"It's about training people properly, having respect for people and being responsible to your customers." Jaret Havanchak
A West Geauga Wolverine named Jaret Havanchak clawed his way to the top of a hill in Chardon Square, and opened a new restaurant.
And, because of that accomplishment, foodies in Chardon — and Geauga County — can experience the unique tastes offered by the recently opened Square Bistro, 205 Main Street.
Havanchak, raised in Chesterland, started his culinary career by developing a passion for food at a young age and working at various restaurants during his teens.
“I started as a dishwasher when I was 14, 15 years old, then got into the cooking business,” said the 2000 West Geauga graduate.
After high school, he attended and graduated from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute. Under a French-inspired chef, Rick Boyer, at a five-star resort, the Arizona Biltmore, in Phoenix, Havanchak worked at the resort’s white table-cloth restaurant, Wright’s At The Biltmore.
“That was a 5-star resort with three different restaurants, including a grill, an upper-scale eatery, and, finally, a white-tablecloth restaurant,” he said.
After a stint in the searing Arizona sun, he moved back to Ohio, taking over Lure Bistro in Downtown Willoughby as the executive chef and owner in 2008.
Havanchak lived in Mentor, then moved to Chardon Township with his family two years ago.
“It’s good to be back,” he said.
Because of his passion for French food, he utilizes what’s known as “fusion cuisine,” blending different types of food together. An example is a short-rib carbonara dish in which he blends French sauces with the Italian meal.
“It’s a good way of incorporating different types of cuisines in each dish,” he said.
Among the other menu items are a salmon burger sandwich and 3 Little Piggies, which contains braised pork belly, BBQ pork, applewood bacon and smoked gouda on herb focaccia bread.
A roasted red bell pepper bisque highlights the soup and salad menu. A seafood specialty is the lobster pasta aglio olio, which contains fresh poached lobster meat, roasted garlic oil, fresh herbs, fettucini poasta and asiago cheese.
The same fusion philosophy carries over to the full-service bar with 12 craft beers on tap, about half of which are Ohio-based products. Up to 50 choices of wine will appear on the menu as well.
“We have our specialty cocktails and a Maple Manhattan,” he said, adding Geaugans will appreciate the maple theme. “But we’re trying to put a twist on them.”
For instance, a cocktail may contain a bing cherry instead of a maraschino cherry, while a blackthorn martini may include blood orange bitters instead of normal bitters.
“A new version of an old drink,” he said. “That’s what we’re aiming for.”
How does he find the time to run both restaurants?
“It’s about training people properly, having respect for people and being responsible to your customers,” Havanchak said.
The conversation turns back to Chardon and its tight-knit feel.
“It’s a family-driven community. I have kids. I love my kids,” he said, and a children’s menu will be added. “They go to Chardon (schools). The community is here.
“My goal is to be part of the Chardon family and for Chardon to be part of my family.”
Square Bistro is located at 205 Main St. in Chardon. For more information, call 440-279-0101 or visit www.square-bistro.com.
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