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New in Town: Jason Mikell visits The Executive Grille at Cleveland's East Tech High School

Inside the CMSD campus, you'll find a welcoming restaurant perfect for lunch.

CLEVELAND — Inside the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's East Tech High School campus, you'll find a welcoming restaurant perfect for lunch: The Executive Grille: run by students enrolled in the district's Cleveland Culinary Arts program.

'"When you come in, our menu is pretty cozy, lunch friendly, but also a little sophisticated at the same time," Executive Chef Jonathan Gardner said. "We try to make everything house made as possible."

Garner may be the "executive" chef here at the Executive Grille, but his role extends far beyond the kitchen — it also goes into the classroom

"[We are] a career program with culinary arts here on East Tech campus," he explained. "We have six career programs; we're one of them, and so we do a full-scale training of restaurant service in the hospitality industry."

Students here learn everything from food safety to service to knife skills and pairings. 

"We just make sure we want them to be a well-balanced chef in person and as a whole," Gardner added.

The Executive Grille is the program's beautiful and brand new space, housed in the former pool at East Tech. Here, they have space for classrooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen, and a dining room that is open for lunch  

"This program has been in effect for 26 years," Gardner told us. "We started an original location at Jane Adams Business Career Center about 26 years ago, and once they decided to close Jane Adams as [an] educational facility, East Tech opened their arms to us and we began on this project."

It's not only a culinary incubator; it’s also a place to display the hard work of other CMSD students and programs.

"We have a beautiful mural made by Cleveland School of Arts to help bring everything together in the dining room and everything pretty much in the dining room is a different collab of different people," Gardner said.

The restaurant's salad bar is stocked by the district's urban agriculture program, and the flower arrangements are made by horticulture students and displayed in vases 3D-printed by the district's robotic's team. I had the chance to sample some of the items on the menu, including the onion rings, Buffalonian flatbread, and spicy chicken wrap, with some help from student Dontez Hayes.

The Executive Grille is open to the public for lunch on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on the East Technical campus. Reservations are required, and you can get them by calling (216) 838- 2433.

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