The former home of Grove Hill and Raintree Restaurant in Chagrin Falls finally has a new occupant: Pub Frato.
After a more than year-long renovation, the Pleasant Drive gastropub is set to open on Nov. 19 with an extensive drink list and a creative gastropub menu. The 3,690-square-foot space from owners Chris and Lynda Frate expands on their popular Concord location. Among wood and stone decor, the husband-wife duo offers a similar menu of pub fare with a few new delights.
“We’ve always wanted to do a place in Chagrin Falls,” says Chris. “We’ve loved coming down here since we started dating. It just has that great village feel.”
Here are three things to know about the new Chagrin Falls spot.
The snow might be falling outside the floor-to-ceiling windowed garage doors, but the two-way fireplace — the heartbeat of the restaurant — creates a cozy atmosphere to watch the game with friends. The stone structure also splits the dining room into a few distinct experiences: a quick bite pub, if you sit or stand at the bar; a lively gastropub at the communal seating area; or a more private date night dining experience near and in the back party room. Frequenters of the former restaurants might hardly recognize the space once they see its patchwork wood and tin paneling on the walls. The relocation of the restrooms to the back has completely opened up the floorplan and made the restaurant come alive. “It needed a whole facelift,” says Chris. “But this place has meant a lot to people, so we’re trying to continue the history.” In the summer, those retractable garage doors and plenty of patio seating will turn Pub Frato into a warm-weather oasis.
Executive chef Mike Longo’s gastropub menu is equally comforting. Longo is bringing many old favorites from the Concord location, such as the pub burger ($16) with arugula, bacon, onion, jam, brie and rosemary aioli; the short rib pierogies ($16) with goat cheese, pickled onion and horseradish creme fraiche chive; and the mac ‘n’ cheese ($14), which can be topped with bacon ($3), buffalo chicken ($6), salmon ($11) and more. But he’s bringing new offerings, too, including a refreshing vegan watermelon poke ($13) and pork belly egg rolls ($14).
For us, the standout among the new offerings was the short rib pastrami melt ($16), offered on sourdough bread with Swiss and a tangy slaw. Eventually, Longo hopes to expand the menu to include seasonal specials, an oyster bar and a charcuterie menu. “What looks like a pretty normal bar menu actually has a lot of classic technique,” he says. “That’s how we put the gastro in gastropub.”
The Frates take the pub part of the gastropub seriously, too. Pub Frato specializes in mules that go way beyond Moscow. Among the five variations offered, the blackberry mule ($9) is a fruity take on the classic with ginger-infused vodka, while the fall-inspired orchard mule ($9) brings local apple cider into the mix. Down the line, the owners hope to add a speakeasy thanks to a spacious basement. There’s also prosecco on tap. Don’t worry beer drinkers: In addition to more than 40 bottled beers, the bar offers 12 local craft brews, including the Market Garden Progress Pilsner ($6.50) and the Hefe & Peel from Columbus’s Wolf’s Ridge Brewing ($6.50) (a brewery that impressed us during this year’s Ohio Brew Week). “We think we’re bringing a great variety of craft beers, a lot of them very local, to the Falls,” says Lynda.