A Modern Steakhouse

With emphasis on local, organic sourcing and simple straightforward presentations, Urban Farmer redefines the modern Cleveland steakhouse. The ambiance is at once a tribute to the quaintness of a restored farmhouse and the aesthetic audacity of mid-20th century modernism. The country chic décor designed by David Ashen uses organic, reclaimed and modern materials. Our menus reflect an emphasis on Midwest, sustainable ingredients and simple, straightforward preparations. We offer a range of beef options including grass-fed beef, pasture-raised, grain-finished beef, as well as corn-fed beef. Our beverage program extends the theme of local and sustainable with a 350-bottle wine list, beer selections from the Cleveland city limits and cocktails made with local spirits. Focusing on sustainable practices, Urban Farmer creates a connection between the diner and our local farmers, ranchers, distillers and winemakers. Urban Farmer will be open daily for breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner.

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Executive Chef

Vishwatej “Vishu” Nath

Executive Chef Vishu Nath leads culinary operations at Urban Farmer at the Westin Downtown Cleveland with a repertoire of cuisine and hospitality expertise from around the world. Upon assuming his role in October 2015, Nath continues to man the farm-to-table steakhouse menu with a sensible philosophy, assuring that preservation of ingredient origin and top quality remain in the spotlight. “We must give respect to the components that our farmers have taken the utmost care to grow and allow us to showcase,” he says. “It’s those great, deep-rooted friendships with our farmers that inspires me to let ingredients speak for themselves.”

Nath always aspired to be a chef and first took an interest in pastries. He invested time in learning how to craft sweets and won a local pastry competition at the state level in his hometown Hyderabad, India, which Nath says confirmed his decision to pursue culinary arts. He went on to earn a hotel management degree in 2003 from the Institut Hotelier Cesar Ritz in Le Bouveret Switzerland and completed culinary training in Geneva, where he launched his kitchen career working on the hot line. The transition from sweet to savory budded naturally for Nath, comes from a very culinary-minded family. “I come from a lot of diversity in my family—my father was an industrial caterer and my older brother an accomplished executive chef himself,” Nath explains. “I have always had the pleasure of enjoying great meals cooked in many different ways at our dinner table, almost like a buffet from around India. The people in my life and food they made has always been a great source of inspiration.”

Aligning his capabilities with a craving to succeed, Nath quickly climbed the restaurant ranks and progressed from a mid-level manager to executive chef with Vail Resorts Management Company. At the height of his leadership, Nath was responsible for four resorts in a national park setting, producing upwards of 12,000 meals a day while managing a brigade of 250 team members. “The experience was beyond humbling,” says Nath, who held executive chef positions with the company in cities across the United States for more than a decade. In October 2015, Nath moved across the country in a U-Haul—and naturally turned it into a culinary adventure—as he began a new culinary chapter with Sage Restaurant Group at Urban Farmer Cleveland.

Outside the kitchen, Nath enjoys reading, exploring local restaurants, and playing a good game of chess.

