Award-Winning Edwardsville Restaurant Gets New Owners, But Not Changing
Edwardsville, IL/September 3, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Often times when we bring you news of a restaurant changing hands, it’s with the promise of new things to come. In the case of the exceptionally popular metro-east restaurant, Cleveland-Heath, it’s with the promise to keep things going just the way they are. That’s according to chefs Jenny Cleveland and Eric “Ed” Heath, who have sold their Edwardsville restaurant and plan to head to Utah. The new owners, Kari and Keith McGinness officially took possession of Cleveland-Heath September 1st, and they’ve promised not to change a thing. The beloved Edwardsville eatery will keep its name, along with its menu, management team, kitchen staff, and casual vibe. Both sets of owners say customers won’t see a difference.
The new owners each bring strong restaurant backgrounds. Kari McGinness will draw on her experience tending bar and managing independent restaurants and handle front of house duties. Her husband Keith, with a background in corporate restaurant operations (including a recent stint overseeing 25 Applebee’s locations) will handle operational matters. That includes maintaining the current Cleveland-Heath brand. McGinness has said they don’t want to change a thing at this already successful restaurant. The McGinnesses are so committed to a seamless transition that they’ve been working at the Edwardsville restaurant for the past several weeks.
Chefs Jennifer Cleveland and Eric “Ed” Heath opened Cleveland-Heath at 106 North Main Street in the historic Boehm Building in 2011. The comfortable restaurant offers their gourmet takes on classic American foods. And, as we told you when they took Best Burger top honors last November, they do it brilliantly. But then Heath is a two-time James Beard Best Chef semifinalist (2015 & 2016) and Cleveland-Heath’s Executive Chef Rick Kazmer was his classmate at culinary school. Chef Kazmer has been running the restaurant’s kitchen for the last five years. It’s he who developed the recipes for the restaurant’s famous grass-fed cheeseburger, as well as the lemony Kale salad and that divine Pineapple Gooey Butter Cake. And Chef Kazmer is staying put.
The gourmet duo of Cleveland and Heath moved to Edwardsville to be closer to Cleveland’s family in Central Illinois. Now, they are planning to move to Heath’s native Utah, so that he can be closer to his family for a while. At least at first, the pair plan to work for a local restaurant group, but could eventually open a new place. The McGinnesses both have ties to the St. Louis area. Kari is a St. Louis native and Keith grew up in Collinsville. Those strong ties to the area are reflected in the couple’s determination to maintain Cleveland-Heath’s strong commitment to the community that so lovingly embraced the restaurant and its founders since day-one. For that community support, the dedication of their restaurant staff, and the new owners’ commitment to keep their greatest accomplishment going, Cleveland and Heath have said they are most grateful.