By: Mark Spaner
Spaner Marketing Communications
In 2007, there was a crumbling, decrepit old barn on the grounds of the last farm within the Canton, Ohio city limits. The roof sagged like a sway-backed horse, and the walls looked too tired to hold it up any longer.
Ten years later this old barn was named one of the Most Romantic Dining spots in America by Open Table, a leading restaurant app. In USA Today it shared top billing with The Little Inn in Washington, a renowned D.C. area 5-Star restaurant. Stories like this just don’t happen very often.
From humble roots grow great things. It’s the story of Gervasi Vineyard and especially its showplace restaurant, The Bistro. Jerry Risner has been there since the beginning. He was a kid from the sticks outside Massillon who stumbled on a culinary career when he showed up at his trade school’s HVAC class without any tools. He tried a culinary class instead, found he loved it and a career was born. It has taken him from a 5-star resort in Charleston, South Carolina to the renowned French Laundry in Napa, California and back home to Brookside Country Club before he became Gervasi’s first chef. When he hired on in 2009 the renovation of the old barn was underway and the menu vision was fairly modest.
Today, at ten years old, The Bistro at Gervasi Vineyard is celebrated as one of the area’s finest dining experiences. The old, sagging barn has been transformed into a welcoming presence after Gervasi visitors wind their way through the scenic north vineyard. It stands stoically along the picturesque lake overlooking the environs as a proud Italian grandfather looks upon his offspring. It all started with The Bistro.
Fall Comes to The Bistro
As The Bistro grew, Jerry looked for new ways to improve the menu. He had always worked hard to form good relationships with the best farms in the local area. This led to the creation of seasonal menu items to bring special flavors to the traditional Bistro menu.
Before every new season he meets with these local farmers to find out what products they’ve nurtured, including vegetables, livestock, cheeses and fruits. Then he gets together with his staff and plans some inventive new dishes they can create with these fresh seasonal ingredients.
For fall 2019, the Gervasi culinary team has added three new menu items based on locally sourced vegetables and fruits that grew flavorful in the late summer sun and meats with succulent flavors perfect for the crisp fall season. These items will be available through the end of November.
Maine Poached Lobster Tails and Mussels, sitting atop butternut squash risotto with roasted broccoli and drawn butter.
8 oz. Angus Reserve Filet Wrapped in Local Bacon and topped with garlic butter, served with potatoes and crispy cauliflower, roasted beets and carrots.
Apple Tart Patin Dessert served with caramel gelato and allspice whipped cream.
Sundays Get The Bistro Touch
From the very beginning Jerry and his team wanted to do things a different way. Back when the entire kitchen was a couple of grills and a walk-in cooler, family style platters and a limited menu were a good way to serve 300 people a night. The family style dishes caught on, so when it was recently decided to start serving Sunday Breakfast, they figured why not do something just a bit different.
The result is a stunning menu built around Frittatas with side dishes of fingerling potatoes, house-made sausages and rosemary ham. But, Sundays deserve something extra special, so Jerry and his crew came up with Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding with Warm Pour-Over Maple Icing. On a crisp fall Sunday morning, there just isn’t any better way to greet the world.
The Bistro at Gervasi Vineyard is celebrated as one of the top restaurants in northeast Ohio, a place where people celebrate the most significant milestones in their lives. Once upon a time, however, it was just another crumbling barn. It is the magic of Gervasi that so much beauty, grace and excellence can grow from humble beginnings. It’s true of the place, the chef, the farm-grown ingredients and the Gervasi-trained staff. Capture some of the magic for yourself.
The Bistro at Gervasi Vineyard is open every day but Monday. Tuesday through Thursday 5-9 pm, Friday 5-10 pm. Saturday 4-10 pm. Sunday 11-8 pm. For reservations call 330-497-1000. To learn more and a menu, visit www.gervasivineyard.com.
We’ve all heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s often the one we grab on our way out the door or skip altogether. What if we slowed down and really savored a morning meal? Gervasi Vineyard now has several enticing reasons to do just that, with delectable breakfast/brunch options offered every Sunday.