Culinary Director, Urban Farmer

Matt Christianson

Chef Matt Christianson focuses on redefining the modern steakhouse with an emphasis on sustainable ingredients and simple, straightforward preparations in his role of Culinary Director for Urban Farmer. At Urban Farmer, he is constantly inspired by teaching and working with so many employees. “My success as a chef is in teaching people what my vision is. I love being able to instruct, inspire and see other people execute my vision in the kitchen,” said Christianson. He credits his parents for his love of teaching – his mom was a 5th grade teacher and his dad was an art teacher. He knows he inherited patience from his mom and his creative aesthetic from his father. Christianson brings both these characteristics to his day job by inspiring his staff at Urban Farmer by mentoring them in the industry in addition to creating beautiful plates of food. Christianson’s largest influence is the regional food culture of San Francisco from 1999 to 2005. He loves the idea of a food community and treating ingredients as well as your neighbor treats them. He emphasizes this philosophy at Urban Farmer by maintaining excellent relationships with farmers and being “farmer-centric”. Christianson has learned to unite his love of working with farmers and local product with his affinity with for urban environment. His first foray into the kitchen was as a line cook in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he worked for four years at the award-winning Fanny Hill Victoria Inn. Christianson then moved to Evanston, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, to work at Trio. The trenches at Trio convinced him to pursue culinary school, and he moved from the Midwest to the East Coast, specifically the CIA’s idyllic Hyde Park campus, where he graduated in 1997 with an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts. Fresh out of culinary school, Christianson traveled across the country to work with Bradley Ogden and the Lark Creek Restaurant Group. He quickly worked his way up the ranks to executive chef at the group’s Lark Creek Inn. While there, Christianson got a taste for farm-to-table cuisine, and loved cultivating relationships with local farmers and growers. But craving the experience of a high volume urban restaurant, Christianson accepted a position as chef de cuisine at Ogden’s One Market in San Francisco. And later, lured to Boulder, Colorado, to be near family, Christianson became the executive chef at Q’s Restaurant in the historic Hotel Boulderado, where he learned firsthand the demands of a full service hotel chef job. Meanwhile, he partnered with many local ranchers near Boulder. From Boulder, Christianson settled in Portland where he became the Executive Chef at Urban Farmer. When Christianson isn’t in the kitchen, he’s spending time with his sons, biking or building something with his hands.

General Manager

Andy Hata

With a dedicated team in tow, General Manager Andy Hata oversees farm-to-table steakhouse Urban Farmer Cleveland adjacent to the Westin Cleveland Downtown hotel, as well as the property’s coffee shop, in-room dining, and banquet programs. At the helm of the dining operations, Hata ensures excellent service while supporting enticing culinary concepts and maintaining Sage Restaurant Group’s sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives. “I consider it a great part of my responsibility to ensure sustainable sourcing that supports the locals,” he says.

As a leader, Hata sees himself as a facilitator, creating environments in which individuals find success while pursuing their passions, and teams collaborate to create memorable experiences for guests. His innate love of cuisine as a multifaceted sensory experience also informs his management decisions. “I love the world of restaurants— we take such a basic human necessity and create an environment in which it becomes art, theatre, entertainment, social catalyst, and so much more.”

Born in Japan and raised in Hawaii, Hata’s traditional Japanese upbringing instilled strong values of respect, discipline, and hard work, as well as a deep appreciation for food and where it comes from. “For every grain of rice left in the bowl, my elders reminded me of the farmer who had to grow and harvest it,” he says. Hata attended New York’s Syracuse University to earn his B.S. in hospitality and entrepreneurship in 2007, and studied abroad at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, receiving a diplo?me de cuisine and certificate d’oenologie for his mastery of cuisine and wine.

Hata traveled to New Zealand next to work as supervisor and sommelier for The Spire Hotel in Queenstown, then spent the harvest season as a vintage worker for Rippon Winery and became Certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers. He continued on to Australia in 2008 as head sommelier and manager for Vue de Monde atop the iconic Rialto building, and earned his Level III certification from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. By 2011, Hata found himself back in the States managing the Georgian Restaurant and Terrace Lounge at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle, until he moved to Portland, OR to lead upscale Italian spot Nostrana.

Throughout his career, Hata takes every opportunity to live, work, travel, and study abroad, gaining comprehensive experiences of Europe, Singapore, Fiji, and more. “To really understand food and drink, you need to live with the people and immerse yourself in the cultures that live out the world of gastronomy that we all read about,” he says.

His tenure with Sage Restaurant Group began in 2015 as the assistant general manager of food and beverage for Urban Farmer and Departure at The Nines Hotel in Portland, OR. In preparation for the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, SRG brought Hata onto the local task force to ensure smooth operations at Urban Farmer Cleveland during the nationally publicized event attended by thousands. After getting to know the city and his staff, Hata decided to stay in Cleveland full-time to help pioneer its burgeoning culinary scene.

Away from work, Hata fills his time by cooking, gardening, photographing, scuba diving, practicing judo, and racing trucks through the mud. He resides in Cleveland with his wife, Alice James. 

 
 

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