October 13, 2019

Chef Geoff Baumberger and Executive David Miller on the success of Restaurant Harvey & Ed’s

Photo courtesy by Harvey & Eds.

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants is an independent, privately-held restaurant group known for developing compelling dining concepts, offering outstanding cuisine complemented by genuine hospitality. Cameron Mitchell founded the company in 1993 on the powerful guest philosophy, “The answer is yes. What is the question?” Today, that commitment to delivering extraordinary guest experiences fuels 36 restaurants under 17 different concepts with locations in 13 states, including the nationally-acclaimed Ocean Prime brand, now coast-to-coast in Beverly Hills, Boston, Chicago Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Naples, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Tampa and Washington, D.C.

Within the CMR group is Harvey & Ed’s, a classic delicatessen with an elevated modern culinary twist located in the North Shore district of Columbus, Ohio. Harvey & Ed’s pays homage to Cameron Mitchell Restaurants President David Miller and VP of Ocean Prime Mitch Miller’s father and uncle — best friends and brothers-in-law. The two could often be found at their favorite delicatessens enjoying each other’s company over a good cocktail and a plate of food.

Chef Geoff Baumberger recently joined the Harvey & Ed’s team, boasting an impressive tenure with Cameron Mitchell Restaurants and 16 years of experience working in fine-dining restaurants around the country. After a brief interlude working with Mastro’s Restaurants in Arizona, Baumberger returned to the Cameron Mitchell family at Ocean Prime New York and most recently as Executive Chef at Ocean Prime Beverly Hills.

Following a recent trip to Columbus, I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with both David Miller and Chef Geoff Baumberger; Baumberger was excited to return home to Columbus at Harvey & Ed’s as Executive Chef. More on Harvey & Ed’s can be found online.

Jewish Journal: Harvey & Ed’s is named after some people from your lineage. When in the process of starting up the restaurant did that come about?

David Miller: Harvey was my uncle, Ed was my dad and they also were best friends.

JJ: How does Columbus Jewish fare compare to that of Los Angeles or New York-style Jewish fare? Or is it all the same to you?

DM: Every market has its own twist due to the origin and density of Jewish people in the market. We just took the approach of being respectful of the history of this fare but adding our own culinary twist evolving some classic dishes.

JJ: How would you describe Harvey & Ed’s to someone who has not yet been there?

DM: A modern American restaurant inspired by the classic Jewish delicatessens across our country.

Geoff Baumberger: Harvey & Ed’s is our take on a modern American restaurant, inspired by the classic delicatessens that our namesake Harvey and Ed would frequent years ago. We have everything from a wide selection of “noshes” to start the meal, great sandwiches like the classic Reuben and Turkey Rachel, our crowd favorite Klein Grinder and Patty Melt, to comfort food favorites like the Cabbage Rolls or our Baked Spaghetti with Garlic toasted Challah Bread and the Braised Brisket Dinner with Roasted Vegetables and Sherry Reduction.

We offer a wide selection of inspired handcrafted cocktails, draft beers and wine. There is really something for everyone. Our atmosphere is warm and inviting, with a wide open dining room that has enough tables to push together for friends and family to all join one another.

JJ: Who or what initially inspired you to become a chef?

GB: My initial desire to be a chef came from cooking with my grandfather during family Holidays like Thanksgiving. He had no formal training but he enjoyed cooking and was good at it. I didn’t realize the importance at that time but seeing how food brings people together was a big inspiration that helped to kickstart my career.

JJ: Where do most of the recipes for Harvey & Ed’s come from?

GB: Most of the recipes for Harvey & Ed’s were developed by the team of chefs that opened the restaurant and a few of our regional chefs within the company. Some of the recipes were family dishes that were tweaked to use in a restaurant setting but started out as something that was passed down.

JJ: Prior to relocating to Columbus, I believe you worked in both New York and Los Angeles. What is it that you like best about the city?

GB: That is true, my two most recent stops were at our Ocean Prime locations in both New York City and L.A. Being from the area, I grew up just north of Columbus and all of my family still lives here. After spending time in quite a number of places across the country I just felt like the time was right to come back closer to home and enjoy more time with my immediate family.

JJ: How did you wind working within the Cameron Mitchell Restaurants organization?

GB: While still in school I had a former instructor who thought I should check out the company because they had heard such great things. It was close enough to home to get some experience while I was still young and Cameron was a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, which was the school I was attending.

JJ: Are there any plans for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants expand further into L.A. or to other markets?

DM: We are always looking to expand our Ocean Prime concepts nationwide.

JJ: What is your favorite item on the Harvey & Ed’s menu?

DM: Cream Herring and chopped liver.

GB: My favorite item on our menu would be the Hash & Eggs on our Brunch menu. I have so many favorite sandwiches that I couldn’t pick just one. The Hash & Eggs has pastrami and schmaltz potatoes, brussels sprouts, melted farmers cheese and eggs done anyway. It’s an easy one to enjoy and Saturday and Sunday Brunch is when our restaurant is the most lively for sure!

JJ: Finally, any last words for the kids?

GB: I was inspired to do what I enjoyed at a young age by people around me pushing me to be the best I could be. Don’t be afraid to work hard to get wherever dreams may take you. Hard work and dedication helped me get to where I wanted to be. Find a good person or mentor to help guide on the path to success!