Q • My husband and I thoroughly enjoy a bowl of pozole from Cleveland-Heath in Edwardsville — a perfect comfort food with just enough spiciness. — Kathy Ziegenmier, Chesterfield
A • Circa 2018, Cleveland-Heath is a fusion of just-the-same and new-since-last-year.
What’s just the same are the menu, the kitchen talent and the customers who frequent the companionable spot — oh, and the signature pozole, more on that later.
What’s new are Keith and Kari McGinnes, who last year bought the restaurant when chef-founders Jenny Cleveland and Ed Heath left St. Louis to move close to Heath’s Utah family — oh, and the executive chef title for Rick Kazmer, who attended culinary school with Cleveland and Heath and has been in the downtown Edwardsville kitchen almost since Day One Circa 2011.
The McGinneses looked long and hard for a local restaurant, then made a deal for Cleveland-Heath in a few days. “We fell in love with the restaurant’s connections to guests and community,” Keith says. “It’s more than a business. We truly care about our guests and about Edwardsville.”
He wants patrons to know that Cleveland-Heath’s main attraction hasn’t changed a bit. “You’ll have an upscale food and service experience but in a casual way, no tablecloths, nothing stuffy, just great service and great food.” The menu covers a range, he says, from the familiar for everyday (think pulled pork) to the intriguing for the food-curious (think foie gras). Oh, and one more thing? “We make the best manhattans in town,” he smiles.
Kazmer says that the menu is specially crafted for a busy restaurant with a small kitchen, packing in flavor from a small space via ingredients and techniques. One example is the almost-150 pounds of pork the kitchen braises each week. The ingredients are simple, just local pork, garlic, bay leaf and salt, but the braising technique produces both tender pork and a rich pork stock.
Cleveland-Heath serves pozole (pronounced puh-SO-lay, the word means “hominy”), a traditional Mexican soup or stew, year-round. Kazmer says, “We sell a ton of it. It’s got just enough heat.”
106 North Main Street, Edwardsville
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