Village Martini & Wine Bar opened quietly in Chagrin Falls last Friday, March 2, with a well-stocked bar and a dinner menu of large salads, small plates, and entrées like seared ahi tuna and pretzel-crusted chicken.
The talents behind the new endeavor belong to owner and GM Jeff Rumplik and executive chef Brad Cubbal. The duo also operates Clifton Martini & Wine Bar on the near West Side.
The new spot inside Chagrin Falls' Galleria channels a more elegant vibe than the laid-back Clifton, says Cubbal. "We're a little more upscale here — a nice mix of restaurant and bar."
To drink, Cubbal says the lengthy list of $9 martinis has something for every taste: Dry to fruity to dessert-style libations flow freely throughout the evening hours. Also on tap: 9 craft beers and 25 wines by the glass, mainly ranging from $6.50 to $9. Happy-hour prices are in effect from 4 to 6 p.m. and include drink specials and deals on gourmet pizzas.
Cubbal and Rumplik graduated from Chagrin Falls High School in 1997 and have been best friends for 19 years. Now, they are happy to have a foothold on the East Side.
"This is the town we still call home," says Cubbal. "We're really looking forward to seeing all our family and friends — and of course, all our fellow Tigers."
Village Martini & Wine Bar is open Monday through Friday beginning at 4 p.m., and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Find them at 516 East Washington St. Learn more at 440-893-9463 or villagemartini.com.
COOKIN' UP COMPASSION: Cleveland's chefs have turned out in force to give aid, comfort, and cash support to the families of victims of the Chardon High School tragedy. It culminates in a pair of culinary fund-raisers happening Monday, March 19.
"So many chefs have contacted us about helping the families that we thought it made sense to have two events," explains Brian Okin, founder of Dinner in the Dark and chef at Fountain in Moreland HIlls.
In an effort to raise as much money as possible, Cleveland-area chefs will be simultaneously hosting a pair of foodie fund-raisers on opposite sides of town. Dinner in the Dark's event will be at AMP 150 near Hopkins Airport. The other takes place at Flour Italian Kitchen in Moreland Hills.
While Dinner in the Dark events never divulge the chef lineup in advance, they are making an exception for this one — although there will still be plenty of surprises. More than 20 chefs will be on hand at AMP 150. Among them are Rocco Whalen (Fahrenheit), Chris Hodgson (Hodge's, Dim and Den Sum), Mike Nowak (Bar Cento, Market Garden Brewery), Cory Hess (Lincoln Park Bistro), Jim Blevins (Downtown 140), Jeff Jarrett (AMP 150), Anne Harouvis (Good to Go), Kim McCune (Hungry Bee), Lauren Stephenson (Crop), Wendy Thompson (Cookie and a Cupcake), Eric Wells (Skye LaRae), and Brian Reilly (Noodlecat, Greenhouse Tavern).
Items up for bid in an auction include a $500 knife set, a hotel package, theater tickets, and more. Hours are set for 6:30 to 10 p.m.
Across town at Flour, chefs Paul Minnillo and Matt Mytro will also be hosting a grand tasting event featuring more than a dozen high-caliber chefs. That includes Matthew Anderson (Umami), Dante Boccuzzi (Dante, Ginko), Douglas Katz (Fire), Karen Small (Flying Fig), Michael Longo (Harvest Kitchen), Britt-Marie Culey (Coquette Patisserie), Marlin Kaplan (Dragonfly), Brian Doyle (Sow Food), Eric Williams (Momocho), Ricardo Sandoval (Fat Cats, Felice), Matt Mathlage (Light Bistro), Fabio Salerno (Gusto, Lago), and Michael Tolosa (Moxie).
Up for bid is a private dinner for 10 prepared by Michael Symon at a location of the winner's choosing. The Flour event is set for 5 to 8 p.m.
Tickets to both tastings (priced between $75 and $85) are selling fast. Find out more about the Flour event at clevelandchefsforchardon-esearch.eventbrite.com Sign up for Dinner in the Dark at dinnerinthedark-amp-efbevent.eventbrite.com.