MEDINA — A steady rain didn’t put a damper on the opening of Serenite Restaurant and Culinary Institute.
Serenite founder Brandon Chrostowski said the restaurant in the former Medina Steakhouse and Saloon, 538 W. Liberty St., had about 25 reservations for its opening night, which exceeded his expectations.
The restaurant is based on a brasserie, a French restaurant with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
“You can eat, drink and be merry,” Chrostowski said earlier Thursday. “We do it in a very unpretentious way.”
The menu features escargot and a charcuterie plate featuring terrine and cured meats with olives, cornichons and toast points.
Those looking to dress up their steak or lobster tail can select a traditional French sauce to pair with their meal. Choices include a rich butter sauce made with tarragon vinegar and shallots, and a cognac cream sauce with demi-glaze and green peppercorns.
“We have a charcuterie our chef makes in house that’s very special. Our frog legs, you can see, it’s very classic,” Chrostowski said.
Diner Gerri Johnson said she just quit her job, and she and her husband, Larry, decided to celebrate at Serenite.
“We have been to the restaurant that was here before and saw this building was closed for a long time and we knew the restaurant was coming in,” she said. “We thought we would try it.”
Clevelander Tina Hovan and her mom, Carol, said they were invited to dinner by a friend whose daughter and grandson are working at the restaurant.
“She was telling us all about it and we are really excited,” Tina Hovan said.
The restaurant, in the building leased by the Recovery Center of Medina County, also serves as a culinary institute that teaches members in the recovery community about working in a fine-dining restaurant.
Chrostowski said that while it is great to bring European cuisine to the area, he is most excited about what Serenite can do for individuals in recovery.
It’s “for the ones that need it most in recovery, No. 1.”
Chrostowski is the founder and CEO of nonprofit Edwins Leadership & Restaurant Institute, 13101 Shaker Square, Cleveland. The program gives adults who were incarcerated an opportunity to learn and work in the hospitality industry.
Serenite is a full-service restaurant that seats 60 people and includes a cocktail menu and wine list with more than 100 choices.
The decision to serve alcohol in a recovery center has met some opposition. Medina City Council this week passed a resolution against transferring the liquor license from Medina Steakhouse Inc. to Serenite.
Chrostowski, however, said fine dining includes alcohol, and those working at the restaurant who are in recovery will learn skills that can take them beyond working at a typical chain restaurant.
For information, visit sereniterestauruant.com.
Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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