Rood Food & Pie
(17001 Madison Ave.) opens in the West Madison neighborhood of Lakewood.
“We’re on the far west end of Madison; we’re pioneers,” he says. “A lot of people don’t even know this area exists, but hopefully we’ll change that. We’re hoping to create a space with a great feel and atmosphere, good service and, of course, really great food.”
When we spoke, Ruthsatz was on an R&D trip with his chef, Mark Wilson, in the artsy Wynwood district of Miami. The eclectic cafes and restaurants of that neighborhood offer just the sort of funky vibe that the owner intends to introduce to his little patch of the city.
“We want to take food that’s been out there for a while and challenge it,” he says. “We’ll start with a small, concise menu and grow with the neighborhood.”
Rood Food will be an all-day café that straddles the line between breakfast and dinner, sweet and savory, classic and contemporary. What attracted Ruthsatz to this particular piece of property – a 3,000-square-foot double storefront – was the roomy back area that will serve as the on-site bakery. Up front, the dining room will seat about 90 guests.
In the morning, Rood will serve light breakfasts of coffee, espresso and tea with pastries, overnight oats, scotch eggs, and pie. Lunch might feature biscuits, savory chicken potpies with fresh herbs, and smashed toasts creamed with avocado, basil-tomatoes and/or meats.
Dinner will offer small plates like build-your-own slider flights on house-baked rolls, “Where the bread is just as important as the protein inside.” Items like refried jerk chicken, brisket and sloppy tofu will be paired with fresh-baked milk bread rolls or punchy curry rolls.
A handful of mains might include American barbecue, grilled homemade sausages, shrimp with toasted pasta.
“The other piece of this, obviously, is the pie,” says Ruthsatz. “We want people to segue into pie. When you talk about pie, people smile.”
An in-house pastry chef will put a modern spin on classic pie recipes.
“We want to challenge some classic pie recipes. There’s some really fun stuff out there right now.”
A few seasonal options might include peach with a green tea crust, blueberry chamomile, apple with Ohio maple syrup, and lemon meringue with a raspberry bottom. Salt and Honey features light and dark honey custard and is served with a small vial of bee pollen.
“When you sprinkle it on top, it gives the pie a really great salty, butterscotch finish to it,” says Ruthsatz. “We want the food to be social.”
Pies will also be sold at retail.
As for the unconventional name, the owner explains that “rood” means red in Dutch, and is often used in conjunction with fruits like raspberries, strawberries and currents.
“We were looking for a fun, bold, in-your-face name,” he says.
Look for Rood Food and Pie to open this June.
Brian Ruthsatz is a Cleveland native who’s been itching to get back into the restaurant game since his days as an operator in Chicago. He’ll do just that come June, when