Zach Bruell is a hardworking and well-known chef and restaurateur in Cleveland with several concepts in town, from fine dining to outdoor burgers, with a seafood restaurant in the works for this summer in the Flats, an area along the Cuyahoga River that’s ripe for a resurgence. Kafeteria, located inside 200 Public Square, is his first foray into the world of corporate dining.
Thai chicken curry noodles are a bright shot of flavor on a winter day. Bruell wanted the menu items to be just as good, just as flavorful as what you’d find at any of his restaurants. “It may not be plated up the same, but the quality is there, and we don’t skimp on portion size,” he says.
Customer service and interaction between staff and diners were focal points for Bruell in the planning phases of Kafeteria, as it is at all of his Cleveland-area restaurants. “I want to be known for service, even more so than food,” he says, adding that he emphasizes to his staff: “Be nice. It’s common sense.”
Kafeteria quickly became popular with employees in the building after opening last January. Soon, people from the surrounding area caught on, too—no small feat in a climate that encourages office workers to hibernate like bears in cubicles for the whole icy season.
You can build your own lunch plate, with mains like lamb meatballs with cilantro-yogurt sauce over rice, topped with feta and plated up with some on-trend and tangy Brussels sprouts.
If you’re in the mood for sweet Southern barbecue, Kafeteria has got you covered. Here, a pulled-pork sandwich pairs nicely with fries.
Sushi is hand rolled by a sushi chef who had worked at one of Bruell’s high-end seafood restaurants. The menu is basic, with just a few rolls to choose from, but the fish is sparkling and impeccably fresh, so no one’s complaining.
Smoothies are made to order, and the station has generated a lot of buzz, with green kale smoothies gaining a lot of fans.