Met up with Alan Glazen at his Ohio City ABC outpost Friday night and asked him about ABC Uptown’s progress. Glazen says, “We’re on track to open the first week in March. It will be the last ABC to open in Cleveland.” But, he quickly added, “That doesn’t mean we might not open one in Ann Arbor.” If Ann Arbor happens it would be his first restaurant venture outside of Cleveland's inner city.
The "we" he's referring to is his team of business partners; Linda Syrek and Randy Kelley. They are equal partners in their joint business, A-Z Taverns, Inc.
Glazen, Syrek and Kelley are proud that they can prove their commitment to Cleveland's inner city neighborhoods with each new project. Every one of their restaurant investments have been in areas that are trying to redevelop and redefine themselves, including Ohio City, Gordon Square, Uptown and now Waterloo.
He's a man who will need something to do once they turn on the switch in Waterloo with Project Light Switch — a development that plans to open at least seven places in one weekend. He went on to say, "We've created 6O jobs in the inner city. We're about to double that with Project Light Switch."
Glazen says,"Ann Arbor because we love it and we have a very close friend in the business there." He also has a pretty good track record attracting college students to the ABC. Case asked him to open an ABC on campus after their research showed, ABC the Tavern, was the most popular destination among their students. Ann Arbor is the very definition of college town. When asked if the friend's last name was Zingerman, he said, no.
The latest piece of the Waterloo puzzle to take shape was word that Steve Schimoler, Chef/Owner Crop Bistro, is in the midst of negotiations for the Key Bank Building in the Waterloo District.
All of these openings are contingent upon the completion of Waterloo District's streetscape project, which has been delayed and is frustrating some of their efforts. Although, Glazen says, "We're opening Waterloo Tavern (the old Slovenian Workman's Home) with four indoor bocce courts and the Harbor Pub, which will most likely open under a new name, whether the streetscape is complete or not."
When it comes to inner city restaurant development projects, Glazen, Syrek and Kelley prefer to keep them coming.