Elmwood Avenue has a new eating and drinking destination on its hands. Midtown Kitchen (MTK) is a breath of fresh air on the street. First of all, the owners did a great job with the appearance of the restaurant from Elmwood. It looks sharp, and very inviting when the glass doors are cranked open. The indoor-outdoor vibe is very welcoming – sitting at a table near the front is akin to being seated outdoors, especially because the late afternoon sun shines on this side of the street.
The interior of the place is just as inviting. It’s sleek without being sterile, with LED lighting lending brilliant colorful hues to the bar. The vivid colors appear to bleed right into the stunning Chuck Tingley murals that are found in the front by the bar, and in the back dining room.
There’s a wonderful modern zen quality about MTK. Obviously the murals have a lot to do with it, as does much of the naturally-lit openness. Yes, there are four flatscreens to contend with above the bar, but for some reason their alignment actually works with the space.
It’s almost as if they act as some sort of flashy control center. I’m not usually for TVs in spaces like this, and if I had my druthers I would eliminate them completely, but they did not bother me as I thought that they would. Plus, knowing the crowd that will eventually inhabit the space, football and hockey are going to be focal points when respective seasons are underway.
The MTK dining room is something else. The wall of glass is sensational. Don’t worry, the parking lot will soon be transitioned into a patio with picnic tables – something much more casual than the interior, with a completely different menu. I hope that they eventually take the blacktop out altogether and replace it with pavers. A whimsical patio would far outshine a hot blacktop surface, and would play off the rest of MTK features to a T.
While I am not getting into the food (I’ll save that for Caitlin), I will say that we ordered a ton of shared plates last evening. From oysters to a beet salad to chicken, there’s something for everyone, and most of the plates are designed to share. I can’t wait to try out one of the Saturday/Sunday brunches… and a bloody mary, which I am told they are in the process of perfecting at the moment.
I am very happy that MTK has opened in my neighborhood. This is the type of place that is upbeat, refreshing, and has the ability to accommodate a lot of people without appearing overly crowded. The owners paid as much attention to the food angle, as they did the bar. My only complaint would be the view onto the gas station across the street, which is what it is. That’s why the patio aspect will become so important down the road. The focal point of the restaurant should be the view through the wall of glass, onto a lively patio filled with plants, people and maybe even a water feature to round out the zen atmosphere that is already in place.