Michael Miller and Shawn Brown developed the concept for Picnic Hill over the last seven years. It began small with them joking about how much time they spent at the bodega on the first floor of their building in Chicago. It later became an idea for a food truck when they moved to California. After a move to Sacramento, they refined the idea further after noticing how the local market a few blocks from their home had become the center of the community. It was the hub of neighborhood gossip and the place where issues like whether a new development in the area was a good idea were discussed to where fundraisers from little league uniforms and class trips were held.
Michael and Shawn realized that they definitely wanted to create something like that, a neighborhood hub. After some discussion about where and some exploratory trips, they choose Shawn’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Picnic Hill will be a full-service market with specialty foods, daily prepared foods, and a vibrant bar and café.
Picnic Hill will give customers the opportunity to pick up dinner for the night, or dine in on food created by an award-winning Chef with over thirty years of experience, purchase specialty foods, or buy a bottle of wine selected by our Sommelier. The bar will offer a daily happy hour with small plates, craft cocktails, and local beers. On weekends, the cafe will offer a full-service brunch. We are at located 20621 Fairmount Blvd, Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Dr. Michael Miller, co-founder of Picnic Hill Market Cafe, wants to help people develop the same relationship he had with food growing up on his grandparents’ farm in Kentucky. As a child, food was truly a farm to table experience, he helped to grow, harvest, and preserve the vegetables that ended up on his family’s table.
Dr. Miller left Kentucky for school in DC, fellowships in Chicago, and finally a medical practice in California. In California, his memories of farm fresh, handmade food were rekindled.
At Picnic Hill, he will focus on finding those special small batch food products that will help others build a relationship with farmers, vintners, ranchers who still produce the handmade offerings he grew up with.
Shawn’s fascination with food began at Boulevard Elementary School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. When he was a Kindergarten student there, his French class would sometimes have crepes for breakfast. It was a simple breakfast of crepes and strawberries or crepes and Nutella but it opened his eyes to the fact that food was different for different people. It wasn’t bacon and eggs for everyone.
As a teenager, he jumped at the chance to study in a vocational program in Culinary Arts at Bedford High. Throughout high school and college, he worked in restaurants on the eastside of Cleveland and in Kent including the Spaghetti Company and the Pufferbelly.
He left the kitchen for law school and a career in public policy and advocacy, but he always wanted to return. He is ecstatic that he gets to return to food less than three miles from Boulevard Elementary where it all started for him.
Russ Vernon left his position in the banking business in Albuquerque, New Mexico to join the family business, West Point Market in 1960. This began a 50-year career in the Specialty Food Business. As the year’s passed and the business prospered under his leadership West Point Market became a regional specialty retailer drawing from a 50 plus mile radius, and being a destination. Russ’ leadership, ability to offer unique specialty foods, the best quality fresh foods, and ability to create food events that entertained the public helped grow the business. In 2015 West Point Market marked its 75th Anniversary. Russ received recognition over the years including: The Silver Spoon Award, 1985, Small Business Directors Award, Small Business Person of the Year, and Marketing Executive of the Year. He is entered into the Ohio Grocer’s Hall of Fame. Russ is sought out to speak at retailer groups around the country, as a counselor to small businesses. Mike and Shawn are pleased to have Mr. Vernon consult with them on Picnic Hill Market Café’s launch.
Carol comes out of retirement to Picnic Hill as a food consultant with more then 30 years of proven success in retail food production and management. First directing food service operations for the upscale internationally known West Point Market in Akron, Ohio, and then in the largest locally owned Market, a retailer of natural and organic foods in Ohio, where she was responsible for chef designed food, made on premise, for off premise consumption as well as significant corporate and private catering. Carol has a flair for the unique, creating recipes and menus that attract new, and bring back existing customers, sharing her excitement for good food reflecting the latest trends with good ingredients! Carol has developed many of the menu items for Picnic Hill Market Café.
Kaye Lowe retired as Executive Director of the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District in Cleveland Heights, Ohio after 18 years of service in January 2019. She previously was marketing director for the four Russo’s Stop-N-Shop Grocery Stores in the Cleveland area. She came to Russo’s Stop and Shops from Akron, Ohio’s West Point Market where she was Director of Public Relations and their Specialty Food Buyer. Kaye is known for her organizational skills, budget control, creative ideas, working with small businesses, event planning, and marketing outside the box. She has won several awards including receiving Fleming Foods Retail Star Performer’s Award and been recognized by the City of Cleveland Heights for her Outstanding Service. Kaye is pleased to have consulted with Shawn Brown and Mike Miller to create an exciting Picnic Hill Market Café.
Our mission is to deliver the Picnic Hill experience. An experience of exceptional service and clean all-natural food delivered by valued employees who help sustain a vibrant community.
Picnic Hill commits to consistently deliver to its customers at every interaction a curated experience of the highest quality all-natural food and personal products coupled with the most attentive customer service. We will accomplish this by investing in our employees and communities because we believe strong communities are the fundamental building block of a strong society. Investing in employees, delivering value to customers, dealing ethically with suppliers and supporting communities are now at the forefront of American business goals
Picnic Hill will be a customer centered business. When we say customer centered, we mean will develop, seek out, and find the best possible products in every category. We will bring those products to our customers. We will explain why these products were chosen and will show our customers the best way to use them.
By customer centered, we mean we will problem solve with and for our customer. We will learn our customer. We will ask questions about the needs and wants. We will act on the answers we are given.
Each Picnic Hill Market Café will strive to function as a community hub. We will host community events. We financially and materially support community organizations with the goal of strengthening connections everywhere we are.
Picnic Hill Market Café will be family centered. As part of our vision to create a community hub, we will strive to be a place where the entire community can come