With award-winning dishes and a definitive nod to its hometown roots, Mentor’s Savoria Bar & Grill offers an explosive mix of must-try culinary hit

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Savoria Bar & Grill is owned by the Huff family, which includes father Erik (right) and sons Christian (left) and Andrew. Their established restaurant roots ensured Mentor’s hottest new eatery was an instant hit. (Photography: Adrienne Rose)

By Patricia Nugent

Not many chefs can say they went toe-to-toe with Michael Symon and won. Meet the Huff family: father Erik and sons Andrew and Christian, who own and operate Savoria Bar & Grill.

Their original restaurant, Boney Fingers in the Old Arcade in downtown Cleveland, won Best New Restaurant in 2016 and Restaurant of the Year in 2017, besting Michael Symon’s restaurants.

When they found out about a restaurant opportunity within the Mentor Holiday Inn last fall, in the spirit of culinary reinvention, they welcomed the chance to bring their signature dishes to Lake County.

After opening, they kept their winning streak alive by nabbing Best Entrée and Best Overall Presentation at the Taste of Mentor last fall. (For the record, the dish that tipped the scales of awesomeness was the Savoria Signature sandwich, which features smoked sirloin steak with sauteed red onion, horseradish peppercorn sauce and pepper jack cheese on a hoagie roll.)

“Though our background is in barbecue, we’ve designed a menu that speaks to a little bit of everything, from classic American cuisine such as steaks, to tacos, flatbreads, handhelds and salads,” says Erik. “Since we brought in our professional-grade smoker, you can look for plenty of dishes featuring smoked meats.”

In the “Taste of Cleveland” section of the menu, you’ll find traditional CLE faves such as pierogies and a Polish Boy, which pair perfectly with Great Lakes Dortmunder or Lake Erie Distillery Bourbon.

To top it all off, chocoholics will adore the Belgian chocolate mousse. Those with a citrus bent should try the limoncello mascarpone cake, an airy combination of Sicilian lemon-infused sponge cake and Italian mascarpone topped with white chocolate curls.

When it comes to décor, Savoria favors a mod mix of metal walls, retro lighting and a mid-century color palette with olive and copper accents.

Chefs’ Picks
Though they are hard-pressed to come up with their favorite dish on the menu (“they’re all delicious”), they can pick a few favorites from their scratch kitchen.

For Eric it’s the hanger steak, grilled to perfection and topped with the ultra-herbaceous house chimichurri.

Andrew goes with the pork belly tacos, with tender, house-smoked pork caramelized on top with a spicy aioli, vinegar coleslaw and zesty pico de gallo.

Christian, who oversees the bar operation, says he enjoys mixing things up with a Devil’s Margarita, a naughty blend of tequila, lime juice, simple syrup and triple sec with a cabernet float.

The bar and grill hosts lively Happy Hours from 4-6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Live acoustic music fills the space with laid-back tunes on Saturdays.

Locavores in every sense of the word, the Huffs enjoy making interesting craft cocktails with local spirits and locally grown essences such as elderflower.

“We even make our slaws fresh with each order,” says Erik.

When it comes to décor, Savoria favors a mod mix of metal walls, retro lighting and a mid-century color palette with olive and copper accents. There’s a nice mix of high- and low-top tables, as well as a cool private table for six or more set back behind curtains.

Pork belly tacos, with tender, house-smoked pork and a Devil’s Margarita.
14 oz. ribeye and roasted potatoes with a glass of Cabernet.
Cedar plank salmon with asparagus and an Elderflower Mojito.

Mentor’s Best-Kept Secret
Savoria’s elegant patio, skirted by wrought iron gates and complete with four firepits set with comfy lounge furniture beneath zig-zagging strung lights, may be Mentor’s best-kept outdoor lounge secret.

“People grab a drink and small plates and shareables and make a night of it out there,” says Christian.

Savoria Bar & Grill’s side entrance brings you to the “secret” side bar where you can enjoy a game, a brew and a craft drink in a casual setting.

On nice afternoons and evenings, you can enjoy drinks, small plates and shareables on Savoria’s elegant patio.

What’s the Buzz?
The five-star reviews are a nice reflection that the eatery is on the right track.

“Savoria Bar & Grill exceeded my expectations with a culinary delight,” says Shawn Mihalik. “The pork belly tacos were a flavor explosion, and the hanger steak flatbread was a perfect balance of textures. The Ohio Buckeye Boozy Milkshake was a delightful surprise, complementing the meal with its unique and tasty blend. The ambiance and service added to the overall enjoyable experience. Savoria is a must-visit for food enthusiasts seeking a memorable dining adventure.”

And Ellen Luich, who has dined here four times in the last month, says, “Everything has been fantastic. Food, service and atmosphere. The staff and owners have been very friendly. If you haven’t tried it you need to, you won’t be disappointed.”

Savoria Bar & Grill is located within the Mentor Holiday Inn, at 7703 Reynolds Road in Mentor. Enter directly through the side entrance by the patio. The restaurant will be closed Sunday to Sunday, June 16-23, so the family can take a much-needed vacation together. Call 440-951-7100 or visit SavoriaBarGrill.com for more information.

A Bar within a Bar
With black sheathed crystal chandeliers, exposed brick walls and a glittering copper and black bar, the separate side bar at Savoria Bar & Grill lends a posh, almost Prohibition-era vibe that the family plans to play up even more in the future.

Thanks to four large screens spaced around the bar, it’s the ultimate hangout to enjoy a game, a brew and a craft drink.

“The space is available to rent, and we’ve hosted lots of different organizations like the Mentor Chamber of Commerce and Women in Business,” says Christian.