Come for the food at Butcher and the Brewer, stay for the bathrooms

Since 2014, hungry patrons have been flocking to Butcher and the Brewer for top-notch cuts of meat from the in-house butcher, a meal using only the public house’s locally raised sustainable meat and produce, or a sip of one of the brewpub’s handcrafted brews.


But a lesser known draw is Butcher and the Brewer’s restrooms. Yes, the bathrooms. The restaurant, at 2043 East Fourth Street, Cleveland, was recently named one of 10 finalists in Cintas Corp.’s 18th annual Best Restroom Contest.


Jason Workman, CEO and partner of Cleveland Brewing Co. (which also owns Tremont Taphouse) and Butcher and the Brewer operating partner with Chris Lieb, says he has no idea who nominated them for the honor, but they are campaigning for votes. “[We] encourage everyone to vote,” Workman says. “At the end of the day, we are honored to be in the running, but it would be extra sweet if the best bathroom was in CLE.”


Butcher and the Brewer’s restrooms recently were named one of 10 finalists in Cintas Corp.’s 18th annual Best Restroom Contest.The bathrooms, which are done in green and white subway tile, black floor tile, and reclaimed wood and steel, have men’s rooms on one side and women’s rooms on the other. “There is a communal hand washing station between the two spaces,” Workman says. “An eight-foot vintage factory pedestal sink made of cast iron and porcelain is the focal point of the restroom and provides the separation between the men’s and women’s areas.”


Workman says he is most proud of the factory sink, which the team restored themselves. “It took quite a bit of work to restore and to get to operate reliably," he says. “It’s very functional, serves as a great focal point, and provides just enough separation to keep the men’s and women’s bathroom independent of one another.”


Workman provided the creative vision and design for the bathroom, while Lieb and Dimit Architects helped turn that vision into a reality with plans and drawings, and JTL Construction built it.


"The design is a Cleveland-inspired Vintage Industrial and was intended to function as a natural extension of our communal concept,” says Workman of the design. “The primary objective of Butcher and the Brewer is to bring people together and to inspire interaction and conversation among our guests. This idea is encouraged throughout the brewpub by public house seating and our shared plate menu.”


Most patrons embrace the décor in his establishment, Workman says. “For the restaurant in general, it has been very well received,” he says. “The design is rather minimalist, and our objective was to showcase the artisan processes of the butcher shop, kitchen, and the brewery. As you look closer, you will appreciate that everything is reclaimed or custom built and designed by us for us. The materials and craftsmanship that went into the furniture and fixtures help create a very unique space. It strikes a delicate balance between industrial but is still warm and inviting.”


The communal bathrooms are another story. “As for the bathrooms, it’s a love-hate relationship,” Workman says. “Overall, most love, but some hate. We do have two additional private restrooms for those who are a bit more reserved or shy.”


Butcher and the BrewerWhether they love it or hate it, patrons are drawn to Butcher and the Brewer's bathrooms. “Regardless, it is always a topic of conversation and functions as purposed,” Workman says. “It also doubles as our in-house photo booth, providing the backdrop for many social media posts.”


Despite the nomination, and recognition for the work the team put into Butcher and the Brewer's bathrooms, Workman says their true focus, of course, is the food. “It was much simpler to create a bathroom design than it is to execute the quality of food our culinary team provides night in and night out in such a high volume, large venue,” he says.


Finalists in Cintas’ Best Restroom Contest will be judged on five criteria: cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements. The winner will receive $2,500 in facility services or restroom cleaning from Cintas while also being recognized as a first-rate public restroom.


But the public is also invited to vote for their favorite bathroom. Voting is open until Friday, Sept. 13. Workman says they will be notified if they’ve won by Sept. 15.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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