HEY NOW PODCAST ep.1 – Izzy Schachner
In the inaugural episode of the Hey Now Media podcast, host Matt Brower warmly welcomed Izzy Schachner, the owner of Cleveland’s beloved 56 Kitchen and a long-standing client of Hey Now for over a decade. The episode, marking the start of Hey Now’s 10th-anniversary celebrations, was kicked off with an amusing anecdote from Schachner’s early days in the national production scene, where he candidly shared his overwhelming experience during a three-day shoot for Dick’s Sporting Goods’ Christmas spot.
Schachner, a culinary luminary who co-owns several Cleveland restaurants, including 56 Kitchen, Birdigo, Elle Restaurant, and 56 Catering, spoke about his establishments’ commitment to clean eating. His innovative transparent kitchen concept offers customers an authentic dining experience, with no freezers or microwaves in sight.
In this deep dive into Schachner’s culinary journey, we learn that his foray into the food industry was sparked by an active nature and a disinterest in desk jobs. His first taste of restaurant life came when he assisted a college friend in opening a restaurant. This experience inspired him to enroll in culinary school post-graduation from Ohio State, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Schachner’s first independent venture was a downtown Cleveland deli named David’s Deli. A series of ventures and partnerships followed, including Izzy’s Lunch Box and Courthouse Cafe. A stint at Tony Roma’s allowed him to learn every job position, equipping him with the experience to run his own restaurants effectively.
In an intriguing twist, Schachner ventured into movie production catering around 2010. This decision, spurred by a meet-and-greet at the Science Center where the need for local catering infrastructure to support Ohio’s film industry was highlighted, led him to purchase all the trucks from a seasoned caterer of the TV show “The West Wing”. His inaugural project, a national Christmas spot for Dick’s Sporting Goods, was a crash course in catering and problem-solving.
As the catering business grew, Schachner teamed up with Jay, his current business partner. Their partnership, born from the high-demand movie and commercial shoots catering scene, eventually led them to venture back into the restaurant business with the inception of 56 Kitchen.
56 Kitchen was designed to mirror their movie set catering experiences, where diverse dietary requirements were the norm. The restaurant, known for its salads, offers a range of clean eating, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. The menu, which changes weekly, allows the chefs the creative freedom to curate unique dishes while maintaining a consistent quality and style.
Schachner and Jay’s portfolio expanded with the addition of Birdigo, a take-out spot conceptualized during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Elle, a Mediterranean-style restaurant. Each of these ventures brings a unique culinary experience to the table. Birdigo, known for its chicken sandwiches and custard, and Elle, offering North Italian and French cuisine, have carved out their own niche in Cleveland’s food scene.
The podcast wrapped up with a discussion about the collaborative process of building these distinctive restaurant brands and the positive community response. In particular, Schachner highlighted how Elle features artwork of the inspirational women in their lives, serving as an homage and testament to their influence. As Hey Now embarks on its 10th-anniversary celebrations, the conversation with Izzy Schachner stands as a testament to a decade of culinary innovation and enduring partnerships.
LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST: