Creative Cocktails to Celebrate the Season

Tis the Season

It’s the perfect time of year to try something new and luxurious; to treat yourself to a delicious cocktail that’s made with seasonally inspired ingredients prepared fresh in our kitchen.

That’s why we’re so excited to have Scott Bishop, our new Restaurant Manager in charge of beverages, leading the way to create the best cocktail menu in Cleveland. 

Bishop returned to Urban Farmer after some time in California, where he worked as a food and beverage director in Palm Springs. “I realized Cleveland was home,” he said. “I missed the seasons.”

Bishop offers some insight into his new role and our winter craft cocktail menu: 

What did you want to accomplish with this cocktail menu?

We wanted to create bold cocktails to invite guests to get out of their comfort zone.

Also, with these cocktails, it’s all about the senses: When guests put the cocktail up to their noses, they smell the cinnamon, for example, and it reminds them of wintertime.

Where did you get the inspiration for these drinks?

Our bartenders worked side-by-side with our chefs in the kitchen to create and determine the ingredients. We tried to include a fine line of seasonal ingredients such as root vegetables, fennel and beets. We sort of explored the kind of “geeky” craft cocktail side of things.

What motivates you to create “wow” cocktails? 

Food and beverage for me is kind of the same as music: When I hear a certain song, it takes me to a certain part of my life. When I walk into Urban Farmer, it feels Cleveland. The smells, look and feel takes me back home.

Tell us about the ingredients used for your beverage menu.

With this menu, we used more items from the kitchen: We’re using fennel, beets and

we made our own Chai Mix for “Live & Let Chai.” It feels warm even though it’s a cold martini. Also, we stayed true to local vineyards by featuring a Ferrante dessert wine and even created our own beet shrub. 

What about some of the cocktail names such as Fennel Flip, Winter Blues and Live & Let Chai?

I’ve empowered the bartenders to thrive in their own creativity and have fun. When I describe drinks to people, I want people to get thirsty when they think about them.

What if guests want to skip the alcohol?

That’s becoming a bigger and bigger trend: non-alcoholic cocktails. And we’re right on it. We have a non-alcoholic cocktail list. I know some people call them “mocktails” but I prefer to call them “Zero Proof cocktails.” Either way, they’re satisfying and delicious.

What if guests don’t want to try something new and instead desire an old favorite?

Of course! Our bartenders are just as good at making traditional cocktails as our new creations. We still have guest favorites such as Smokin Barrels (bourbon), Magmarita (tequila) and Farmer No. 5 (vodka).

What can guests look forward to with you leading the beverage selections at Urban Farmer? 

More local influence and creativity. We’ll always be one step ahead of the Cleveland scene. We want to be the most eclectic one in the market.

View Urban Farmer’s full beverage menu here: Drinks

It’s Holiday Pie Time

Holiday Pies are Always a Scrumptious Ending to a Special Meal Thanksgiving means turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, but it also means pie. Lots of delicious, fresh pie. At Urban Farmer, we like to bake traditional holiday pies and also show our thanks to one of our local partners, Refugee Response. Refugee Response, which helps refugees build a foundation for a new life, is the force behind the Ohio City Farm in Cleveland, where we get some of our produce. It’s part of our commitment to local and supporting our community. From November 1st-21st, we’ll hold our annual holiday pie sale to benefit Refugee Response. For purchase will be traditional favorites such as pumpkin and apple as well as Pecan and French Silk. Our pastry chef Kara Swortchek will lead the pie-making. The tradition of making holiday pies is meaningful to her. “They bring back a lot of good memories,” she said. Though she’s had it many times, pumpkin pie remains her favorite. All of our pies are made from scratch, hand rolled, cut and filled with ingredients that do not contain artificial preservatives or colors. We are happy to take special requests and we make gluten-free pies, too. To order, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/myevent?eid=79041074983

Turkey, Trimmings and Prime Rib: Our Thanksgiving Feast To-Go

Fall is here and that means turkey, trimmings and holiday fun are coming up. 

We’re excited to again offer our special to-go Thanksgiving feast, prepared by our professional chefs and delivered to you. You don’t even have to get out of your car!

Our Thanksgiving Curbside kicks off this week, and we’re delighted this year to donate a portion of the proceeds to Cleveland’s Malachi House, which compassionately provides end-of-life care to terminally ill people with limited or no financial resources. We’ll also donate a Thanksgiving meal to the residents and volunteers on Thanksgiving Day.

If you want to relax and avoid the fuss of cooking at the holidays – and support a good cause – consider ordering our Thanksgiving Curbside feast that serves 6-8 people. You simply order online and then pull up to our front door on Thanksgiving morning, and we’ll deliver a hot meal to your car.

