Thistledown race track introduces new food menu for restaurant and bistro, Silks

CLEVELAND - With a new food and beverage manager in town, Thistledown has unveiled a new menu for Silks, its restaurant and bistro.

Silk's salmon sandwich will give customers a grilled option instead of the usual breaded and fried fish sandwich. A maple shrimp salad gives a great combination of flavors, not to mention a new appetizer sampler that showcases more homemade items, such as guacamole, picos and tortilla chips.

"Our goal is to take the food quality and guest service to a level of 'wow,'" said Sandra Foote in a news release. "I want to give the proper respect to the nostalgia of this unique location while bringing in the glitz of Las Vegas."

Foote grew up in Cleveland Heights and is thrilled to be working in her hometown. "To be part of the Thistledown rebirth is exciting. Being able to influence the direction of the food and beverage operation here is a welcome challenge. There will be new food concessions and restaurants to suit everyone's taste."

Appetizers on the new Silks menu begin at $8, while sandwiches and burgers range from $8 to $14. Entrees and entrée salads are priced from $10 to $15.

Foote also introduced brunch and a Bloody Mary bar on Sundays, when fans can watch NFL games as well as simulcast racing from around the country. The Sunday brunch is $20 for adults, $8 for children 5 to 12, and no charge for children under 5.

The Bloody Mary bar is priced separately at $7. The a la carte menu is not available on Sundays.

Silks is open from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the live racing season. On Sundays, when the track offers the NFL Sunday Ticket and only simulcast racing, Silks is open from noon to 4 p.m. 

Foote also oversees on-site catering for group events at Thistledown and is in the processing of upgrading those menus as well.

Foote came to the northeast Ohio race track in June from Caesars Entertainment's Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where she was chef of Le Burger Brasserie and managed Nosh, a counter service deli, and Java Coast, a coffee and pastry café.  She began working for Caesars Entertainment in 2007 as a chef tournant for Bally's Las Vegas, Paris Hotel and Casino, and Caesars Palace. 

Foote got her start in her family's business, a farmer's market in Valley View, that offered a full service bakery, deli, garden center and nursery, as well as fresh produce.  

"We had a great lunch crowd, so we began offering daily specials, soups, and catering," she explained. "I essentially taught myself how to bake."

Foote majored in medical anthropology and biology at Case Western Reserve University but detoured into the restaurant business and has been working in the industry since 1982. She was influenced by Rick Bayless, noted for modern interpretations of Mexican fare, and Hubert Keller, known for the nouveau French cuisine of his signature restaurants. But Foote developed her own style as she added others' knowledge to hers.

"Over my career, I've tried to gain knowledge and tricks from every chef I have worked with," she said.  "One of the first chefs I worked with taught me all about soups and sauces, and I've been known as a soup guru."

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