MOCA & Trentina Community Chandelier Project

A few months back the Chef and I took the kids to a family night at MOCA. We made mobiles to add to one giant mobile that would be made up of everyone's. It was so much fun and such a great way to spend a cold winter night. When the design talks began for Trentina I couldn't help but be inspired by that fun night. The Chef and I really want the community to feel like they are part of Trentina and when I found a chandelier that seemed to fit perfectly for the space I came up with an idea.


What if our community built an art installation that could be viewed year round at the restaurant? I called up Nicole at MOCA and ran my idea by her. She loved it and the planning began. I am so very, very excited to announce that MOCA & Trentina will be building art together over the next month. We would love it if you could join us for the:

INTERMISSION: Community Chandelier Project

Sparkle for your hometown at MOCA this spring. Members from the community are invited to hand make a beaded chandelier for Trentina, an Amelia and Chef Jonathon Sawyer restaurant opening soon in the heart of University Circle. MOCA is partnering with these museum members to design a dramatic chandelier that will be the centerpiece of the dining room. No special skills or specific amount of time is required. Drop by MOCA on any of the project days to contribute. Each individual will receive one colored bead to symbolize their participation.

When the chandelier is complete, color beads will represent the entire community who came out to show their hometown love. 

This activity is FREE and open to all on MOCA's Free First Floor and takes place daily from February 23 through March 9, then on weekends in March through April 13.

Please visit the welcome desk when you arrive to pick up your colored bead.

MOCA Cleveland’s hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11–5 pm; open until 9 pm Thursdays; closed Mondays.

Restaurant Trentina Kickstarter

For me 2014 is all about positivity. The past is exactly that, the past. No point in looking back, only forward for Team Sawyer. The Chef and I are thrilled that our dream project Restaurant Trentina has gotten it's wings and is ready to take off. Believe me, the journey to this point hasn't been easy. Great things never are I suppose.

We launched our kickstarter for Resturant Trentina on Friday and I am happy to share it here with you my friends who have followed me on this crazy journey I call life for the past 10 years. We packed the kickstarter full of some really rad rewards and we well be eternally grateful with any of your support. 

video by Rasul K. Welch


It's Just a Restaurant

The Atrium at The Cleveland Museum of Art

I worked from the illustrious art museum yesterday. The atrium space is so incredible I try to spend at least one day a week there. It's hard not to be inspired in it's vast beauty.  As I began organizing and answering my emails accumulated after being gone a week, I happened upon a conversation going on next to me. 

At first I thought it was a restaurant manager conducting an interview. As their conversation continued (they were literally a foot away and it's quite impossible for me to not listen to restaurant garb) I realized that they were speaking about the previous nights service. I went about my work, 300 emails won't answer themselves you know, and then heard the manager ask the girl to say the magic words. Intrigued, I listened in and heard him say:

"It's just a restaurant" 

"It's just a restaurant. Remember that." 

I wanted to jump from my chair and strangle him while shouting "it's not just a restaurant! It's not just a restaurant!" 

It's someone's life. 

It's someone's blood. 

It's someone's tears. 

It's hours and days spent away from families. 

It's art. 

It's happiness. 

It's hard. 

It's a place that gives jobs to many in a city that has fallen on hard economic times.  

It's a lifestyle. 

It's a career. 

It's home to the hardest working people you'll ever meet.  

It's a space for community and togetherness. 

It's where genius is born.  

It's my home. 

It's not just a restaurant.  

I know that there is a stigma associated with working in a restaurant. There shouldn't be but there is. The service industry is hard but so worth it. I have watched many people grow into something strong and amazing. I have seen genius born and I have seen strength like no other. The magic words shouldn't be "it's just a restaurant," they should be

"This is a restaurant, stand proud. "


Puff People

I never set out to be in public relations.

I went to business school solely on the belief that no matter what I did it would involve travel and bizness. After spending a few years working the event planning nightclub circuit in Manhattan I knew I had a knack for pr. It was easy for me to drum up press based on what I thought was cool and before too long I had my hands full of public relations bliss.

When we moved back to Cleveland to open The Greenhouse Tavern I had planned to stay home with the minis and host part time. Before we opened I began promoting the restaurant on Facebook and a blog I ran for the Chef. I spoke about our time before we opened and I began to use social media as a tool to promote the Chef, our lives, and our restaurant. We had planned on hiring a publicist at the beginning stages but ultimately decided against it after we saw the $7,000 a month fee. I decided that I would immerse myself in public relations side of our business and have been doing it ever since.

