We all have restaurants that are our restaurants. The go-to places. Places where we can sit back, relax, have a good meal and see a few familiar smiling faces. Growing up in Solon, The American Tavern was that place for me (still like to go there for lunch from time to time). These places may not necessarily be foodie restaurants (and not every restaurant has to be). But there’s just something about them – something that gets us coming back for more.
Burntwood Tavern in Chagrin Falls has all the makings to become that restaurant for us. Granted, we have only been twice so far, but from our initial visit – before we even ordered - we knew we’d be back several times over.
The restaurant itself is small, but boasts a mighty big atmosphere. The owner, Bret Adams, spent several months completely transforming this space (his first restaurant, though he has been working in restaurants since he was a teenager) into a cozy rustic-chic cabin you might find out west (he worked with Chris Kalinyak at Processed Art). I can’t say enough good things about this space – they really did a tremendous job with it. It’s especially ideal this time of the year (and even more so as it starts to…snow).
Our initial visit was on behalf of Metromix. Here’s part of the review or you can read the full story here.
Restaurants continue to pop up in Chagrin Falls, with the latest just up the road from Main Street, though just as quaint and charming as the heart of the village. Burntwood Tavern, the rustic chic restaurant that opened in the former Chag-Town space, will no doubt become a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Food: As the name implies, Burntwood Tavern serves bar food—upscale bar food to be exact. The menu, created by chef Ryan Scanlon (most recently with Olivor Twist in Willoughby), is comprised into hearty starters, salads and sandwiches—all reasonably-priced.
On our visit, we started off with the calamari with cherry peppers and pomodoro sauce ($9), a house specialty, and beer-battered fish sticks with jalapeño tartar sauce ($7). The calamari was nice, but nothing particularly special about this dish versus similar offerings at just about any other restaurant. The fish sticks on the other hand, quickly became the table’s favorite. Nicely-sized, crunchy and quite flavorful, this take on a childhood favorite is the perfect starter (though it’s large enough to be a main course, too). We can only assume the fish sandwich and fish and chips dinner platter are just as good and therefore can see Burntwood become a go-to during fish fry season.
For dinner, the smoked prime rib tavern dip sandwich with au jus, Swiss cheese, horseradish sauce and fries ($10) caught our eye plus the cedar planked salmon with roasted tomato vinaigrette, sugar snap peas and blistered asparagus ($18).
Generous portions continue with these two dishes. The hearty sandwich was tender and quite satisfying. The salmon was also enjoyable, though a little shy on seasoning, (mostly missed was a little kosher salt). The two sides were cooked beautifully, particularly the sugar snap peas, and in fact gone before the salmon.
Rounding out the menu are a couple pastas, roasted chicken, New York strip, smoked pork chops and even a brinner option (breakfast for dinner) of eggs, bacon and hash browns.
Libations: The wine list is small but mighty (13 whites, 14 reds). And the best part—all options are available by the glass as well as bottle. If you’re partial to full-bodied reds, we recommend a glass of the Sketchbook cabernet ($12 glass/$42 bottle).
The restaurant owner, Bret Adams, and chef, infuse all their own vodka (they make all their own pickles and vinegars, too). You can try any number of the vodkas off their fun cocktail menu, like the Jack & Jill with muddled blueberries, lemon and blueberry vodka, or Pear of Cucs with pear vodka, lime and cucumber slices. Or try something different like a twist on a classic with AJ’s Rumrunner, black cherry rum, pineapple juice and a splash of coconut milk.
Décor: A major 18 week-plus renovation took place to transform this restaurant. You can tell a lot of heart and time went into this space. From the outside in, you feel like you’re hanging out in a rustic lodge somewhere out west. Amish barns were taken apart and used for everything from the entrance doors, to framing the mirrors, floors, the bar and ceiling beams giving the place a nice weathered look. The bar area features a large stone fireplace and small seating area for pre-and-post dinner drinks. The low ceiling in the main dining room makes for an intimate and cozy dining experience. Weather permitting, there’s a small patio out front with oversized chairs and couches. Our only complaint with this incredibly well-done space is the small parking lot that surrounds it (which can cause potential parking issues during peak hours).