Berea Depot Bar and Restaurant has a vintage vibe and modern, chef-inspired cuisine

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Diners at Scott and Lynn Ita’s (pictured here in the Pullman Car) Berea Depot Bar and Restaurant continue to make Hungarian Paprika Chicken the most ordered meal. The mouthwatering meat basks in a sauce of smoked paprika, sour cream, onions, hand-made spaetzle and a hit of herbs. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Patricia Nugent

Not many local dining experiences include trains whizzing by so close you can feel the vibration, or are registered historic sites with fascinating memorabilia, or welcome patrons who may or may not have been born in this century.

At the Berea Depot Bar and Restaurant, which was built in 1876, the vintage vibe harkening back to the turn of the century blends beautifully with modern, chef-inspired cuisine.

Adding New Meaning to a Local “Haunt”
“We have drawn the interest of several paranormal societies that have brought in equipment to monitor the activity,” says owner Chef Scott Ita, who has witnessed the infamous Lady in Red ghost floating by in a ruby-colored Victorian dress after hours. The week before Halloween, the restaurant was featured on Channel 19 as a notable haunted spot in Cleveland.

Scott and his wife, Lynn, are both antique lovers and history buffs, so they’ve enjoyed amassing some fascinating pieces of memorabilia, from an expansive mural that was in the Terminal Tower to Arrival and Departure signage, as well as countless artifacts.

Says Lynn, “We actually encourage people to get up and discover all that’s here after enjoying their meal.”

New Dishes Cater to Eclectic Tastes
When adding more than a dozen new dishes to the menu this month, Scott devised meals that fit the bill as comfort food, yet are fresh and healthy.

The Roasted Veggie Flatbread, for example, is a kaleidoscope of bright roasted peppers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and spinach atop a scrumptious fired-up flatbread.

And with the Sea Scallops over Pesto Linguine, Scott had folks with nut allergies, like Lynn, in mind. He created a nut-free pesto with different greens, garlic and oil that’s out of this world.

Another delish dish is the classically prepared Mussels Diablo appetizer, which includes a pound of fresh mussels wallowing in a big bowl of spicy lobster broth and a crispy baguette to sop up all the blessed broth.

As inventive and amazing as these dishes are, Scott reports diners continue to make the restaurant’s classic Hungarian Paprika Chicken the most ordered meal. The mouthwatering meat basks in a sauce of smoked paprika, sour cream, onions, hand-made spaetzle and a hit of herbs.

Since opening last year, the Depot has won several culinary competitions including being named a Top 3 contender of the Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre contest and “Best Clambake” by And though clams are no longer on the menu for the season, they are still serving plenty of best-ever seafood dishes, such as succulent Shrimp Rolls, Salmon Oscar, Fish and Chips, and the Blackened Salmon and Crab Louie salads.

Meat-lovers have plenty to choose from, too, including the new Filet au Poivre, BBQ Beef Brisket and Braised Short Ribs.

Gluten-free? Vegetarian? No worries. There are several standouts here, from Red Lentil Pasta to Tempura Fried Mozzarella Moons.

Berea Depot is located at 30 Depot Street in Berea. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Call 440-243-6169 or visit for more information. Check out their Facebook page for a list of musicians who’ll be performing on Saturdays, as well as upcoming Wine Nights in the Pullman. And don’t miss Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 8, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Categories: Westside Food & Dining