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The Hotel Cleveland is a storied property, and this is its next chapter.

Historic Hotel Cleveland builds on history of hospitality with restaurant refreshes

Massive renovation, including two new restaurants, writes newest chapter for iconic property

Now that the dust has settled from a $90 million renovation and restoration of Hotel Cleveland in Ohio, the property is both recapturing its former glory as well as moving into the future. As a new member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the hotel counts many state-of-the-art updates, including two new restaurants designed to embrace the spirit of Cleveland: Maker and Mowrey’s

Maker has become a popular spot for lunch, happy hour, and dinner, featuring chic décor, bespoke lamps with vintage riverfront images, and a massive green crystal chandelier. The restaurant menu offers small plates, shareable dishes, and imaginative entrees, along with draft cocktails and alcohol-free options. Mowrey's, located nearby, serves American-style breakfast with Cleveland twists and offers private dining experiences. The restaurant’s name is a nod to a 19th century tavern and inn that previously occupied the site.

Living up to the legacy

The Hotel Cleveland, which originally opened in 1918, has hosted numerous prominent figures, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Duke Ellington, Charles Lindbergh, Harry Truman, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Using NFC code medallion technology, guests can engage with historic imagery and artwork, connecting to significant moments in the city's and nation's history. For instance, during The Beatles' 1964 stay, police had to manage mobs of fans surrounding the hotel.

Maker and Mowrey’s are now part of the latest chapter in the Hotel Cleveland history books and carry the torch for the modern era. Keenly focused on handcrafted and local ingredients, Maker uses local purveyors and creates menu items from scratch whenever possible. The team wanted to create an environment that was relaxed but upscale, where groups of locals, corporate groups, and solo travelers would be equally at home.

“We also wanted to honor the tradition and stories of the city and this historic building,” Kim Romance, director of sales and marketing at Hotel Cleveland, said. “A fussy fine-dining restaurant would not capture the spirit of Cleveland’s dynamic culinary scene, nor would it best serve our guests who really want to get to know the city and its interesting vibe.”

Covering all meal periods with Cleveland flavor

 Maker and Mowrey complement one another, with Cleveland-focused menu items taking center stage at both. From noon to midnight, Maker focuses on creative sharable and entrée-sized dishes and desserts as well as culinary-focused cocktails, while Mowery’s, open from 6 a.m. to noon, offers primarily breakfast.

At Mowrey’s, the best-selling breaking dish so far has been the Orchard Crunch French Toast, which is served with local maple syrup, said Ann Marie Heinz, Hotel Cleveland’s director of operations.

“Our lemon ricotta cornmeal waffle is our other best seller,” she said. “It features that same incredible real local maple syrup, along with local berries while they’re in season.”

Cleveland is on the shore of Lake Erie, known as the “walleye capital of the world,” and Maker’s most popular sharable dish is the walleye cakes, made from the local freshwater fish. Heinz said the most-ordered entrée dish at Maker is the wagyu bavette steak (also known as flap steak).

"This little-known cut is incredibly flavorful and tender, served on a bed of lightly spiced mushrooms and leeks with a whipped horseradish cream and fries,” Heinz said, adding that the ricotta almond cake has been well-received for its rich, dense almond-scented cake and creamy icing, topped with a sheet of white chocolate and a fresh strawberry.  

Maker’s most popular cocktail so far is the Kon Tiki, a nod to the popular Kon Tiki restaurant that was in the hotel in the 1960s. The libation is crafted with agave spirits from Cleveland’s Western Reserve Distillery.

 Hotel Cleveland plans to modify the menus seasonally, taking advantage of the agricultural resources found in Ohio’s rich farmland, Heinz said.

“And we’re always excited to feature great local ingredients and purveyors, including our city’s outstanding brewers and distillers.”

Customizing fresh, surprising banquets

The refreshed Hotel Cleveland features 59,000 square feet of meeting space, including 30 distinctive spaces and three ballrooms, one of which is the largest Marriott ballroom in Ohio at 22,590 square feet. None of the items from the restaurant menus are duplicated on Hotel Cleveland’s banquet/group dining menu.

“So many of the group meeting and event attendees stay with us and enjoy dining or having drinks at Maker and Mowery’s, so we wanted to make sure those experiences are fresh and surprising for them,” Romance said. “However, our chef and event sales and planning teams welcome the opportunity to create custom, locally influenced menus for groups and add special dishes or ingredients based on client input. Often, our guests who are planning large social events such as weddings have a dish, an ingredient or cocktail that has a special personal connection for them and we love to make those events extra meaningful for our guests.”

Tad Wilkes is a writer and editor in the hotel food and beverage industry.

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