BEHIND THE SCENES W/ RD+D
CRU UNCORKED RESTAURANT // MORELAND HILLS, OHIO
The recently opened, Cru Uncorked, has been very well-received since open-ing in Moreland Hills, Ohio in mid-May. Located in a custom-built, simulated French country chateau, this restaurant presents the most ideal setting for its tasteful, European menu. With a variety of French antiques, which include three fireplaces and a marble fountain at the entry, the 108-seat dining room gives off more of a country ambiance than Parisian. Yet its dishes including foie gras, halibut, summer beet salad, passion fruit parfait and lavender duck, are plated in the European tradition. Guests can choose from more than 250 differ-ent wines from various vintages. Owned by Sandy Cutler and his wife Sally, Cru Uncorked took almost five years to plan and a full year to build due to the focus on sustainability. “We worked hard with local architects and builders, including A.M Higley Construction, Richard Kawalek at Kawalek Architects and T. Allen Carpentry Co., to source materials as locally as we could,” says Sandy Cutler. “The entire building meets environmen-tal standards, with LED lighting, energy efficient HVAC and radiant heat in the floor. But it is the bar top in the small lounge that really makes a statement."
For this bar, Rustbelt Reclamation received a request for a reclaimed European material, which they sourced overseas specifically for Cru Uncorked. “We wanted a piece of natural Americana, but also French with a natural twist,” says Cutler. “The goal was to create a bar that simulated a French wine barrel, which is responsible for the taste of the wine. We thought a reclaimed piece of wood could add his-tory and age to the building.”
For the custom bar surface, Rustbelt Reclamation sourced reclaimed European white oak salvaged from an 18th century Euro-pean barn that used to house old, custom-wood wine presses. The job was challenging due to the bar’s unique shape and the tapered slats used to achieve the non-concentric, inside and outside radii that were needed. Each slat was produced individually in order to match the request-ed compound curve of the bar top. To accurately fabricate each slat piece, Rustbelt Reclamation used its CNC machine to mill custom jigs, allow-ing the craftsmen to produce the bar to a greater accuracy and with greater speed than by hand. Integrated steel reinforcement components also were utilized to maintain the overall stability due to natural wood movement. The crescent-shaped bar, measuring 144 inches long and 2 inches thick, is finished with a commercial grade poly-urethane sealer and topcoat with a dull sheen. This makes it durable and able to withstand the rigors of the restaurant. “It took much craftsmanship to hone the bar top down, while keep-ing the beautiful grain and getting it to curve,” says Cutler. “However, the benefit was that Rustbelt Reclamation is a local company that could provide a signature, story-telling piece in the restaurant. The feel of the bar was an important component to our restaurant.”