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Restauranttopia: A Show for Local Independent Restaurants

Sep 30, 2023

Episode 156 is the first of a two-part series with Chef Doug Katz and Todd Thompson talking about their Restaurant Group, how they navigated the pandemic, and operating multiple successful restaurants in northeast Ohio.


The magnetic culinary scene of Cleveland takes center stage on the latest episode of Restauranttopia! Our very own Brian Seitz had the pleasure of hosting two of the city's most prolific food maestros - Chef Doug Katz and Todd Thompson. If you've been searching for an episode brimming with passion, delectable tales, and insights into what makes the dining experience memorable, this one's for you.

This episode was more than just an interview; it was a culinary odyssey, taking listeners on a flavorful ride through the lanes of Cleveland, the stories behind two iconic restaurants, and the minds of two extraordinary restaurant professionals. If you haven’t tuned in yet, make sure to check out this delicious episode on Restauranttopia!


About Chef Katz

For the past 25 years, Chef Douglas Katz has focused on creating fulfilling, transportive experiences for Clevelanders to enjoy. As chef/owner of Zhug, Amba and soon-to-open Chimi, his driving purpose is to spread joy through meaningful experiences and shared passion. Chef Katz is also chef/partner of Provenance at the Cleveland Museum of Art, as well as former chef/owner of fire food and drink — which operated in Shaker Square for more than 20 years.

Chef Katz is passionate about using fresh, high-quality ingredients with integrity. Throughout his career, he has been celebrated for his unwavering support of local farmers and food artisans. He advocates nationally and internationally for sustainable, healthful and local food systems, and frequently consults with media and civic leaders on local food initiatives. Chef Katz is an advisor for Seeds of Collaboration Tahini and Smart Soda. He also serves as a chef ambassador for the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafoodwatch program, which promotes environmentally responsible fishing and fish farming. He served on the board of Countryside in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and has held leadership positions with Destination Cleveland and Cleveland Independents, an organization of 90 locally owned restaurants that nurtures and promotes local independent restaurants.

Esquire magazine named Zhug one of America’s best new restaurants in 2020. In 2014, the prestigious James Beard Foundation nominated Chef Katz for Best Chef of the Great Lakes Region. In 2010 he was recognized by Crain’s Cleveland Business, “Who’s Who, 150 Names to Know in Northeast Ohio.” He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and also earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Denver School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. Prior to opening fire food and drink, he served as executive chef of Moxie the restaurant (Cleveland, OH) and worked at acclaimed restaurants including The Little Nell (Aspen, CO) and Wildwood Restaurant (Portland, OR).

In his free time, Chef Katz enjoys traveling and exploring the world and other cultures through food — and then sharing those experiences in his restaurants. He also loves relaxing at home with his family and much-loved dog, Arlo.





Learn more about Chef Douglas Katz
Connect with Douglas Katz on LinkedIn
Follow Douglas Katz on Twitter @phireman
Follow Douglas Katz on Instagram
Learn more about Amba

Amba is the newest addition to Chef Douglas Katz and Todd Thompson’s restaurant group.

Located in the Hingetown neighborhood of Ohio City, Amba’s menu of shareable plates pays homage to the flavors and ingredients of India.
Learn more about Zhug
Follow Zhug on Instagram

Zhug is a concept by chef Douglas Katz that offers Mediterranean Mezze in a casual, high energy urban space at Cedar Fairmount in Cleveland Heights.