CLEVELAND — Partners Andrew Watts and Vinnie Cimino have spent the past year converting the former Lola Bistro space on East 4th Street in Cleveland into Cordelia, which welcomed its first guests last week. The two are industry veterans with bold, often whimsical ideas and the chops to pull them off.
Before guests even cross the threshold, they are beckoned by attractive faux-vintage signage that points the way. Inside, a completely reimagined interior offers diners a new perspective on a familiar old space. The original terrazzo flooring at the entrance has been uncovered and highlighted. Behind the bar, Lola’s “wall of wine” has been removed and the original early 20th-century brickwork exposed.
The footprint of the original bar has been expanded, now a roomy 20-stool wraparound bar that nudges right up to the front window, which now opens to the sidewalk patio. A 12-seat communal table has been installed in the center of the bar area.
Sure to catch diners’ attention, a feature wall is adorned with photos of local celebrities who span the professional sports and entertainment spectrum. Another section shines a spotlight on Cleveland’s best chefs.
Named for Watts’ great-grandmother, Cordelia puts hospitality at the forefront, an approach they’re calling “Midwest Nice.” To complement that “Midwest Nice” hospitality, Cimino has devised a style of cuisine that he calls “Modern Grandma,” which reimagines familiar Midwest classics that many of us grew up enjoying.
Diners can look forward to build-your-own snack platters starring items like whipped farmer’s cheese with honey and fermented garlic, chicharrones with za’atar honey dust, and carrot muhammara and hazelnut dukkah. In place of the ubiquitous bread basket, the menu offers playful dishes such as “tongue on toast, beef tartare, and fish toast with caviar.
Vegetarian plates include grilled cucumbers pickled feta, fried watermelon with vegan ranch, and fat noodles with ricotta and wild garlic. For the main event, there is popcorn chicken livers with maple mustard, smoked beef carpaccio with yogurt and waffle chips, fried chicken with pimento butter, and bone-in pork belly with sarsaparilla beurre blanc.
Check out Cordelia's menu for yourself.
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