Jonathon Sawyer

He grows herbs on his downtown restaurant’s rooftop. He rides his bike to work. He composts and recycles kitchen and dining room scraps up the wazoo. He’s Jonathon Sawyer, Cleveland’s greenest of green chefs.

Sawyer’s first restaurant, The Greenhouse Tavern on East 4th Street, was also the first LEED-certified restaurant in Ohio.

Produce, protein and grains come from nearby, as does vinegar bottled in the basement of his century home. Its mission? Yummy food, and an economic boost for local farmers, bakers and makers of all sorts.

Sawyer also wields his eco wand at Noodlecat (Public Square and West Side Market), Sawyer’s Street Frites at FirstEnergy Stadium and SeeSaw Pretzel Shoppe at Quicken Loans Arena.

After graduating from Strongsville High School in suburban Cleveland, Sawyer shoved off for the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh. He worked at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, Charlie Palmer’s Kitchen 22 in New York, and Lolita in Tremont under Chef Michael Symon before partnering in Ohio City’s popular Bar Cento.

When he opened The Greenhouse Tavern in 2009, friends in bigger cities thought he was crazy. But Sawyer banked on Cleveland.

No surprise to us, the risk paid off. Sawyer earned a James Beard Award nomination. Food & Wine magazine named Sawyer one of its “Best New Chefs” and Bon Appetit listed The Greenhouse Tavern as “A Best New Restaurant.”

This article was brought to you by Positively Cleveland. For more information on all things Cleveland, visit

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