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Firebirds Wood Fired Grill opens with new prototype in Greater Cleveland

July 31, 2018

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill opens with new prototype in Greater Cleveland

ORANGE VILLAGE, Ohio – The Firebirds Wood Fired Grill that opened recently in the Pinecrest development in Orange Village is just the third prototype of a new concept the company is rolling out nationwide.

The other two are in Jacksonville, Florida, and Gilbert, Arizona, said Stephen Loftis, the company’s vice president of marketing.

“We felt the demographics matched up,” he said. “There’s sophisticated food palates here.”

Firebirds, which opened June 18, is the first in Greater Cleveland. A location in Niles was the state’s first, in 2012, followed by ones in Columbus, Miamisburg and Mason. The Orange Village restaurant is the company’s 47th overall. The brand – which is not franchised - started in 2000 in Charlotte, N.C.

The restaurants usually take on the look of an Aspen-like lodge with exposed beams and dark wood. But the new design used in the three recent locations leans toward more earth tones. That lighter, and slightly more casual, and open approach reaches out to a younger audience, he said.

It’s not the first time Northeast Ohio has been the target for an updated or new concept from a restaurant or food company. Dunkin’ Donuts is building a “next generation concept store” in Avon, for instance. And Whole Foods 365, which targets a smaller footprint with lower-cost items, started in 2016, with a store in Akron being built and opened in 2017.

Firebirds, offering classic American cuisine, is nestled in the upscale shopping vibe of the Pinecrest development, which also has City Works craft-beer bar and restaurant, Pinstripes bistro, bowling and bocce; Shack Shake and others all near one end, along with Silverspot Cinema and other places.

Firebirds fits into what Loftis calls “polished casual” – a step above an Outback or Longhorn steakhouse but not quite as upscale as a Morton’s The Steakhouse.

It covers 6,500 square feet and seats 240. And as the name suggests, that wood-fired grill is featured for several menu items.

The “flavors of the wood are imparted in the salmon or chicken” and other dishes, Loftis said. (Interestingly enough, different and mostly indigenous varietals of wood are used for the company’s various locations, since laws govern transporting of firewood.)

A full scratch kitchen means even salad dressings are made on site, and an in-house butcher is used. The menu will rotate throughout the year.

“We try to capitalize on the flavors of the season,” he said.

Firebirds also is taking advantage of the warm weather with its all-season patio. Open-air accordion windows allow a breeze now, while heaters and a peninsula-style fireplace will help in cooler months.

A colorful “waterfall” display of bottles spill down, stairstep style, in front of bar patrons. The signature drink is Firebirds Double Black Diamond martini with pineapple wedges infused with Russian vodka for 21 days. A transparent decanter sits on the bar. Wines are served in both 5- and 8-ounce pours.

Other attributes about Firebirds:

• The restaurant maintains a strong philanthropic tie to Alex’s Lemonade Stand. For every lemonade purchased, $1.25 is siphoned to the childhood-cancer charity. The company has donated more than $1.2 million since 2012.

• A kids’ menu has both standbys like mac and cheese as well as adventurous items like wood-grilled Mahi.

• It emphasizes sustainability, from using recycled materials in décor to moving away from plastic cutlery items. Crayons and wine corks also are recycled. Salmon is sustainably raised, and the company is close to using 100 percent cage-free eggs.

The restaurant openings aren’t done in Pinecrest development, which is at the northeast corner of Interstate 271 and Harvard Road. Next Door, 3 Palms and Red, the Steakhouse all are in the pipeline. They are welcomed additions, Loftis said.

“We’re anxious for these folks to open, so people can sample, compare,” he said. “You’ve got some neat concepts here.”

If you go

Firebirds is at 211 Park Ave., Orange Village, 216-910-9100. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Happy Hour: 4-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Parking is free in the garage in the complex.

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