Restaurant to Open in Historic Rockefeller Building
Cleveland Heights resident Michael Adams to open Rockefeller's Feb. 1
Michael Adams prioritized preserving the original features of the space soon to be Rockefeller's restaurant in the historic Heights Rockefeller Building on Lee Boulevard and Mayfield Road.
The prep room is housed in an old bank vault. The architectural details, for the most part, remain unchanged.
"I didn't want to make a lot of modifications that would take away from its historical reference," Adams said.
He even paid homage to developer John D. Rockefeller Jr., who constructed the building in 1930 according to the owner's website, when choosing to name the new dining spot set to open Feb. 1.
The second selling point for Adams, an attorney-turned-restaurateur, was the location.
"I was hooked on this location to open the restaurant at first sight," said Adams, a Cleveland Heights resident. "This building allows me to stay local, use local employees and help the city economically."
The restaurant has two sides, and the first to open is the lounge and bar area.
Menu items include appetizers such as "calamari cilantro," and "cheese and meat olives," Adams said. Although starters like potato skins and chicken wings didn't make the list, prices will be reasonable, he said.
An upscale dining area will be added eventually, and will offer different dishes than the lounge side.
Adams has focused on staffing the past few weeks to ensure that he and executive chef Jill Vedaa surround themselves with great employees. They delayed the opening to look for staff that will put customer service first.
"It's best to take your time to find the right people in order to help make your dining experience a pleasant one," Adams said.
Vedaa chimed in and said, "The food can be amazing, but if it's brought to you with attitude, that will be the last thing you remember."
Adams leaves menu and wine design and development to Vedaa, whose resume includes Cleveland venues such as Lola and Flying Fig.
Her goal is to deliver food tempting to the palate without overwhelming the taste buds, she said, and to buy locally.
"It's an eclectic menu with something for everyone," said Vedaa, who lives in Lakewood.
"The vendors for food products — dairy, meat and produce — are all local."