Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink at the Van Aken District

Artichoke and olive pizza. Photo / Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

By Meghan Walsh

In 2019, chef Michael Schwartz’s Genuine Hospitality Group opened Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink at the Van Aken District. It is the restaurant’s second location, the first being in the Miami Design District in Florida.

“I think what makes Michael’s Genuine unique, first off, is the food,” says Tim Pursifull, general manager at Michael’s Genuine in Shaker Heights.

Pursifull says what drives the restaurant is the same concept for which Schwartz won a James Beard Award.

“Michael is very definitive of what he wanted with Michael’s Food & Drink and to me, the best way to sum it up is to read the wall in the restaurant which talks about being genuine,” Pursifull says.

Strawberry shortcake. Photo / Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

He explains that the description speaks of being honest, straightforward and free of pretense or hypocrisy.

“I really feel like that is how Michael leads the design of his menus,” Pursifull notes.

He says Schwartz likes to have food on the menu that is very seasonal, fresh and high quality. And he chose the Van Aken District, located at 3427 Tuttle Road, for his second restaurant because the location is set up in a way similar to the one in Miami, Pursifull says.

“It’s kind of like this half-outdoor restaurant, half-indoor restaurant,” he explains. “When we open our patio during patio season, it really doubles the size of our restaurant.”

Bloom gin cocktail. Photo / Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

This sets the tone for a Miami-like feel, even in Cleveland.

“You can set the tone with how you want to dine,” Pursifull says.

Trevor (sitting in Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink at the Van Aken District in Shaker Heights) wears a green button-down shirt with chest pockets and jeans both by Thrills, Kennedy white T-shirt and Pig & Hen bracelets, all from Whiskey Grade. Sneakers by H&M are his own. | Photo / Casey Rearick

See more photos and fashion from the Van Aken District.

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