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Review: Does Jill Veddaa and Jessica Parkison's Poppy Live Up to … – Clevelandmagazine.com

Review: Does Jill Veddaa and Jessica Parkison's Poppy Live Up to … – Clevelandmagazine.com yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7

Subscribe / Renew Review: Does Jill Veddaa and Jessica Parkison's Poppy Live Up to … – Clevelandmagazine.com
It was only a matter of time before Jill Vedaa and Jessica Parkison built upon their culinary empire. After all, Cleveland is a city clearly divided by east and west — and ever since Salt opened in Lakewood in 2016, East Siders have been shuttling across the Downtown divide for a taste of the restaurant that earned Vedaa three James Beard Award nominations. Lucky for East Siders weary of the schlep, restaurant number two opened in March. Poppy is located on Larchmere Boulevard in the historic old house-turned-eatery that was home to Felice Urban Cafe for 14 years. Another West Side spot, Evelyn, is coming soon.

Let’s get something out of the way up front: Formally branded as “Poppy, a Salt+ Restaurant,” the new spot is meant to be Salt’s sister but certainly not its twin. If you’re expecting a duplicate of Vedaa and Parkison’s original venture, expect to be disappointed. It’s not a Saltified redux of Felice, either. Poppy is its own place, distinctly different from both of the beloved spots that precede it — and if you visit with an open mind and an empty stomach, you’ll find it comforting, spirited and pretty darn delicious.
READ MORE: Lakewood’s Salt Serves Up Bold Flavors in Tiny Packages
Instead of the teeny-tiny, high-end tapas that have made Salt so successful, Poppy takes a decidedly more standard approach to food — shareable plates of fresh, colorful veggies and substantial enough entrees that you might even have leftovers for tomorrow.

Unlike Salt’s avant-garde approach, Poppy’s food is classic with modern twists. On a summer visit, the concept of a down-home clambake got an upgrade with bone marrow broth and roasted leeks ($16). Walleye, a perpetual Lake Erie favorite, was grilled instead of fried and served with braised greens and crispy hush puppies ($28). And while there’s no place for handhelds at Salt, Vedaa says Poppy’s lamb burger ($18) with whipped feta and tomato jam, served with jojos, is one of just a few permanent staples on the menu. Since our visit, Poppy has transitioned to its fall menu. 

That more straightforward approach aligns with Poppy’s overall dining experience. At Salt, you’re likely to spend the entire meal breaking down every unique component of each dish, seizing the chance to role-play as a New York Times food reviewer. At Poppy, you’re less likely to delve deep into the specifics, instead digging mindlessly into your meal as you revel in the laid-back-but-still-upscale atmosphere. 

“Salt is its own entity,” Parkison says. “With Poppy, you’re getting a similar experience but in a much more casual atmosphere.”

“When we opened Salt, not everybody was keen on small plates,” Vedaa says. “It’s the same thing for us here. We’re the new kids on the block. Now, it’s just about teaching people what we do and why we do it.”  
READ MORE: Poppy Pays Homage to Owner’s Grandmother “It’s a Proud Moment for Both of Us”
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