Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Favorite Summertime Hangout - Sanctuary on Green

Ah, the dog days of summer.  Where it's finally cool enough to go outside and not have your skin feel like it's going to burn off.  When the air doesn't feel as thick as pea soup.  This is the kind of summer I can get down with.

No matter what the weather, my absolute favorite summertime hang out spot is Sanctuary on Green, a Bavarian tea house/gift shop/sculptor's workshop owned by the Koehn family.  Sounds like a strange combo, I know, but this place is an incredible hidden gem.  Set back off a busy street in South Euclid, a place I don't really consider to be scenic, this shop set inside a house butts up against a huge undeveloped piece of land which features beautiful old trees and a creek/wetlands.  They have indoor seating which is nice - you're essentially eating in the store looking out windows at the scenery and treetops.  But outside!  Wow!  Amazing!  There's a fantastic patio overlooking the mini-ravine (not sure how else to describe it) that makes you feel like you're eating in the middle of the woods.  And not in a, "I need bug spray," kind of way.

And something even better than the view is the food at Sanctuary on Green.  I might sound a bit hippie dippie saying this, but the food is made with love, and you can taste it.  Every item on the menu is made from time honored recipes, mainly honoring the owner's Bavarian heritage. Order the gazpacho?  It will be made with tomatoes from the garden in the back yard.  The chocolate mousse?  (the best mousse I've ever eaten, and I've eaten a lot of mousse) Made with the best chocolate and freshest ingredients you've ever tasted.  And then there's the coffee and tea.  Billed as a Bavarian tea house, the tea selection is incredible.  Sadly, I'm not a tea drinker, so I can't comment on any specific teas, but my tea drinking friends are astounded by the varieties that are available.  I personally love the freshly brewed coffees and iced coffee.

The gift shop is also pretty incredible.  If you're looking for a unique gift for just about any occasion, you'll find something within the Koehn's house.  From jewelry, to rugs, to Christmas ornaments, and beyond, there is something for everyone in the shop.  I'm generally not "into" trinkets or gifts, like what's sold in this shop, but I plan on bringing my entire family in for the holidays when the shop transforms into a Christmas wonderland.

The only bad thing about Sanctuary on Green?  The tea studio is only open for part of the year, so once the bad weather hits, you have to wait until spring to enjoy the great food, beverages and ambiance again  But it's well worth the wait.  And one other thing to note is that reservations are "strongly encouraged," which in my experience, means required.  I've been turned away in the past on busy days.

Do you have any favorite "hidden gems" in Cleveland?  Feel free to share them in the comments. 

1 comment:

  1. I live a street over and have yet to check it as I had planned for the past year. You have reignited my interest so I am now going to go this week! As for other hidden gems, I recommend just down a block over at Cedar-Green is a Jewish shopping center on the South Euclid side which has 3 veg. friendly eateries: Sababa Cuisine, Jerusalem Grille, and Iggy's Vegetarian Pizza! There is also a new vegetarian friendly pizzeria in the rear of the Heights Jewish Synagogue (at corner of Belvoir and Cedar), also walking distance from Bavarian Teahouse!

    -John Madachik