A gift certificate to a favorite restaurant is the perfect stocking stuffer — until that restaurant closes, like the iconic East Fourth Street restaurant Greenhouse Tavern surprisingly did this month.
But don’t fret chicken wing or veggie burger lovers, you can still use that free meal ticket at a few Northeast Ohio restaurants.
Through Feb. 29, Beachwood's Blu, the Restaurant and Rosso Italia is offering holders of Greenhouse Tavern gift cards 30% off their meals. All they have to do is sign up for the restaurants’ newsletters, which can be done at Blu's website.
Restauranteur of the two restaurants and founder of local restaurant advocacy group Cleveland Independents Brad Friedlander said he’s “dismayed” by the closing and “aware of the struggles of the independent restauranteur.”
"I felt really bad about what happened," he says. "I've been in the restaurant business a long time, and I've had my own struggles. I figured I'd do them a favor and that this would be an opportunity to have some of those people who wouldn't normally come from East Fourth try Blu and Rosso."
Friedlander says Greenhouse's closing is another example of the struggles of local, independent restaurants.
"Near me, there's probably 2,000 other restaurants," he says. "When people eat at Shake Shack or Cheesecake Factory, that money doesn't stay in Cleveland. It's used to open restaurants in other cities. They close two or three local restaurants and then they move on. So eat local."
Meanwhile in Akron, Alexander Pierce is also accepting gift cards at half value through March 15.
“This is a very unfortunate story and we want to help,” the steakhouse wrote on its Instagram. “We wish we could do more, but we hope this helps.
This story has been updated with a quote from Brad Friedlander.
For more on Blu, The Restaurant, read our February restaurant review of the Cleveland Heights spot.