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"Home is where the heart is." Sure, that old adage is a little overused. But, it brings a wealth of meaning — particularly to leading Cleveland chef Rocco Whalen who owns the quaint hotspot in Tremont called Fahrenheit.
A native of Mentor, Ohio (just a few miles east of Downtown Cleveland), Chef Whalen learned cooking at his mom's side from the ripe young age of eight years old. In fact, it was his late mom Rosie who set the cooking whiz on the path to a culinary career.
During his teen years, Whalen got schooled at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in Pittsburgh. After school, he headed out west to cook in a number of Wolfgang Puck restaurants.
But in 2001, Whalen decided to bring his talents back home by heading-up the kitchen at Blue Point Grille in the city’s Warehouse District.
A year and a half later, he opened Fahrenheit in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood. That was a big risk for the chef who was only a mere 24 years old. But, it was one he was willing to take in his hometown.
Fahrenheit, Whalen's restaurant, was a hit from the start. Gourmet magazine listed Fahrenheit in its "Guide to America's Best Restaurants." John Mariani, food and travel writer for Esquire, named Fahrenheit in his 2002 annual report of the best new restaurants in America and dubbed Whalen a chef "to keep your eye on." And, the James Beard Foundation nominated him as a rising star.
Local publications have an eye on Whalen, too. He was selected as one of Forty under 40 by Crain’s Cleveland Businessand one of the most interesting people by Cleveland Magazine.
Fahrenheit focuses on stone-oven pizzas and its straightforward preparation of American classics. But, Whalen is constantly full of ideas. So, his menu typically changes every six weeks.
But, what's one of the all-time faves by locals and visitors alike? The Kobe Beef Short Ribs. (Don't live a life of regret; order these.) Something that remains is the option for patrons to order his dishes “Fahren-lite Style,” which is lower in calories and fat. Whalen introduced the idea after losing 124 pounds while appearing on Food Network's "The Fat Chef" reality series.
Check out Whalen's other food/love options including: Short Rib 1 food truck; Rocco’s Great Lakes Cheese Steaks at FirstEnergy Stadium; and Rocco's at the Q within Quicken Loans Arena.
Fahrenheit was a run-away hit the moment it opened its doors in 2002. But even its rising star chef Rocco Whalen could not anticipate the heat he...