A layer of spicy chorizo rests underneath a blanket of sunny-side-up eggs. Beneath those are the homemade, steaming breakfast potatoes. The fresh jalapeño compliments the creaminess of the avocado slices and the tang of the house-made pico de gallo.
This made-from-scratch dish is called The Hangover, and it’s one of the most popular dishes at Covington brunch restaurant Cedar. It’s also one of the inspiration dishes behind an upcoming new restaurant.
Jeremy Faeth, the co-owner and executive chef at Cedar, will soon debut his second Northern Kentucky restaurant Yucca. Like Cedar, Yucca will be open for breakfast, brunch and lunch, but with a Latin-American twist.
When deciding how to craft their new menu, the team – Faeth, his dad Tony Faeth, and staff — drew inspiration from Cedar.
“We looked at our menu we have now at Cedar, and we just looked at what’s been successful, what’s not been successful, and really our most successful dishes are the Latin-influenced dishes,” Faeth says.
Faeth, who is launching the business with his father, decided to create the new brunch spot after noticing an absence of that particular restaurant style in the area.
“We said ‘Who does Latin-American breakfast?’ You know, I can’t think of any. We can build a whole entire restaurant and menu around this food and be very successful, we think,” Faeth says.
Faeth’s approach to food elevates classic dishes through local, made-from-scratch elements, like spreading homemade bacon jam and green olive-garlic aioli on their house Cedar Burger, and serving their sandwiches on bread from Sixteen Bricks, a local artisan bakery. With funky combinations like coconut rum-marinated salmon and spicy candied bacon in cocktails, omelets topped with shrimp and crab cream sauce, or serving macaroni and cheese for breakfast, it’s clear the Faeths are bringing fresh ideas to the table.
“You know, I always say that there’s nothing on our menu that’s out of bounds and crazy. You look at our ingredients top to bottom, A to Z, there’s nothing you’re like, ‘Wow I can’t believe they’re working with that really strange ingredient.’ All of our ingredients are pretty normal stuff,” Faeth says.
When it comes to crafting the perfect menu, Faeth says sometimes you remarkably get the dish right on the first try, like his team did with Cedar’s tomato bisque recently. Other times, he says, it can take a couple hundred rounds. The team downed a lot of sub-par Bloody Marys on the hunt for the perfect mix.
While Yucca’s menu will have similar elements to that of its sister restaurant, the team is also working on developing some fresh feasts. Faeth says he’s most looking forward to debuting some experimental Cubano sandwiches.
“We’re getting real close on our first one that we think is going to be a very, very special sandwich — house-made pickles, we’re gonna somehow incorporate some shredded pork shoulder and probably some pork belly into this Cubano,” Faeth says. “And we’re obviously going to feature that local Sixteen Bricks bread. I think our Cubano is going to be really solid.”
With his focus on fresh food, Faeth eliminated the microwave and freezer from Cedar’s kitchen. Yucca won’t have those appliances either, an impressive feat in today’s fast-paced food world.
“We try to get the freshest ingredients we can, and we treat them right,” Faeth says. “We make everything fresh to order and that kind of eliminates the microwave aspect. We call it ‘making it on the fly,’ we scratch-make it right there. If we need hollandaise or we need gravy or some kind of sauce, we make it right then and there.”
Cedar has been successful with its mission to take diners on a one-hour vacation through food and experience. The Faeths want guests to unplug, relax and escape while enjoying comfort food and craft cocktails at their restaurants.
“Our identity is if it doesn’t equal a one-hour vacation for our guests then we don’t do it,” Faeth says.
Cedar just opened in July but, hoping to ride their current wave of success — and thanks to a space conveniently looking for new ownership — the Faeths are already expanding their restaurant portfolio with Yucca.
Yucca will take over the former space of The Fairfield Café+Bar in Bellevue. Kate and Toby Moeves, the owners of the building, say they are thrilled to pass the torch — and the keys — to a new set of restaurateurs. The Moeves had been quietly waiting to find someone they felt confident could bring a hip and delicious experience to Bellevue. They found that in the Faeth family.
“We are so excited for Jeremy and Tony Faeth to bring their vision of Yucca to Bellevue, and they have been a dream to work with through this transition period. The restaurant/bar industry thrives on really great customer care and service, and they will bring exactly that, along with a delicious menu to this Bellevue community that we love so much,” Kate Moeves says.
While the Faeths will move into the bottom floor, the Moeves still own the historic building, which currently operates as The Fairfield Venues. The building features one floor of rentable event space, with plans to develop the top floor for additional event space — and a rooftop bar as well. This will give the two families a chance to collaborate with catering.
Building a restaurant from the ground up is a slow and steady process, one that lacks an instruction guide and rule book, but Faeth says he’s lucky to have ten years of corporate restaurant experience to back him up.
“We’ve learned a lot at Cedar just kind of trial by error, and I think we’re going to bring that same philosophy to Yucca,” Faeth says. “I don’t think there is a list of do’s and don’ts; I definitely think it’s kind of an organic thing. It kind of just happens as you go.”
The Faeths always had plans to expand, with a goal of eventually having four or five restaurants, but no one expected it to happen so quickly, especially in the midst of a pandemic.
Faeth notes that much of the family’s success, and the reason why they’re opening their second establishment less than a year after their first, is due to Cedar’s regular clientele who come in weekly.
“We’re really grateful and appreciative of those folks to keep coming back and trying new menu items. It really means a lot to us,” Faith says. “It definitely happened quicker than we thought but the goal was always to get into this and definitely have three, four, five of these things.”
Yucca will be located at 700 Fairfield Avenue in Bellevue.
*Yucca has since changed the spelling of its name to "Yuca" after the time of this story's publishing.