So you can imagine my disdain when I saw this lovely comment posted on an article about the Chef being a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: Great Lakes.

When I see comments like this I get extremely irritated.  The Chef works quite hard for the accolades he receives and anyone who thinks he doesn't has obviously never met him.

I too work hard at what I do.

Not only am I raising 2 kids on my own 80% of the time but I am also working for the restaurants and my husband's career. I do not have a nanny (mind you I would kill for one) nor do I have an assistant or staff. It's all me.

I am the mother fucking publicist. 

Which is why I thought responding to good 'ol Cleve-Wonk. was necessary...

By the way Cleve-Wonk, these guys aren't 'decent' chefs as you so delicately put it. They are GREAT chefs. Hence the accolades...


Noodlekids Build Your Own Noodlebowl

Build Your Own Noodlebowl with Chef Sawyer & the minis

Tomorrow the Chef, the minis, and myself are hosting a

Noodlekids Build Your Own Noodlebowl

at Noodlecat. We love doing this event with the kids and since we started it last year, it has been a favorite event for many Cleveland families. There are stil a few spots open and we would love to see your smiling faces. Call 216-589-0007 to reserve your families spot today. xo

Today Was a Good Day

Today the Chef became a Semi Finalist for The James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: Great Lakes.


We launched our Tavern Vinegar Co. website (that I totally designed!!) last week and have sold out of all of our red wine, lemon beer vinegar, garlic beer & garum vinegar.


Speaking of Tavern Vinegar, the Wall Street Journal kind of likes it and we are totally crushing on the WSJ.


The New York TImes

Another crush that the Chef happens to have that is really more like an infatuation is reading the  New York Times Dining section. He is religious about every single week. Even though he will never admit it (well maybe after a few Manhattans), I know secretly it's always been a dream of his to see his name in print in his favorite newspaper. Dream accomplished Chef Sawyer. Dream mother freekin' accomplished.  


After yesterday's soul searching/ soul baring I kinda feel like something in our universe aligned.

Today was a good day. 


The past few months, not excluding this one, have been emotionally draining. We've made some serious changes in what we want our future to look like. That being said, our relationship has taken the brunt of the stress that comes along with making life changing decisions. Not knowing what to do next can be a daunting thing and I think the Chef and I have both been at a loss. 

We have plans. I mean, we have lots of plans. Having plans is having the confidence & means to move forward.

Recently we discovered that our plans have changed and our desires have shifted. We have figured out quite quickly that happiness for us does not mean 10 restaurants in the same city. It doesn't mean replicating an idea just because we can, and it definitely doesn't mean moving into a space we don't love just because someone printed in a newspaper that we were. The Chef and I ride our own wave and for a millisecond we fell off of our board trying to make other people happy before ourselves. 

Chef vs. Cappuccino

And then today happened. We spent the morning hours together drinking head sized cappuccinos & writing a book proposal. We sat in a coffee shop the same way we did in the early days of opening our restaurant. As we finished the proposal we both seemed to know that it was time to change our path. We threw out the pomp & circumstance, pulled back the curtain, and left the coffee shop in search of a simpler life.  


Yesterday news broke on various food sites that a new kind of card would soon be available to the general public. The ReviewerCard is a black card that can be purchased for $100 and if you flash it to a restaurant owner/chef/server you are telling them that the meal they are cooking for you will undoubtedly be reviewed on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or UrbanSpoon. When flashed, the card is supposed to evoke a response from the restaurant of preferential treatment in the form of free or discounted items. 

To me, this sounds like a threat.

As a restaurant owner I know how much these review sites can sting. I know how many people LOVE to post bogus & unfair reviews. I read and respond to them daily (about 20% ever respond back) and frankly I don't have a whole lot of respect for the majority of 'reviewers.' The ReviewerCard embraces what is wrong with these review sites. It exploits the relationship between guest & restaurant and sounds a little bit like extortion to me. Give me free food or get a bad review. That's what this card says to me. 

A simple and effective response to this kind of extortion is easy:

Don't accept the ReviewerCard at your restaurant, hotel, service business, etc.

If someone flashes their ReviewerCard refuse their business. Sure they might write a bad review on Yelp but anyone who reads a review based on the fact that they didn't get preferential treatment becuase they flashed a stupid card will know how DUMB said review/reviewer actually is.

Stand up for your business and your right NOT to be the victim of a shakedown. 

We Do NOT Accept the ReviewerCard

Fuck this guy. Fuck the ReviewerCard.

What do  you think of this card? Extortion? Harmless? I would love to hear your insight.