Opening this weekend: Chef Rocco Whalen’s Fahrenheit in Public Square

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -After years of dreaming, planning and designing, Chef Rocco Whalen’s Fahrenheit opens to the public this Friday in Public Square.

He moved his restaurant from Tremont where is was for more than twenty years, to the space occupied by Stouffers and John Q’s steakhouse for decades.

Whalen brought us along when he gave Rick Cassara a tour. He owned John Q’s and spent most of his hospitality career in the building that has now been transformed into the modern multi-level restaurant and venue.

“I’m happy to see a restaurant here to continue this tradition for so long. I can’t wait to see what Rocco’s done with the space,” said Cassara.

“I wouldn’t have this any other way. You are a forefather of this restaurant. So, I’m glad to take the torch and I’m ready. It’s a completely different show inside. I hope this means as much to you as it does to me,” Whalen said.

Whalen said they went to great lengths to preserve the original bar from John Q’s.

“The resurrection of the bar had to be done or the deal didn’t work for the developer for the state for the tax incentive. So that led us to a nine-month delay,” said Whalen.

“This is a very open space and friendly. It’ll be great to for all the business that will happen here. But then all the anniversaries and special events and occasions that will happen here,” Cassara said.

I’m ready to go and get a Sherwin Williams a big bear hug for the next 20 years if they’ll let me,” said Whalen.

The restaurant sits across the street from the location of the new Sherwin Williams headquarters, under construction in Public Square.

Whalen has created a modern space and a largely new menu for the downtown location. He says about three-quarters of the menu is new.

“The short ribs. The spring rolls. You don’t touch those. But the rest, the ideation, the kitchen, the space the ovens, the Tilt Kettle that Chef Brody and I can make 150 pounds of our braised legendary short ribs, ready to rock and roll for tonight, that’s what we can do now,” he said.

Cassara was moved to see the original bar, now refinished, sitting in Fahrenheit’s small dining room and bar room.

“If that bar could talk. I can’t tell you the flood of memories that just came back from this. It was the conversation that went over this bar and the people that were here every night,” said Cassara.

The new space offers a second-floor lounge and rooftop patio with unimpeded views of Public Square.

“This is got success written all over it,” Cassara said.

Reservations are now open.

Jen Picciano

Jen Picciano

Jen Picciano is an Emmy award-winning reporter for WOIO-TV and creator of the restaurant and dining segment Cleveland Cooks.