Last year, Square Scullery food truck owners Matt and Heather Ulichney entered into the brick-and-mortar scene by setting up shop inside Highland Square’s American Legion Post 19. The move marked the Ulichneys first foray into the “ghost restaurant” business, a trend that lets chefs test dishes in delivery-only eateries where the location of the actual kitchen is unknownThe couple, who’ve owned the popular Akron-based food truck since 2014, tweaked the “ghost restaurant” idea by using Post 19’s pick-up window, wide brick-framed porch, full-service basement bar and a no-frills dining room decked with folding chairs and framed Army portraits as a place for diners to try their dishes. On their menu, they added the Ghost Box ($16).
Diners who order the mysterious entree put their fate in the hands of the chef by choosing whether they want a meat, veggie or vegan dish and any dietary restrictions. From there, everything is left to chance as four rotating chefs create a bespoke meal on the spot from whatever seasonal ingredients they’ve acquired from local farmers markets.
When your cardboard ghost box arrives, it appears unassuming, but think again. Order the meat option, and you may be treated to medium-rare grilled beef, finished with a dash of sherry over a bed of quinoa studded with button mushrooms, peppery arugula and dried fruit. Come back, and you could get Matt’s take on hong shao rou, a Shanghai red chile-braised pork belly. Vegetarians may open the lid on a pistachio-laced take on pad thai, fragrant and mixed with blistered corn and diced eggplant.
Know there are no wrong decisions here. Until the Ulichneys move into a more permanent location, literally no one knows what they’ll serve next — but it’s sure to be a ghostly good time.