a Service Industry night in the space on the 29th. In the meantime, though, there is still so much more to enjoy about Greenhouse – from their use of local, delicious food to being the first certified green restaurant in Ohio. Personally, I am counting down the days til I’ll be back in a couple weeks for an anniversary lunch at work.
Greenhouse Tavern 411: