Farmer Lee Jones, far right, of the Chef’s Garden in Huron, OH, welcomes the leaders of Sage Restaurant Group, including Urban Farmer Portland executive chef Matt Christianson, left to right, Urban Farmer Cleveland g.m. Troy Christian, senior v.p. of operations David Marsh, corporate chef Michael Carr-Turnbough and co-founder and c.o.o. Peter Karpinski.
Karpinski samples some micro greens at the Chef’s Garden. He arrived in town the night before and is visiting local farmers and artisanal producers to potentially source products for the new restaurant.
Marsh and Carr-Turnbough taste some specialty lettuce from Jones’ business and family farm that sells to some of the industry’s biggest names.
From Huron, the group drives 90 miles east to Hiram and visits Mackenzie Creamery, an artisanal producer of goat cheese. Urban Farmer Cleveland will feature a cheese cart and don’t be surprised to see Mackenzie’s “Baby Buche” on it. Christianson, Marsh and Karpinski sample several different flavors.
Karpinski chats with lamb farmer Ben Calkins at Great American Lamb Company in Newbury, OH, about 20 miles north of Hiram.
The team returns to a couple apartments several of the group had rented and the chefs—Christianson and Carr-Turnbough—go to work preparing all the samples they gathered during the week. Christian is first in line to taste their handiwork.
The samples include beef and pork the group gathered at different farms the day before Karpinski arrived. They’ve already ordered 10 heritage breed hogs from the one they liked best.
The next morning Karpinski gets a tour of the construction site with the project manager overseeing the massive hotel and restaurant project. Workers race to finish the exterior before the weather turns. The main entrance to the restaurant is in the opening on the left side of the building.
This opening behind the materials is the doorway to the restaurant from the hotel lobby. Having access and coordination from the hotel side of the project are huge advantages for Sage Restaurant Group, which is a part of Sage Hospitality, the company redeveloping the entire building.
After seeing the project, the Sage crew visits the Westside Market in Cleveland and then gets a tour of Caruso’s Coffee in Brecksville from Dominic Caruso. They're consider some of the company’s top blends and might even partner to create their own Urban Farmer flavor.