Daniel Bauer and Ali Ratcliffe Bauer met in 2006 when they were both employees at The Wine Cellar and Bistro. Since then, they’ve gotten married, lived in Chicago for a couple of years, and returned to Columbia. Once again, they find themselves working at 505 Cherry St., this time as the owners of the renamed Cherry Street Cellar.
They created Cherry Street Cellar when they bought The Wine Cellar in June 2019 from Craig and Sarah Cyr, who had owned the eatery for 16 years. “We wanted to keep the spirit of the restaurant the same,” Daniel says. “We wanted to support local producers. We wanted to have a really broad and international wine list; we wanted to have a menu that was really rooted in seasonal produce and flavors, but we also wanted to make it our own.”
The result? Ali, the executive chef, built a brand new “land and sea” menu that finds a balance among land-based proteins, unconventional seafood and a bounty of local produce. The Bauer’s focus on combining Midwestern products with Ali’s training in French techniques, among other global influences, brings a change of pace to the local food scene, Dan says.
One of the new menu items is the Great Lakes Walleye, $34. The base of the entree is a pan-seared walleye filet with the skin left on to maximize flavor. The fish is then bathed in a light broth made from squash seeds, which Ali describes as “earthy, dusty and sweet.” Next, some sherry vinegar is added to the broth, followed by butter to produce a velvet mouthfeel. Underneath the fish is a celery root remoulade made with creme fraiche and capers. Finally, the dish is topped with sherry-glazed shallots and roasted mushrooms.
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Vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike can appreciate great local produce! Roasted peppers from @threecreeksproduce, cucumbers from @theveggiepatchmo, and cantaloupe micros from @stemtotablefarm are great with slow roasted lamb ribs or crispy vegan “chicharrones”. #cherrystreetcellar #eatlocal
If you can bear the wait to dine at the eatery, the Bauers also take pride in their Roasted Lamb Ribs entree. The star of the dish isn’t the meat, though. It happens to be a traditional pepper with a bit of a twist: a “habanada” pepper. It’s a habanero pepper without the spice. “It’s really floral and fruity, much more so than a lot of other peppers,” Ali says. The peppers are specially grown at Three Creeks farm in Boone County, where they were harvested for the first time ever in 2019. Unfortunately, as the pepper is now out of season, the dish will undergo some changes until the summer rolls around again.