The Bistro – Gervasi’s rustic, upscale restaurant – opens at 11 am with a family style breakfast for two or more guests. Choose a frittata (rosemary ham or vegetarian), served with parmesan fingerling potatoes, house-made sausage and rosemary ham. Satisfy your sweet tooth with decadent cinnamon roll bread pudding smothered in warm maple icing.
At The Still House – Gervasi’s coffeehouse and cocktail lounge – you’ll find the same delicious bread pudding served a la carte, as well as cheddar biscuits and gravy and other special features available Sunday only. Enjoy the Bloody Mary and mimosa bar from 10 am to 2 pm, and customize your drink with a variety of juices, spices/sauces, fruits and garnishes.
Hungry yet? We’ll see you here next Sunday!
Maybe you’re watching a cooking show or halfway through a mouthwatering meal at a dinner party when it hits you: “One day, I am going to learn how to cook up a meal that will simply amaze my family and friends.”
Well, there’s no need to wait another minute because professional culinary help is as close as Canton’s Tuscan-inspired Gervasi Vineyard.
Housed in the elegant Villa Grande, The Cucina Culinary Education Center offers a wide range of culinary classes for individuals and groups where you’ll learn from top-notch professional chefs in a postcard-perfect setting. Soak up the passion and enjoy the pleasures of sharing great food with friends and family during hands-on, personalized instruction.
Reserve your space in one of a dozen themed classes where you can learn to serve sumptuous sushi, create Korean cuisine, master Mexican meals and even learn to make the finest flatbread. If you’re a fan of the food served at The Crush House at Gervasi Vineyard, sign up and learn how to prepare some of the favorites from this popular contemporary eatery. There’s even a class for gluten-free dishes.
The Gervasi Cucina (Italian for “kitchen”) is a fully stocked, spacious working kitchen surrounded by the vineyard’s luxurious villas. Whether you are a novice or a life-long gourmet, if you enjoy good food, good wine and good times, The Cucina is the perfect place to up your kitchen game.
For a unique and memorable outing, Gervasi Vineyard will work closely with families, friends or businesses to help plan a custom culinary offering including both private culinary classes and cooking demonstrations.
Imagine yourself in a kitchen full of loved ones or colleagues all working together to create a delicious meal in a fun and relaxing setting. Are you planning a friend’s wedding shower? Celebrating a special anniversary? Gervasi Vineyard can also help plan a cooking demonstration tailored to your event and needs.
And finally, for the ultimate in luxury getaways, consider booking a class or two while staying at The Villas boutique inn, just across the courtyard from the Cucina.
The Bistro was recognized by OpenTable as one of the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in the U.S. The 2018 list showcases restaurants that offer breathtaking views of nature, cityscapes or landmarks. Honorees were selected based on an analysis of 12,000,000+ reviews of more than 28,000 restaurants across the country. The Bistro was one of just four venues in Ohio to make the list, along with The Twisted Olive, another GV Destination.
View the 2018 list.
Gervasi Vineyard is excited to offer a NEW learning experience for high school students interested in the culinary arts. This program is being offered in collaboration with the Boy Scouts of America Exploring Program, which offers career development opportunities for youth.
Students age 16+ and their parents are invited to join us for an exploratory workshop on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 from 4-6 pm to learn more about the program. Interested students will then have the opportunity to sign up for an accelerated 8-week course (Spring 2018). During this weekly program, participants will be exposed to and learn important hospitality skills: kitchen basics, event set-up, restaurant operations, resort operations and much more!
Our vision at Gervasi Vineyard is “to become a leading destination winery resort and restaurant group that delivers a world-class hospitality experience where people can connect to enhance their lives.” There is no better way for us to do this than by mentoring and developing the next generation entering the work force!
GV Exploration Workshop
4 pm: Welcome and meet the chef
4:15 pm: Tour of facilities
4:45 pm: Culinary demo experience
5:30 pm: Question and answer session with the chef and culinary team members about what being in the field is like