The Cleveland Hilton Downtown Experience......
When the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County decided to pool their resources and build a first class convention hotel, the target date for completion seemed a bit unrealistic. The construction didn't get under way until 2014 and, after all, this was going to be a 32-story, 600-room state-of-the-art hotel. But 2,800 construction workers and a staff that would eventually reach over 350 set their sights high. The end result was the Cleveland Hilton Downtown.
"We're extremely proud of the finished product," said Carolyn Deming, Director of Public Relations," and not just because of the appearance. The Hilton employee training program is designed to accommodate the numerous convention visitors who pass through our hotel. It's a culture we take pride in."
The fact that Cleveland would host the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena was ample motivation. But LeBron James & Co. (commonly known as the Cleveland Cavaliers), added an even greater challenge - as well as excitement - when they earned a spot in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. Quicken Loans Arena was the local host for the finals. For the hotel, that just meant more of everything. More people. More traffic. More demands.
Bottom line, the hotel - to be operated by Hilton Hotels - came in one year ahead of deadline and under budget. You might want to read that last part again; One year ahead of deadline and under budget. It was a reflection of the diligence and teamwork that Cleveland's work force have been known for.
Moreover, Hilton brought in a talented, motivated staff of administrators to oversee the project and provide a proper springboard for promoting and managing the famous Hilton brand going forward. It included General Manager, Teri Agosta and Director of Sales and Marketing, Ronnie Collins, as well as an incredibly talented food and beverage operation headed up by Kevin O’Leary.
Market research told them everything from demographics to eating preferences, and they retained the services of Executive Chef Maxime Kien to oversee the food service operation, along with Chef de Cusine Ryan Beck, and Pasty Chef, Justine James.
"We did our homework," said Ms. Deming. "We knew, for example, there are over 100 hotels within a five-mile radius. We wanted to be special not only for our travelers, but also for Clevelanders."
The end result of that effort produced the Burnham Restaurant with a dress code of "casual elegant," which also describes the decor and ambiance of the restaurant. Chef Max and Chef Ryan then got together to develop a delightful menu that I can only describe as "Mediterranean Buckeye," because it combines their own personal experiences in developing an unforgettable cuisine.
"We stuck with the basics," Chef Max said. "We knew, for example, that Cleveland has had the largest Polish community in America since World War II. We catered to those tastes, while adding our own touch," he added, pointing with pride to his Cle Eggs Benedict, which has house-made pastrami, poached eggs, a buttermilk biscuit, Hollandaise sauce and your choice of breakfast potatoes or fruit.
Chef Max is from the South of France and Chef Ryan hails from an Ohio farm, so between them they created what they refer to as regional American cuisine. And if you have witnessed - tasted - how they have been able to elevate a burger and a hot dog with just the right flavor of ballpark mustard, to the level of "casual elegant," well, you get the picture. Like I said, I call it Mediterranean Buckeye. And by the way, the portions are all Buckeye!
And perched atop this amazing hotel with the amazing view of Lake Erie, you'll find Bar 32. Try it once and you'll go back again. It's a place for beautiful people and successful Cleveland business folks, as well as convention and tourism visitors. Business networking takes on a whole new meaning.
One year ahead of schedule, under budget, Mediterranean Buckeye cuisine, and first class service from the internationally renowned Hilton brand, and you have an idea of what to expect. Definitely worth a visit. Or two.