Restaurant Notes extra: Bird & Cleaver to open soon on Wells Street
John Cheesebrew pointed to a Cesar Chavez quote printed above the entry to the dining room of Bird & Cleaver Public House, the restaurant he and his wife, Lindsay, plan to open soon, as their business motto:
“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him … the people who give you their food give you their heart.”
“Our main objective is to make people feel welcome,” John Cheesebrew, 40, said, “kind of like you’re going to someone’s house.”
Bird & Cleaver, 1603 N. Wells St., will be a “mid-casual bistro,” Lindsay Cheesebrew, 37, said.
“We’ll have a lot of farm-fresh items,” she said. They’ll also have some vegan fare, soups and salads and have a liquor license to serve beer and wine.
They don’t want to share a targeted opening date. Their social media accounts are filled with messages asking for it. They should be open in the coming weeks.
The interior is Lindsay’s design vision with white walls punctuated by green from drinking glasses and bowls with lots of plants along with old-style light fixtures and bracketed wood wall shelves that the couple made. Their contractor created a floral-motif tile design on the bar.
Drawings of their grandmothers look into the dining area from their places on a wall. The women inspired their efforts that they describe on their website: “Clamoring underfoot in the kitchens of strong rural Grannies, we learned an early respect for humble ingredients, and honest ‘come as you are’ hospitality.”
The two culinary school graduates always knew they wanted to do something with food. Both worked restaurant jobs when their children were younger, but those jobs’ hours and the pay didn’t match up with their lives, John Cheesebrew said.
They started the Bird and Cleaver blog to share recipes and bits of their lives. It took off and led them into catering.
After 15 years together, the duo are preparing for their next endeavor. They plan to serve lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and dinner 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. They’ve hired 15 employees.
They have a capacity for 50, which includes an outdoor patio and an upstairs space with a separate kitchen perfect for private events, but which they don’t plan to open right away.
They’ve spent 14 months creating the business in a two-story house that was formerly a doctor’s office and then vacant for several years, Lindsay Cheesebrew said.
The numerous windows that allow in natural light was one of the features that drew them to the building, she said.
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