First look: new 3-story restaurant-speakeasy downtown

In the new City Club Apartments’ tower in Downtown Cleveland, J’adore will be a two-level French restaurant above a cabaret speakeasy called L’Ecrin Vert. The design of the new establishments became publicly available yesterday (Vocon). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

J’adore, L’Ecrin Vert coming to City Club Apartments


Although the names and themes were previously announced, designs for a new French-themed restaurant and speakeasy in Downtown Cleveland were made publicly available for the first time yesterday. They show a well-appointed establishment with a construction budget to match. The hospitality offerings are due to open later this year at the new 23-story City Club Apartments, 776 Euclid Ave., to offer Clevelanders more le plaisir.

In June 2023, Dean and Anna Valore, principals of Cleveland Bistros LLC, announced that they have signed on to open several French-themed concepts at the new tower. The husband-and-wife team founded and have operated the award-winning French restaurant and wine bar Tartine Bistro in Rocky River for the last 17 years.

For their entry into Downtown Cleveland’s competitive dining scene, they will be building out a three-level space totaling 7,527 square feet, according to their plans which they submitted to the city for approvals. Those plans show a cabaret speakeasy in the basement called L’Ecrin Vert which means “The Green Box” in English, with a two-level French restaurant J’adore, or “I Adore,” above it.

Their construction budget to build out the three-level drinking-dining space? Public records show it will be a cool $2.1 million, or $2,096,742 to be précis. That includes two outdoor patios as well. The establishment will be on the west side of the City Club building. Vocon Partners LLC of Cleveland is the architect of record.

The lights are on but no one’s home — yet. Construction continues to move forward on the City Club Apartments, albeit sluggishly due to supply chain issues that are affecting many construction projects around town and across the country (Paul J. Heney).

But the design and creation of the concepts from the look and feel of the interior design experience, as well as the overall creation and development of the brands is the work of Cleveland-based Richardson Design. Vocon, as the building architect, is handling the architectural and mechanical-electrical-plumbing drawings for the project as well as the permitting process, said Scott Richardson, founder of Richardson Design.

.Entering J’adore at the ground floor, either from the street or the building, a patron will be greeted by the maître’d. To their right is the bar, located at the front of the restaurant next to their sidewalk patio on Euclid. Beyond the maître’d station will be the ground-floor dining area, the floorspace for which is fairly small, with the first-floor kitchen beyond that.

Yes, there’s a second-floor kitchen and a basement one as well. And thankfully, there will be more dining areas — both indoor and out. Planned is an elevator that will link all three levels of the establishment.

At the top of the grand staircase is a second bar, next to the elevator and the entrance to the upstairs kitchen. Above semi-circular dining booths and table seating will be accent chandeliers. Plans show a private dining/lounge area will be above the City Club Apartments‘ main entrance.

Floor plans for the basement speakeasy L’Ecrin Vert, or The Green Box. These and other plans for the speakeasy and two-level restaurant were delivered to the city Building Department yesterday (Vocon).

While the basement speakeasy L’Ecrin Vert is downstairs, the primary way of reaching it will be by elevator. There is a basement stairwell beyond a door next to the kitchen’s pass-thru window. Entering the speakeasy by elevator will help create a sudden introduction to the space that will have a French cabaret theme and Le Moulin Rouge style, the Valores said.

Upon entering the speakeasy, patrons may first notice the exposed concrete slab ceilings, or perhaps the single-bulb pendant lighting dangling from those ceilings. Although the plans that were submitted to the city show a mirrored ceiling in a private lounge in L’Ecrin Vert, Director of Operations Sarah Migal said there will be no such feature.

The speakeasy’s 40-seat bar and lounge will feature a green velvety-vibe with overstuffed seating and craft cocktails. The underground cabaret will have frequent nightly entertainment, said the establishment’s owners.

The west end of the ground floor of the new City Club Apartments tower in Downtown Cleveland will be the first level of the French restaurant J’adore. The space’s most notable feature may be its grand staircase leading through a wide-open space to the second level of the restaurant (Vocon).

The origin of the speakeasy goes back to dank bars frequented by smugglers who spoke softly so they couldn’t be heard by authorities. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, they were originally called “speak softly shops” in 19th-century England and Ireland. In America, a speakeasy was an illegal bar during Prohibition a century ago.

“J’adore will be a two-level French restaurant with an award-winning wine program,” said Dean Valore when he first announced his company’s offerings. “We will have indoor and outdoor seating on the first floor and you will access the second floor and its outdoor patio from a grand staircase. The spaces will feature both casual and upscale dining and deliver premier contemporary French cuisine.”

The Valores will stick to the French theme for another offering of theirs — a ground-floor coffee shop next door to J’Adore. There, they plan to open Café Tartine with seating for about two dozen people, both indoor and outdoor. While Tartine translates as “toast” in English, Migal said it refers instead to the open-faced sandwich style that is central to their menu. Café Tartine is due to open each day at 6:30 a.m. and switch its primary beverage from coffee to wine in the evenings.

The large dining space for J’adore will actually be on the second level, accessible not only by the grand staircase but also by elevator. A large, private dining room and lounge will be available for rent (Vocon).

The café will offer gourmet coffee in partnership with local Cleveland roaster, Duck Rabbit Coffee. It will serve a variety of fresh grab-and-go breakfast and lunch offerings with a diverse menu including several vegan items. The café will shift to a wine bar in the late afternoons and provide a large wine selection, similar to what Tartine Bistro customers enjoy.

“We’re excited to partner with City Club Apartments and to continue to build on our award-winning Tartine brand that so many Clevelander’s have come to love and support over the years,” said Anna Valore. “Café Tartine will flow right from the lobby and have its own entrance and outdoor patio on Euclid as well.”

As with other developments around town, supply chain issues have delayed by several months the move-in dates for the 303 apartments in the City Club tower. Atop the 250-foot-tall building, the Valores and their team will exclusively support City Club Apartments’ residents and their guests with a 23rd-floor Sky Club, offering a full-service bar next to the rooftop swimming pool.


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