When Ohio Governor Mike DeWine in March ordered businesses to close, Parker’s Downtown in the historic Kimpton Schofield Hotel was no exception to the rule.
But the mandated closure did prompt owner James Mowbray to fast track his plans for a concept change in the restaurant space. Next week, on Thursday, Aug. 6, Parker’s Downtown will become Betts Restaurant, owned by Mowbray and Steve Calabrese, partner with CRM Companies, the building’s landlord.
the retinal thermometer at Betts. It can tell if you’re not wearing a mask and will direct you to the attendant if your temp is over 100.3“We took the time now to refresh and rebrand,” says Jason Reiss, Betts general manager. “We had plans drawn up to do next year, but the opportunity seemed right back in March when Ohio shut down. We just accelerated out timeline.”
Betts’ menu will be whole food-based, says Reiss, and cater to virtually any craving or diet need. He says there will be vegan, keto, vegetarian, and gluten free options, as well as plenty of omnivore fare.
“All the food here has great flavor, but when you’re done you don’t feel guilty,” he says. “But we also have great steaks, macaroni and cheese, so if you do want to indulge, you can.”
Executive chef Robert Stauch is French-trained, and stays current on food trends, healthy alternatives, allergens, unique cuisine, wine parings, cleanliness, and food safety.
Reiss says Betts Culinary advisor Terry Bell is the personal chef for the Cleveland Cavaliers and likes to experiment with fresh and nutritious ingredients to create menus that merge traditional favorites with healthy options.
Additionally, Reiss says deserts are all made in-house (many selections are gluten free). Betts will have a full coffee program with nitro cold-pressed coffee, and pressed juice from Anna in the Raw. “It’s going to be so good,” predicts Reiss.
The food and drink all emphasize local, says Reiss, down to all-local beers on tap. “The majority of the product is locally grown, the Amish chicken is sourced locally, and we use Ohio-raised beef,” he says.
Betts will serve weekday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as weekend brunch. Around-the-clock grab-and-go food is available to both hotel guests and the public, and Reiss says they will be working with DoorDash on a delivery menu.
The décor has been brightened up, with white subway tile throughout the bar and a custom penny tile wall adorning the coffee and cocktail to-go bar.
Reiss says a 46-seat patio is being installed this week.
“We took the time to completely create a beautiful aesthetic change to the restaurant,” he says.
The new interior was designed by Lindsey Neidus and Mia Sakai, co-founders of SEA (Spaces, Experiences, Activations)—the same women who for the past two years have brought the Lake Effects Holiday Pop-up Bar to the same space.
“It’s very comfortable,” says Reiss. “It feels like you’re in someone’s kitchen.
The name “Betts” is a tribute to Elizabeth Schofield (1845-1914), who was the wife of Levi Schofield, an architect and designer of the historic Schofield Building, where the restaurant and hotel are housed.
In her own right, Elizabeth was regarded as a pillar of progress and inclusivity in Cleveland. A devout Baptist and good friend with Theodore Roosevelt, she served as president of the YWCA and was the first president of the board of the Phillis Wheatley Association.
Betts Restaurant to open in Kimpton Schofield Hotel, replacing Parker's Downtown.Reiss says the entire restaurant has been adapted to fit COVID-19 safety regulations. He says the dining room sat 118 guests pre-COVID, and they have lost 30 seats to now seat 88. There are nine plexiglass dividers between tables, as well as an additional 10 three-foot by three-foot movable dividers at the bar.
A facial recognition thermal temperature scanner is located at the entrance as an added precaution and masks are, of course, required. “If you’re over 100.3, it will turn red and ask you to check with the attendant,” he explains, “wherein we will follow the guidelines and not allow you to enter the restaurant.”
“It’s tough opening during COVID, but we’ll be taking all of the protocols very seriously,” he says.