Cheering for Lake Highlands

Photo by Kathy Tran

Cedar & Vine Community Kitchen only opened this past December, but it already is earning a reputation as Lake Highlands’ version of “Cheers.”The upscale restaurant’s ambience isn’t quite like TV’s favorite grimy Boston pub. Rather, it’s the staff’s dynamic personalities and growing list of regulars that give Cedar & Vine sitcom potential. 

Chef Chris Marolda occasionally bangs on the counter and shouts orders at the kitchen staff. His dramatic tendencies are for show and meant to keep the kitchen lively. 

 “I’m cracking the whip to make it fun,” he says.

Marolda, who previously was Gleneagle Country Club’s sous chef, goes out of his way to accommodate customers. He added a cereal bowl to the menu to satisfy one patron’s craving. He bought swordfish to serve a neighborhood family of three once they mentioned seafood was their favorite. 

“How often we change for guests is unlike anywhere we’ve worked,” manager Nicole Dukeman says. 

Owners Jimmy Cannon, Brandon Carter and Sam Howard are Lake Highlands natives who returned to the neighborhood to raise their own families. They knew Cedar & Vine could fill a void in the area’s small but growing restaurant scene. They also knew residents’ expectations would be high.

The restaurant offers wine and craft beer on tap. Howard, a foodie himself, and Marolda collaborated to create the menu, which features simple, yet elegant dishes like brick chicken with whipped potatoes and Faroe Island salmon with couscous. 

“It’s bold flavors, which is modern, served in a simple way, which is classic,” Marolda says.

Photo by Kathy Tran

Ambience: welcoming yet upscale bistroPrice Range: $20-$30 

Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, 

10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday