Restaurant of the Week: Meat Cellar

Meat Cellar, 160 W. Foothill Blvd. (at Harvard), Claremont; open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

Meat Cellar was already the subject of a Restaurant of the Week post, in 2016, only now it’s moved a few blocks west to the old Wolfe’s Market, and the old location has become a Meat Cellar-owned spinoff, Burger Bar. So it seems best to start over.

The new Meat Cellar is probably triple the size, a full-service restaurant with a full bar, an open kitchen and, as before, a meat case like a butcher. That in a way serves as a nod to the space’s century as a grocery until its demise in 2017 (although the back part of the building continues as Wolfe’s Kitchen and Deli). There are two dining areas, one near the bar and the other near the kitchen.

I went in for a weekday lunch recently on a day off. Here’s the new menu; click for a larger view. (I’m glad I took a photo, as Meat Cellar currently has no website and its Facebook page hasn’t been updated since July 2017.)

The menu is greatly expanded from the original location; it’s still got the sandwiches, steak frites and other items from before, but now there’s salads, appetizers, desserts, more small plates and far more seafood.

They brought out a piece of cornbread, which was tasty, and a dollop of butter almost the size of the cornbread, which went unused.

I ordered the farmers market salad, a new item, with chicken ($13 + $5).

It’s got strawberries, currants, romaine, feta and more, plus balsamic vinaigrette. I liked it: It felt like a meal, with chicken and strawberries in nearly every bite.

The interior is rustic, with exposed rafters and ductwork, a skylight and wooden slat tables. Service was low-key and professional.

The new Meat Cellar, which opened earlier this year, was a hit immediately; drive past any evening and you’ll see plenty of diners inside through the large windows. Due to the small parking lot, Meat Cellar has valet parking, possibly the only restaurant to offer this in the Inland Valley, and you’ll see cars parked on the streets around the neighborhood for two or three blocks. It’s a more intense use than Foothill or the primarily residential neighborhood is used to, for sure. But it’s a good use of the space and a great addition to the local dining scene. Congratulations to them.

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  • SAWZ

    I had been giving my spouse romaine for a week when this warning came out. He had not suffered any pangs. I went to Stater’s and asked if if were ok to continue using–I was told it was ok if I picked it up from the “wet rack”. They are still stocking so I guess it is ok. The name of the farm in AZ has been announced as “Harris”–so I would assume, and hope Stater’s knows where they got their supply.

    • John Clifford

      But the warning suggested that wholesalers often don’t disclose where the lettuce actually comes from. Just sayin’.

      • davidallen909

        I missed all the romaine warnings. Oops.

  • SAWZ

    I’m glad you identified that salad as “chicken”. I thought I was seeing little fishes.

  • Dara Allen

    I am intrigued by the idea of eating chicken, strawberry, and romaine in the same bite! (At this time, I’d probably choose spinach, instead of romaine!)

    • davidallen909

      It all works somehow! (Panera has a summertime salad with lettuce, strawberries and chicken, as well as oranges and pecans.)