This was an instantaneous snapshot of the Cleveland food scene at that time,” recalls Sanford Herskovitz, owner of Mister Brisket Prime Meats. “This picture represented the upper crust of dining as it existed here 23 years ago.”
Nearly a quarter century ago this magazine assembled a group of influential foodies, a cartel of culinary cognoscente who had the power, prowess and presence of mind to be on the forefront of Cleveland’s gastronomic revolution. Thanks to those assembled in this now-dated photograph, our town has awakened from its stodgy meat-and-potato slumber and blossomed into a full-fledged dining destination.
In the article that accompanied this photo, Herskovitz was described as “the foodies’ favorite purveyor of meat products who was loved even more for his gourmet gossip.” So we asked this self-proclaimed yenta to bring us up to speed on some of the key players in this group.
Herskovitz on himself • Look how fat I was! I lost weight and everybody else gained weight. Since then, my son, Hank, joined the business. I’ve been doing this for 33 years.”
Hiroshi and Mary Tsuji • “Hiroshi was the guy who brought quality sushi to Cleveland. They divorced and closed Shujiro. Now he runs Shuhei on Chagrin Boulevard and she ... she disappeared from the face of the earth.”
Brad Friedlander (at left) and Craig Sumers • “Together they ran Lopez Y Gonzalez. That closed and reopened down the street as Lopez. Then Craig and Brad split up. Now Craig runs Lopez and Brad owns Red [the Steakhouse] and Moxie.”
Parker Bosley • “At the time, he was the chef at Sammy’s, which back then was excellent. Since then, of course, he ran Parker’s Bistro. Now he’s out of the restaurant business.”
Sergio Abramof • “Look how young he was. At the time he was chef at Giovanni’s. Right after this picture, he got canned. Now he owns Sergio’s in University Circle and Saravá at Shaker Square.”
Gene Parrino • “In a word, he’s dead. I think he had a heart attack. He was founder of Vintage Wines, which was one of the first to import excellent California wine.”
Zach Bruell • “I think he had just opened Z Contemporary Cuisine when we took that picture. Now he owns Parallax in Tremont and Table 45 at the Clinic.”