It’s a tall order to offer up something on a menu in Cleveland these days that isn’t already being done somewhere else. But they’re doing it at Sol, in downtown Willoughby. The Spanish-inspired scratch kitchen has just launched a new menu, retaining the favorite flavors from the year-old restaurant, but rethinking the structure and approach to make its food more affordable.
The inviting and eclectic dining room, and sprawling patio are the perfect setting for the experience ownership and kitchen staff are going for, a modern communal and social dining experience. The changes to their menu will also facilitate that. Tapas! They’re not appetizers, more like shared small plates. I know, it seems like the same thing…but they’re not. For example, Brussel Sprouts. Can you imagine ordering a Brussels Sprouts appetizer? But these are among their best selling dishes when offered as a tapa.
The restructured menu has broken down some of their former entrees into tapas format (with 15 different options), and added a “between bread” section, to shave down the price points, and contribute to a more casual feel. Affordability and approachability are the two most important goals for ownership right now, they tell me. Their menu items formerly ranged from $7-$26, but now are between $5-$14 (the traditionally-sized entrees are more, but still less than they were before). Favorites like their famous flank steak and juicy double bone-in pork chop will remain on the menu. Phew!
I got a nice sampling of the new offerings, including Spanish Flatbread with Catalan sauce, the crispy Brussel Sprouts, Braised Pork Tacos with charred cabbage and smoked pepper aioli, and a General’s Fried Chicken (my favorite!). All packed the bold flavors, you’ve come to expect from Chef Michael Schoen. That chicken was crazy good. Makes me want to try the rest of it!
Schoen says no menu is ever final, and they’re looking forward to hearing from diners about the changes. They’ve been tweaking ingredients and portion sizes throughout Sol’s first year, culminating with this new menu, full of shareable conversation pieces.
Now, he and ownership hope to see people’s impressions of Sol expand from a “special occasion” destination. They want their Lake County clientele to think of the downtown Willoughby location as a destination for a fun, uptown communal dining experience, where people will eat leisurely, indulging in the elevated menu of tapas and relaxed atmosphere.
Sol is located in downtown Willoughby at 38257 Glen Ave. solwilloughby.com