Mister Brisket adds dine-in space

Hank Kornblut, James Hickman and Bir Katwal at Mister Brisket's counter.

Mister Brisket customers will soon have the option of dining in, as the business is poised to complete its first-ever physical expansion in its—so far—44 years of business at 2156 S. Taylor Road.

Since early December, construction has been underway to expand the butcher and sandwich shop’s space into an adjacent storefront, 2154 S. Taylor Road, last occupied by a precious-metal dealer. The new space, which has a target opening date of sometime in mid-February, will feature tables and seating for 25.

Hank Kornblut, who runs the business that his stepfather, principal owner Sanford Herskovitz, opened in 1974, said he had been weighing an expansion for years—“every time space on either side turned over.”

The addition will add 1,000 square feet, effectively doubling Mister Brisket’s space.

“We have built a brand new space—new floor, fresh paint, pendant lights, tables, chairs, an ADA-compliant bathroom, a wall separating front from back,” Kornblut said. “The back area includes ovens, sinks and a small prep area.”  

The walls of the bright, high-ceilinged dining area, blank now, will soon be hung with original art—photos and cartoons that the business previously didn’t have room to display.

Kornblut envisions that the new space is one that will evolve. He plans to offer special tasting nights, where customers can, for example, compare two different types of steak, and foresees making the space available for private events.

The physical expansion will bring with it some new sandwich and wrap options, offering something for vegetarians, as well as soups. “It will take us a little time to determine what we can and can't do well,” said Kornblut. “Key for us is to continue making sure anything we serve is very good.”

“Our first significant change was in July 2006, when we added a deli counter and began making sandwiches,” explained Kornblut. “From 1974 to 2006, Mister Brisket was strictly a butcher shop specializing in home delivery of premium quality meats. We were the first butcher shop in Northeast Ohio to sell USDA Prime beef, veal and lamb. Prior to Mister Brisket, it was almost unheard of to find it in restaurants and homes in Cleveland. My stepdad had an enormous influence on the dining and retail scene in Cleveland as a result.”

With the retail side of the business up, Kornblut decided that the time had come to offer customers an on-site place to enjoy the popular sandwiches.

A big growth area, said Kornblut, has been online orders, especially shipping meats to competitive barbeque aficionados. “It’s a big thing—like NASCAR,” Kornbluth said. “I can provide exactly what they’re looking for, types and cuts of meat, unlike larger suppliers that don’t hand-select for customers.” 

Kim Sergio Inglis

Kim Sergio Inglis is editor-in-chief of the Heights Observer, and a vegetarian.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:41 AM, 02.01.2018