Fahrenheit was a run-away hit the moment it opened its doors in 2002. But even its rising star chef Rocco Whalen could not anticipate the heat he would generate with this Tremont gem. After a very short year of wowing its guests and the press, Rocco took over the vacant space next door to add 50 more seats and a private dining area. In 2008 Fahrenheit Tremont added alfresco seating to the mix to allow patrons to enjoy the warm Cleveland summers while sampling some of Cleveland's most innovative cuisine.
On any given night, Fahrenheit's comfortably sexy environment transforms into a hangout for the dressed-in-black crowd, a respite for downtown suits-and-ties, a charted destination for suburban adventurers and a laid back meeting place for the neighborhood folks.
The Fahrenheit menu, says Chef Rocco Whalen, is "contemporary American regional cuisine." It is Rocco's Asian insinuations that make this fare uniquely his own. The menu is so imaginative and distinctive you'll not find anything else like it no matter where your travels take you. Each and every day, Chef Whalen's mind is crammed with new food creation ideas so that Fahrenheit has taken to changing their menu every six weeks to accommodate as many as possible. Indeed, some items hang around from menu-to-menu to appease the regulars who have their long-standing favorites. And because Rocco uses only the finest and freshest ingredients available during any particular season, sometimes the menu varies more greatly than others. This, to Rocco's way of thinking, is the only way to cook: always fresh, never frozen, prepared from scratch with most of the ingredients coming from local and regional farms. Click here to view the current Fahrenheit menu.
The new tables in the dining room at are Fahrenheit are wrought with history. They are composed from materials that once were part of Cleveland-area old homes and even some shipping pallets that once served local businesses! Read the full story here.
Cleveland may or may not be the culinary mecca of the Midwest, but there are a handful of great restaurants in the this city that could respectably compete with the likes of NYC, Chicago and San Francisco.
Chef Rocco Whalen's Fahrenheit, now in it's 8th year of wowing guests, impressing visitors and amazing the media, is one of the those great restaurants any city would die for.
Cleveland native Whalen has been at this cooking business ever since, at age 19, he graduated from Pennsylvania Culinary and headed west where he worked for five years in the kitchens of restaurants owned by Wolfgang Puck, often toiling side-by-side with Puck at Spago, Obachin, Granita and Chinois.
In 2001, Whalen returned to his hometown and landed a job as a sous chef at Blue Point Grille, a well respected seafood restaurant in Cleveland's warehouse district. With recipe spins from Spago and variations on what he felt would work for a seafood restaurant in a city with a reputation for meat and potatoes, Rocco revised and refined the menu with such items as tuna sashimi, whole catfish stuffed with ginger and served with coconut and citrus ponzu, and chicken spring rolls. After 18 months of great success at Blue Point, Chef Whalen decided it was time to move on.
A friend mentioned to Whalen that there was a space for sale in Cleveland's trendy urban neighborhood of Tremont, just five minutes from Downtown Cleveland. Rocco bought the space without any fanfare and kept the purchase quiet, inviting only select friends and family in for some tastings. Soon enough Chef Rocco had everything in place the way he wanted it and opened the doors to Fahrenheit in October of 2002. Less than a year later, Rocco saw his top line dollars come in at double what he projected.
In the many years that Fahrenheit has been thriving, Chef Rocco Whalen has been heaped with praise from both the local and national media. Gourmet magazine listed Fahrenheit in its "Guide to America's Best Restaurants." Restaurant Hospitality named Rocco a "Rising Star." And when we asked John Mariani, food and travel editor for Esquire, why he named Rocco Whalen "a chef to keep your eye on" in the 2003 Best New American Restaurants edition of the magazine, he explained that "it's all about effort and technique."
It is indeed!
The Darling of the Bohemian Tremont District-Gourmet 2002 / Best Chef-Cleveland Magazine 2002 / Chef to Keep Your Eye On-Esquire 2002 / Rising Star-Restaurant Hospitality 2004 / Rising Star Nominee-James Beard-2004 / Tasty Travels-Rachel Ray 2005 / Bon Appetite Magazine / Balanced Living Magazine / CBS The Early Show 2007 / Tastemakers-Cleveland Magazine 2008