About 20 minutes west of downtown is a great old blue collar town called Elyria, which has fallen on some pretty tough times over the past few decades. A once vibrant and bustling central downtown district has become a near ghost town consisting of mainly local government office buildings and seedy bars. But, recently the great old downtown corridor started to make a bit of a comeback, anchored by, of all things, a really nice McDonald’s (yes, you know it’s tough when the nicest restaurant is a Micky Ds, but I digress). So, when The Foundry opened its doors last summer, the grand old town saw a beaming light of awesome rising right on Broad Street.
The place reminds me of a hip, cool restaurant you would see downtown Cleveland in the Warehouse District or in Cincinnati’s OTR. The Foundry entrance is a cedar lined airlock, that heads you into the massive open space restaurant and bar. The walls are adorned with beautiful old brick and wood and pictures of old foundry workers. Flat screen TVs tuned to every sports event imaginable are within the line of sight no matter where you sit, but my favorite is the one you see first when you’re greeted by the hostess — a rotating photo album of old (and I mean 1800s old) Elyria. It’s spellbinding. The bar is amazing, and very large, spanning likely 30 feet long with a large archway and some of the niftiest lighting I’ve ever seen overhead (how they did it I don’t know, but I want to hire that person). The bar is flanked by high end scotch and whiskey, and behind more spirits and dozens of craft beers on tap.
We sat in the front section of the space, which seated probably 10 table tops of 4. A large fireplace was to our right, and the front is an all glass garage door which presumably is open in warmer weather — very cool. The drink menu is expansive and very creative, and I was impressed with the number of high end whiskeys certain to please even the most snobby of Scotch or Bourbon fan. The cocktails were just as impressive, so when you go, order something you’ve never had just to try it. Of course, I can’t resist a good Old Fashioned, so I started with that. While the standard bearer of all Old Fashioneds is The Bour Bon in Paris (KY) sidenote: literally, it’s worth the drive to Paris, KY just to go to Bour Bon and have their Old Fashioned, it’s life changing, this one was….okay. It’s not Bour Bon, but it was good. I am hopeful to find the quintessential Old Fashioned that is close to the world’s greatest cocktail i found in Paris — that search continues. I followed that with a Manhattan, which was properly made with a Rye base and was excellent! Highly recommend it, although again, there are dozens of clever and creative cocktails so if you go to The Foundry and order a Bud Light — please leave.
Now, on to the food, right? Well, the appetizer menu was a little weird and lacking, but there was one that stood out simply because I’ve never seen it and never had it anywhere so of course, you have to try it — I’m referring to their wasabi srirachi saki marinaded Deviled Eggs. Yep, you read correctly. So, it made the eggs look greyish green, but DAMN! they were really good. Flavor explosion with a perfect amount of heat and spice. Texture was yummy, and while a little weird, who doesn’t need a little weirdness once in a while.
The appetizer was followed up with a nice caprese salad, which we love. Okay, this one sucked. Why? It was advertised as heirloom tomatoes, with fresh local basil. While the balsamic reduction was good, if that was an heirloom tomato, I’m LeBron James. It was a thinly sliced tasteless soggy tomato from the bins at Giant Eagle. Also, no basil but an odd handful of leafy greens? This was bad, poorly constructed and generally tasteless. I’m going to guess this is not an oft ordered item at The Foundry.
Because, while there are a couple salads on the menu, this is a sandwich, pizza, burger and steak joint. They have really cool daily specials that highlight each of those, and on Friday, a seafood special of lob bisque and a beer battered Perch Sandwich (for our friends in Cincinnati, perch is the local fish delicacy in Cleveland). We went with the NY Strip, which came with garlic smashed yukons and brussel sprouts. This was quite good, and the brussels were cooked beautifully, with panchetta and the perfect amount of char. While I’m not a potato person per se, these were good — albeit HEAVY on the garlic. If you’re looking to ward off vampires, these are a great choice. Steak was flavorful and had great lines and was a good strip.
All things considered, The Foundry is simply a breath of fresh air to a town that desperately needs a success. The place has a cool vibe and a really creative and expansive menu that we can’t wait to continue to try over and over again. The Elyrian looks really good, and when we saw the burgers coming in and out from the kitchen, we admit we had a little food envy. So, we do highly recommend The Foundry, looks like the perfect place to hit after work with colleagues for a cocktail or two, great date night dinner and just an all around good experience. Give it a try.