Three years ago, Nate Lobas and Jonah Oryszak took a chance on a 150 year-old spot in an inner-ring neighborhood on Cleveland's west side. If the area gentrified as they hoped, their restaurant would be a cornerstone of the new scene.
It helps, of course, to have a talented, well-known chef on the team. Lobas and Oryszak nabbed executive chef Brett Sawyer to head up the culinary side of what would become The Plum Café & Kitchen.
Sawyer came to the new partnership from the kitchen of James Beard Award winner (Best Chef: Great Lakes) Jonathon Sawyer (no relation), chef/owner of the Greenhouse Tavern and Trentina restaurants in Cleveland.
The plum is an intimate, 50-seat farm-to-table restaurant that's centered around an exposed brick chimney that runs the height of the two-story dining room. Bold yellow wallpaper marks the entryway, but in the spare and serene dining room, the sole nod to color is a blush-hued banquette. A new wall of windows overlooks a patio and a curved bar is clad in clean white subway tile.
At lunch, the Plum’s menu emphasizes adventurous sandwiches and salads, including a Ploughman’s Lunch, with sour ham, sharp cheddar, seasonal pickles, cultured butter and a 45-minute egg ($9). At dinner, attention-grabbling offerings include starters like fried chickenrones—puffed chicken skins with sea salt and hot sauce ($4) and main courses such whole fried Lake Erie white bass with whey braised greens and rice porridge ($18).
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