Heritage Steak & Whiskey sets expectations high

A Cut Above

Heritage Steak & Whiskey. Photos courtesy of Heritage Steak & Whiskey

By Carlo Wolff

There’s no signage, let alone neon. To identify the building housing Heritage Steak & Whiskey, walk to the front door and read what awaits you inside this swanky restaurant at Eton Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere. 

Beneath the eatery’s heraldic, elegant logo at 28869 Chagrin Boulevard is a framed box listing specialty cocktails, salads, appetizers, side dishes and entrées. One cocktail likely to catch your eye is the Bank Statement, a $17 vodka-based concoction also featuring fetching aperitifs. The establishment carries more than 400 whiskies, its most expensive a $350 shot of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 Year.

The steaks – if Doug Petkovic’s restaurant has a theme, it’s steaks – include a 40-ounce Porterhouse for two, served tableside, for $165. And while steak predominates, there are other offerings including salmon, duck and vegan options. This is not a destination for the faint of appetite, taste or pocketbook.

Doug Petkovic at his Heritage Steak & Whiskey, which opened at Eton Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere in November 2023.Jstyle Photo / Carlo Wolff

Key vendors for Heritage Steak & Whiskey 

  • Bread products from On the Rise Artisan Breads of Cleveland Heights
  • Cuts of meat and beef from Mister Brisket of Cleveland Heights and Bonner Farms of Garrettsville
  • Mushrooms from Killbuck Valley Mushrooms of Burbank, Ohio
  • Ice cream from Mason’s Creamery of Cleveland
  • Maple syrup from Mike’s Maple of Hamden, NY
  • Cornmeal and polenta from Shagbark Seed & Mill of Athens, Ohio

American Wagyu hanger steak (all steaks are served with bone marrow). 

Long-time restaurateur Petkovic has partnered with celebrity chef Michael Symon for 40 years and works out of Mabel’s BBQ, a Symon-identified restaurant on East 4th Street in downtown Cleveland. Heritage Steak & Whiskey is a Petkovic solo venture. It’s also a point of pride.

Petkovic and his landlords, Bob and Ezra Stark, consider Heritage Steak & Whiskey a perfect fit for Eton Chagrin Boulevard – a “lifestyle destination” owned by Stark Enterprises in Cleveland. 

“Heritage Steak & Whiskey has thrived since its opening, showcasing the power of exceptional food, service and a prime location,” says Ezra Stark, CEO at Stark Enterprises. “Eton Chagrin Boulevard is known for its upscale retailers and exclusive dining, allowing Heritage to blend seamlessly into the unique charm of the area.

“Securing a reservation at Heritage Steak & Whiskey isn’t just about securing a table – it’s about securing a moment of exclusivity and indulgence that enhances the sense of belonging within the community,” adds Stark, who is a congregant at Green Road Synagogue in Beachwood. “It’s about the anticipation of savoring expertly crafted dishes in an ambiance that resonates with the heritage and character of the locale. From the moment you secure your reservation to the moment you step through the door, every detail is meticulously curated to make you feel not just welcome, but truly special.”


Enter Heritage to find yourself in the lounge area, facing a long, rectangular bar. Small, curvy chairs near the entrance, upholstered in red velvet, flank nooks, encouraging intimate conversation. Walk past the bar into the dining room where dinner tables accommodate parties of various sizes. The restaurant is well-lit, with table lamps and recessed, modern overhead fixtures. While the basic colors are black and brown, accents of red and white and the occasional deep-blue wall provide variety and warmth.

While there are other steakhouses in the Cleveland area including RED the Steakhouse in Cleveland and Orange, The Capital Grille at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst and Hyde Park Prime Steakhouses in Beachwood and Westlake, Petkovic says he doesn’t view them as competition. 

“We just try and control everything that happens in our four walls,” he says. “All I can control is everything that happens here, and we’re just trying to be the best we can be because all those restaurants are very fine.” 

Petkovic has long wanted to have a restaurant on Chagrin Boulevard, so in November 2019, when Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar closed at Eton, he turned his attention to that site, he says.

“There are some wonderful restaurants up and down Chagrin Boulevard,” he says. “We just felt there was room for another great restaurant in this area.

“When I saw the opportunity to take over what I call a second-generation space, where there’s infrastructure already inside the restaurant that I wouldn’t have had to pay for, I saw that as a benefit and a bonus,” says Petkovic, who grew up in a hospitality-oriented household as his parents owned the now-closed Fountaine Bleau Party Center in Avon Lake.

Buffalo Trace old fashioned. 

Inside the restaurant

Heritage has four cooking stations and six people working in the kitchen. It can seat 76 in the main dining room, 16 at the bar, 34 in the bar lounge area and 40 in the private dining space. The total restaurant occupies a little less than 7,000 square feet, with 750 square feet devoted to the kitchen.

Heritage Steak & Whiskey’s menu with a specialty drink. 

Heritage Steak & Whiskey, which Petkovic says ran over time and budget, finally opened in November 2023. Not only did Petkovic relocate the bar, he had new flooring laid down, installed French doors that open to a patio in warmer weather, commissioned local art and subdivided the space into areas geared to a variety of groups. The vibe is contemporary and luxurious but not ostentatious.

“We gutted the bar in the dining room and all the aesthetics of the whole restaurant have been changed. Nothing was here,” he says, pointing to different spots. “If you’re looking at it, it wasn’t here – not the floor, not that wall, not the wall coverings. Not those French doors there. Not this bar. Nothing was here like that. Everything has been replaced, redecorated, re-imagined.”  The process wasn’t easy, as Petkovic took over the building and began its transformation at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when he and Symon had to close restaurants, he recalls.


Creating Heritage Steak & Whiskey took two years. 

“If I could have done it over, I would’ve opened it sooner and made a few other choices,” Petkovic says. “But that’s all hindsight.” 

Besides, he had a vision to execute. “Time is money and all of this real estate costs money,” he says. “But I couldn’t get out of my own way. The blue walls are 12 different coats of blue because I wasn’t comfortable or happy with the blue that was going on.”

For its part, Stark Enterprises is delighted, Ezra Stark suggests. 

“From the moment you step through the door, you’re enveloped in an atmosphere of luxury and hospitality, where every detail is designed to pamper and delight,” Stark says. “The attentive staff anticipates your every need, guiding you through the menu, which extends beyond steaks to include chicken, salmon, duck … and more. Every visit promises to be a must-dine experience, perfect for special occasions. The impeccable service, delicious food and inviting ambiance ensure Heritage remains a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike.”

Petkovic and his management team hired and trained each employee, aiming to make sure their guests savor “as high a hospitality experience as you were going to feel anywhere in Northeast Ohio,” says Petkovic, who takes his inspiration from Thomas Keller, owner and chef at The French Laundry, a storied restaurant in California’s Napa Valley. “My motto is, why be good when we can be great?”  

Leave a Reply