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Street Level

The poke craze hits downtown Cleveland at 2nd and High





In coastal big cities like New York and Los Angeles, poke places can be found on almost every block, but here in Cleveland, notsomuch. That’s about to change, starting with 2nd and High Poke House + Bar—the new incarnation of downtown's 2nd and High Social House.

“We wanted an identifiable food concept to pair along with our cocktails, and poke is trending across the States right now,” says owner Matthew Wyrick. “It’s sexy, it’s trendy, it’s very healthy. You can’t get this anywhere else [in Cleveland].”

The change coincides with the bar-slash-restaurant’s one-year anniversary, with a new menu that debuted on February 10. All selections are now dairy- and gluten-free, with special attention to Paleo, vegetarian, and vegan options—a far cry from the bar fare it used to offer (such as wings, fried fish, and burgers). "This is what sets us apart from the Harry Buffalos and other bars in town," says Wyrick. 

Along with build-your-own-bowl options, a new favorite is the “Polka Poke”—a poke bowl with sushi-grade Ahi tuna, salmon, avocado, cucumber, seaweed, ginger, tobiko, and housemade miso aioli served with rice, nachos, or spring greens. Steamed buns are another popular new addition, with various fillings including smoked pork belly, Hawaiian BBQ pork, and hoisin-glazed mushrooms.

2nd and High’s cocktail menu has also received a makeover of sorts. Though the bar will continue to offer staples like alcoholic sno-cones, passion fruit martinis, and smoked Manhattans, 10 new selections—like the “Beach Boy” with tequila, pineapple, and fresh coconut—have also been added. On the non-alcoholic side, smoothies, cold-pressed juices, and Six Shooter frozen coffee slushies round out the menu.

“Poke is a Hawaiian dish, so a lot of our drinks have a more tropical flavor to them, incorporating pineapple, passion fruit, and mango,” explains bar director Alexandra Maryanovsky.

Along with the culinary changes, 2nd and High is also instituting more eco-friendly practices, such as compostable to-go containers, LED lighting, reduced water usage, and more recycled waste.

So far, Wyrick says the response has been highly positive with “great feedback and social media buzz.” Says Wyrick, “We’re looking to be more progressive and stay ahead of the curve a bit. We’re really happy to introduce something new to the city, and we’re looking forward to what’s to come.”

Read more articles by Jen Jones Donatelli.

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