Pura Vida by Brandt
Gateway District/E 4th St
170 Euclid ave
Cleveland, OH 44114
Mon-Fri: 8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Lunch & Dinner
Mon-Fri: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sat & Sun: Closed
Breakfast Entrees: $5 – $13
Lunch Entrees: $4 – $17
Dinner Entrees: $6 – $25
Desserts: $3 – $7
When I think of Cleveland only a few things come to mind: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, my hat being stolen on the subway when I was 12, and an awesome Gaga concert last year. When I was asked to come and tour Cleveland’s food scene, I will admit I was rather hesitant. Does Cleveland have a food scene?
“Positively Cleveland” would happen to think so. For the next four days I was going to be touring around the area sampling food from some of their premier restaurants as well as having drinks and treats from breweries, wineries and candy shops! I’m thrilled! The itinerary looked busy and amazing and I couldn’t wait to see what Cleveland had to offer.
My first stop was to the newly established Pura Vida. Chef Brandt Evans wanted a place of change and that’s what he serves up! When you walk in your greeted by a contemporary atmosphere full of strong lines and color accented by wood tables and stainless steel.
The tables in particular were an important part of the venue. “I wanted to rebuild Cleveland with Cleveland,” Chef Brandt said. They are, in fact, made from reclaimed wood collected from the area.
Chef Brandt is also changing the way people dine. I was told that we were going on an “Urban Picnic.” I dressed warmly and prepared myself for some blanket carrying and basket toting onto the streets of Cleveland. What was I getting myself into? Thank goodness I was wrong! The “Urban Picnic” in fact is a style of eating. Pretty much items are brought out from the kitchen, in no particular order, and people sample and taste what they want. There’s little structure but oddly enough it works. Being with a media tour group this forced us to interact and chat with each other. We went from being strangers to eating off of each other’s plates in a matter of minutes.
The food, however, was the star. Inventive, creative and delicious – every plate we tried was better than the last. From Sushi grade tuna inside a green tea ice cream cone to duck confit nachos, Pura Vida offered up fun dishes that not only excelled in aesthetic quality but in flavor as well.
The dishes kept coming and we all kept eating. Drinks were ordered as well and each one was a work of art!
There was one particular moment, however, where my mind was blown. The dessert tray had just arrived and lined up were three different types of gelato. A chocolate one (and since I hate chocolate I paid it little to no attention), a salted caramel with brittle topping, and a… Wait for it… Smoked vanilla gelato with bacon topping. Yes, you heard me right. One taste of this and your life will change. Who would think to add gelato base to a smoker, then to throw in some bacon. Some of you might be sitting there in disgust but honestly, don’t hesitate to try it!
Talking with Chef Brandt I soon found that working locally is the key to success. He works with a local farmer to help plan out the upcoming year by choosing which crops he would like to have grown. The best part about this is the resilience of the business plan. If one crop happens to be growing poorly that particular year, the farmer can contact the chef and provisions can be made for a substitute crop. This not only insures fresh local produce but accommodates an ever changing menu.
Have you been to Pura Vida? What did you think of their food and their focus on being as local as possible? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below! Don’t be shy!
Want to see more pictures from Pura Vida and our media tour of Cleveland’s food scene? We’ve got lots on our Facebook Page as well as some in the slideshow below:
Verdict: An Essential Part of Cleveland
Pura Vida is a must! Whether your catching a quick lunch or wanting a nice dinner, Chef Brandt and his crew will not disappoint you! The menu is concise and clean and can accommodate just about anyone. Menu prices aren’t bad as well and half portions are available. Celebrating change is what this place is about and after eating here I can honestly say that everyone needs a little change in their life!