Gouveia, who is originally from Rhode Island, said he owned restaurants in Palm Beach, Fla. for 18 years before making the move to Cleveland to be near family.
He said it didn’t take long before people began to visit the restaurant.
“Now, we’re building our regulars,” Gouveia said.
Bringing his past experiences to the table, he has built up a steady clientele of “regulars,” including a previous owner of one of the restaurants located in the same downtown storefront.
Where the Cobblestone Grille now stands was at one point home Diamond Lil’s. Other restaurants later occupied the space, which was empty by the time Gouveia was looking for a place to open a Cleveland restaurant.
Diamond Lil’s was in business for about 30 years, and Gouveia said a former owner of that restaurant has thrown her support behind the Cobblestone Grille.
“Her and her family are regulars here,” he said.
Gouveia said he had enjoyed hearing Lillian Lawson’s stories of what the restaurant and downtown were like 30 years ago.
It was being able to hear stories like those that he said made Cleveland quite different from South Florida.
While the lunchtime rush of downtown professionals brings some hustle and bustle, he said he also has couples and families sitting down to enjoy a quiet breakfast or long lunch together, which is a departure from the comings-and-goings of Palm Beach tourists.
While he called the restaurant “cheery and clean” and praised his staff for their service to the diners, he said the food was what has ultimately made many become regulars.
The dishes the Cobblestone Grille has become known for have been meatloaf and fresh cod fish, served either grilled or blackened with spices.
He said adding cod to the menu was evidence of his New England upbringing. He said he tried to make it the way he had always eaten it there.
Currently only open during breakfast and lunch hours, the majority of the menu consists of what can be considered breakfast and lunch fare.
Menu items include all-day breakfast offerings like banana nut or blueberry pancakes, omelets like a “Farmer’s Garden” variety made with seasonal local veggies and cheese and Southern-style biscuits and gravy, along with various baked goods.
Items most people reserve for lunchtime meals include soups, salads, sandwiches, hamburgers and “meat and two” and “meat and three” combinations with options like the aforementioned meatloaf and cod, as well as dishes like roasted turkey and stuffing, grilled chicken and country fried steak, all served with a choice of vegetables.
With coffee that has been sourced from the Chattanooga Coffee Co., the Cobblestone Grille also serves a variety of coffee drinks, including lattes and mochas.
Along one wall of the restaurant space is a long counter used as both a coffee bar and a seating option for people who want a quick bite to eat. Other seating options include booths and tables for those who want to sit comfortably for a longer period of time. Diners can also order their food to go.
No matter how a person chooses to eat, Gouveia said the focus is on keeping the food nice and consistent.
“You can come in now and get a veggie omelet,” Gouveia said. “You come in a couple weeks later, and that’s exactly the same thing.”
Freshness is also a focus. He said all the beef used in the restaurant is ground there, and all the chickens and turkeys served are roasted there, as well. In addition, baked goods are baked onsite.
That’s the way Gouveia, who works in the kitchen himself in addition to overseeing the operation, said he liked his own food to be prepared.
“I enjoy being in the kitchen,” Gouveia said. “It’s like the food I cook at home.”
Growing up, he said his father shared his love of cooking by teaching him to cook as they entertained guests in their home.
He later worked his way up through the restaurant business, starting as a dishwasher and later becoming the owner of five different restaurants. Gouveia said he sold his four Florida restaurants before moving to Tennessee, so the Cobblestone Grille is his main focus.
The Cobblestone Grille is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, visit the restaurant’s page on Facebook or visit www.cobblestonegrille.com.