CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio If you are into unique restaurant concepts and like being scared, the owners of The Haunted House Restaurant in Cleveland Heights have created something for you.
The quartet of owners - Ryan Gullatt, Andre Scott, Jeremiah Burks and Chris Thomas - hit on a unique conceptual theme, blending scary movies and good food for the restaurant at the northwest corner of Cedar and S. Taylor roads.
For the former, Gullatt put on his thinking cap. For the latter, they enlisted the menu guidance of celebrity chef Darnell Ferguson.
Scott and Gullatt have known each since high school. And Gullatt, by his admission, is an ideas guy. He started mulling doing something different and came across a concept called SuperChefs, a Louisville-based restaurant with a location near Columbus.
Then it hit him.
We dont have to use super heroes; we can use anything, he said. It can be video games, anime characters, your favorite whatever. I love horror movies. I thought this would be real cool if we base the restaurant off of horror movies. We can call it The Haunted House.
The owners plan to open officially Tuesday, July 20. And posters on the wall, the sound of popcorn popping, the buttery aroma and the movies playing continuously will make folks say: I get it.
No, servers wont be dressed as Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger, but the theme is immediately clear.
Gullatt aka DJ Ryan Wolf of Z107.9 radio is the official Cleveland Browns disc jockey. So you might think he would have hit on a musical concept. But he grew up on horror movies.
" It is a favorite, Gullatt said, along with Freddy Krueger movies, Beetlejuice and Childs Play. Im a horror-movie junkie.
For birthdays, a Purge-themed clip will play, with the siren music leading into Steve Wonders birthday song. You will know someone ordered the Jaws pizza when you hear the ominous cello-playing notes - beh-dum. beh-dum. beh-dum, beh-dum. behdumbehdumbehdum.
The restaurant will keep a couple of elements that will be as traditional as sharp music terrifying audiences in a theater: Free popcorn will be available, with seasonings on tables. And a scary movie always will play on one of the televisions. The Addams Family, the 2019 animated film, played Thursday as servers worked to get the place into shape. (Sports on television and upbeat music also will be on, Gullatt said.)
Gullatt said they were going for fun and different not a typical bar. But they were undecided on the menu.
We didnt have a menu; we didnt know what we were going to make, he said. We didnt know if we were going to be a pizza place, a burger place we had no idea.
Help came in the form of Ferguson of SuperChefs. Gullatt reached out to Ferguson, who has appeared with Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri and other television chefs, and didnt really expect an answer. But one came. Soon, Ferguson was aboard as executive chef who is serving as a consultant of sorts: The menu creations are his.
Hes amazing. When it comes to breakfast, hes one of the top brunch-breakfast people, Gullatt said. Thats why everyone is excited about our brinner. Thats all day.
Brinner - that portmanteau meshing breakfast and dinner includes decadent dishes like The Shaggy - banana pudding, granola-encrusted French toast stuffed with cream cheese and whipped cream and sliced bananas and finished with crme anglaise custard.
Scooby Doo, where are you? Well, if hes in Cleveland Heights, hes probably eating Scooby Snacks a plateful of nachos.
Pennywise a red waffle with fried chicken, over-medium egg, and pepper jack heat drizzle is an offering for those who like to enjoy a meal while ruminating about hideous clowns.
The wonderfully named Nightmare on Elm Street Corn is another nibbler with cotija cheese.
Whats amazing is that the creative juices flowed quickly: From the time of the lease signing until now, it took a lightning quick six months to get the place ready.
The owners could afford to spend their time on the creative concept since the 4,300 square-foot space a former Melt Bar and Grilled - was in pretty good shape. They added booths and put up a couple of walls. Exposed brick gave the aesthetic we were looking for, Gullatt said. They did add film-reel lights, cool overhead bulbs reminiscent of, well, movie reels. Dark blue-painted walls gave way to a vibrant red. A black ceiling adds to the vibe, as does a sleek hanging fireplace that looks like part fireplace, part aquarium.
Patrons will be greeted by flashing marquee-light, framed movie posters. More than 50 photos movie clips, stills, other shots hang on an ante-room wall. Near the ticket booth are posters for Candyman, Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street.
One thing is for sure: Its different, and definitely not boring. No nook is void of the theme. Even in the mens room, Jack Nicholsons maniacal eyes will stare from that pivotal, over-the-edge moment in The Shining.
Weve got a lot of cool elements to make it fun, Gullatt said.
If you go
The Haunted House Restaurant is at 13463 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
Seven televisions hang.
The bar seats 12.
The restaurant has a full liquor license, with an array of craft beers (including suds from Voodoo Brewery, which has a brewpub in Cleveland Heights), wines and liquor. In fact, the menu has seven 51-ounce yes, 51 drinks for $31.99. Eminently shareable, they have names like Creepy Crawlers Mojito, The Thing, King Kong and Candyman.
University Commons shopping center is catty-corner from the restaurant and has some parking available. Most of the parking is on the street, though.
A sign near the kitchen summarizes the theme: Only thing scary is how good the food is.
I am on cleveland.coms life and culture team and cover food, beer, wine and sports-related topics. If you want to see my stories, heres a directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills of WTAM-1100 and I talk food and drink usually at 8:20 a.m. Thursday morning. And tune in at 7:05 a.m. Wednesdays for Beer with Bona and Much, Much More with Munch Bishop on 1350-AM The Gambler. Twitter: @mbona30.
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The Haunted House Restaurant nears opening sneak peek (photos) - cleveland.com
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