Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Flour Time

It’s always a pleasure to report on the launch of the latest local restaurant. So I’m happy to start spreading the word that Flour, a rustic Italian eatery in Moreland Hills, is now serving dinner. In the hyper competitive restaurant industry where the rate of failure is high, this place has all the ingredients for success, most notably chef/owners with lots of experience, business smarts, and real culinary talent.

Chef Paul Minnillo is the Big Daddy here. He’s earned many awards and accolades over the course of a long career defined by creativity, high standards, and a European sensibility for the pleasures of eating. He’s also had a major -and positive- influence on the Cleveland dining scene and the people who make it happen. One of those people is his partner in this venture Chris DiLisi. The young chef cooked with him at Baricelli Inn. Flour reflects their shared vision for a place that’s so welcoming, reasonably priced, and appealing that the public will drop by often and regularly; early, late and in between; for a glass of wine-there will be around 30 sold by the pour- and a cheese or salumi board at the bar, or a full on antipasti to entrée feast.

The menu, which will likely be tweaked in the coming weeks and months, has a mix of starters and salads that work equally well as small plates for snacking and sharing; pasta in half and whole portions; and a small selection of heartier secondi-two fish and one each of chicken, beef, pork , and veal. And then there are the pizzas: the 10 inch rounds are baked in wood burning pizza oven, manned by an Ohio native who polished his skills as a pizzaiola in Turin.

The plan is that almost everything, from foccacia and ricotta salata to ice cream will be made in house, from scratch.

I’ve already been there twice, both visits before it opened to public. The first time was during the final, finishing stages of construction, a few weeks ago when the kitchens were still surgical suite clean. Tables and chairs weren’t in place yet and the polished concrete floor was awaiting one more coating. But there was no doubt that I was seeing a sophisticated, sexy space in the making, an impression that was confirmed when I returned eight days ago for a “friends and family meal.” I ran into Tony Anselmo that night. He’s co-owner of Premier Produce, a food purveyor that supplies most-if not all- of the best restaurants in town and an old friend of Minnillo’s. He was visibly proud of his pal and said to me, “How ‘bout this guy. At 61 he starts all over again, with a new concept and a new place. Now that’s a story.” I couldn’t agree more and I'm looking forward to the all the tasty ways this story will unfold.


Bite Buff said...

Looking forward to checking it out! We drove by the other day and it was nice to see diners headeding in to support PM's new venture.

Anonymous said...


Lets just say that the maitre de/manager, Devin, could not have been more rude and nasty. It was a humiliating experience.. We walked out and will never ever visit this place again. There are much better and classier restaurants on the eastside of Cleveland than Flour at which to spend your hard earned money. Flour will not be in business long treating its customers in such a rude and obnoxious manner.


Anonymous said...

I too have had a horrible experience at flour, and will not be returning. Me and my fiancee upon entering the building loved the contemporary look and feel of the place. We sat at the bar and almost as soon as we opened our menus we noticed a man who was clearly too intoxicated.. he proceeded to tell us he owned the restaurant.. john was his name i believe he claimed he and his father owned" the place"... This gentle man was extremely rude and obnoxious for our whole dining experience.. i assume he was an employee or possibly an owner/ manager because he seemed to know most of the employees...we also recieved a lot of attitude from not only the bartender but the hostess as well... Over all a poor experience... I will not be dining there