Owners Frank and Malisse Sinito strategically combine their Italian heritage with the history of the region in Lockkeepers, their architecturally-stunning restaurant overlooking the Cuyahoga River a short distance from downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
Location: 8001 Rockside Road, Valley View, Ohio
Menu: For both lunch and dinner, Lockkeepers offers an enticing array of appetizers, soups, salads, pastas (made in-house daily), and entrees featuring beef, chicken, and seafood. All dishes are prepared to be pleasing to the eye as well as to the palate. The charcuterie board and beef carpaccio are particularly colorful and delightfully presented. The menu changes seasonally, but diners can expect fresh, original and delicious dishes whenever they visit.
When I visited for dinner, I enjoyed the fried calamari, the heirloom tomato salad and the lasagna, thick with cheese, sauce and delicate layers of pasta. Others at my table chose scallops, salmon and steak. The Tomahawk Pork Chop brought a huge smile to the guest across from me who ordered it. He said, “Now THAT’S a pork chop!”
For dessert, we ordered one of each listed on the menu, so we could sample small tastes. Canneloni, tiramasu, and housemade gelato would make any Italian cook proud, but the Campfire Brownie, a very glorified S’More, got the most attention and hearty approval.
Thoughts: Lockkeepers, with its elegant setting, extensive wine list, outstanding cuisine, and attentive service, is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion or have a splurge-worthy meal with friends. The culinary staff members are skilled in ways that make a winning team. Executive Chef Alberto Leandri is from Venice. He brings with him all of the secrets to exceptional Italian flavors and preparations. Chef de Cuisine Brandon Veres is a native Clevelander who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York. He understands what will please diners in this part of the country. Executive Pastry Chef Rachel Rozsa is from St. Paul, Minnesota. Interestingly, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in visual arts and ceramics from School of the Art Institute in Chicago before she discovered her love for baking and creating sweets. Her keen eye no doubt contributes greatly to the visual feasts that diners enjoy.
For an unforgettable touch, I would suggest making reservations for the Sommelier Room. The table seats 12, and the room is gorgeous. A glass partition overlooks the dining room below. There are plenty of spaces throughout the property that can be configured for various events with seating for up to 155 people. Understandably, Lockkeepers is very popular for wedding rehearsal dinners and receptions. The culinary staff has an extensive catering menu. Entire Thanksgiving meals can be picked up and taken home, so you can serve 10 guests without having to turn on your own oven. Colorful, tasty cookies trays can also be ordered for other holidays.
The chefs are often featured in newspaper articles and on local television segments. They are engaging and very generous about sharing their tips and cooking suggestions. The locals know that Lockkeepers is a perfect place to enjoy dinner before heading to Blossom Music Center for a summer performance of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Just so you know, a lockkeeper is someone who maintains a lock along a canal or river by keeping it in good working order and raising and lowering the water levels when necessary. Oftentimes, the lockkeeper would live near his job site. Lockkeepers, the restaurant, is well-named because of its history and position by the river.
Price range: First courses are $9-15. Soups and salads are $5-16. Pastas are $13-24. Lunch entrees are $13-23. Dinner entrees are $20-45. Desserts are $5-10.
Connie's book "Telling It On The Mountain: 52 Days in the Life of an Unlikely Missionary" was published in 2016 and is available on Amazon.In addition to her blog, www.theregoesconnie.com, she is a regular contributor to The Yums,Trip101.com, MilesGeek.com, Epicurean-Traveler.com, ShortWeeks-LongWeekends.com and other print and online travel publications.
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