The meal includes:

  • Turkey
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Green beans
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Potatoes
  • Rolls
  • Pumpkin Pie

If you’re a red-meat lover, we offer a Prime Rib, Au Jus, option, too. And if you’d rather skip the meat all together, we’re serving a vegetarian option: Roasted Vegetable Wellington with an array of vegetables.

Deadline to order Thanksgiving Curbside meals is Thursday, Nov. 21, by 6 p.m., which is one week before Thanksgiving. Pick-up is 10:30-2:30 Thanksgiving Day. To order and see details of our full Thanksgiving Curbside offerings, visit our opens in a new windowEventbrite page.

A Passion for Cakes

Urban Farmer Pastry chef whips up delicious, creative cakes for any special occasion

Any guest who has saved room for dessert or celebrated a special occasion at Urban Farmer knows it’s worth the wait for pastry chef Kara Swortchek’s scrumptious cakes.

Baking has been a part of her life since she was a child.

“I’ve always enjoyed baking from a young age and inherited a talent from both sides of my family,” Swortchek said. “I made Slovakian treats with my Grandpa Swortchek and mastered many ‘secret’ family recipes with my mom, grandma and great aunts.”

She still can’t reveal those secret recipes, but she can say they led to many wonderful hours making Kolachi, nut and poppy seed rolls, potato candy and cookies.

What drew her to the art of baking was the science and precision of producing many delicious desserts using the same simple ingredients.

Cakes are a particular favorite and she’s produced many great-tasting, creative designs for guests celebrating everything from birthdays to anniversaries to retirements.

Take the calculator cake (pictured below) she created for an accountant’s retirement party. Or the delicately decorated bunny cake (pictured below) for a birthday. The latter elicited this response:

“Besides my wedding cake, this was the best cake that I have ever had in my life and I am 73 years old!” the birthday celebrant said.

Swortchek said she gets her inspiration for her designs from photos and nature and also explores the Internet searching for all kinds of creative cake designs and new techniques to try.

She’s deftly handled requests for cakes depicting sunset sailing and a princess unicorn castle.

Sometimes the cakes take only a few hours to prepare. Other times it can be a week before the final touches are put on a special cake. A fondant topper or figure takes longer because it needs to dry before being assembled, for example.

Even away from Urban Farmer’s kitchen, she likes to bake, especially for her cousins, nieces and nephews who come up with some of her funnier requests, including a Robot cake, a chocolate horse and VW Bug and Cuckoo Clock cakes.

If you have a request for a cake for your next special occasion, we’d love to hear from you. Contact Barbara Gantous at Urban Farmer at Barbara.gantous@sagerestaurantgroup.com or 440-730-4250.

Dinner in the Dark Returns for a Summer Evening of Eclectic Dining

Dinner in the Dark is back at Urban Farmer, and with it comes great food, great chefs and a little bit of mystery.

As is tradition for this popular Cleveland dining event, the six participating chefs and their dishes are not revealed until guests arrive that evening. But history shows it promises to be a great lineup, and it always benefits a local charity selected by the participating chefs.

It is the third time we’ve hosted Dinner in the Dark and we’re excited to welcome the event back on Monday, Aug. 12. To get ready for the evening, we checked in with “Dinner in the Dark” co-creators Jeff Jarrett and Brian Okin:

Q. Dinner in the Dark has earned quite the following in Cleveland. What do you think is the appeal? What do guests tell you they like about it?

A: I think what guests enjoy the most is that it supports a local charity and gives them the opportunity to basically eat in six different restaurants the same night and sample those chefs’ fare.

Q. What do chefs tell you they like about it?

A. They like that it gives them an opportunity to showcase themselves and their restaurant while also getting to network with other chefs.

Q. What’s your goal each time presenting a Dinner in the Dark?

A. First and foremost, it is to raise money for a local charity. Second is to showcase the host restaurant. They have opened their doors to us. We want to be able to get 70-80 people there who will hopefully return and be a patron.

Q. This is your third Dinner in the Dark at Urban Famer. What do you like about their venue/setting?

A. It is a great location with a beautiful and spacious dining room, plenty of space for the chefs to work and [Urban Farmer executive chef] Vishu and his staff are always organized and professional, for just an overall great experience for the guests.

Q. Can you share a lasting memory/story or two from a Dinner in the Dark?

A. Dinner in the Dark has had the opportunity to cook at the world-famous James Beard House [in New York City] twice, taking what we do to another much bigger market.

Q. If someone has never been to the Dinner, what’s your message to invite them there and try it?

A. Just take the leap! It is a fun-filled culinary event that benefits a worthy local charity. And where else can you eat food from six different chefs in one night?