Loosen your belts, Cleveland diners and drinkers: The next few weeks and months will be filled with gobs of restaurant, bar and brewery openings. If you thought 2016, which brought the arrival of Salt, Mabel's, The Plum, Proper Pig, and Parker's Downtown, to name just a few, was a frenetic year for new eateries, just wait 'til this summer when no fewer than 26 new spots will debut from east to west. Buckle up, or, er, unbuckle, as the case may be. It's shaping up to be a tremendous, delicious year.
Chow Chow at the Parkview
It's been a year and a half since Joseph Zegarac opened the popular Southern-styled shop Chow Chow Kitchen in Lakewood, and almost since the beginning the young chef was wondering where it all might lead. Expansion was the obvious choice, given the shop's almost nonexistent dining room.
"I've met with people to discuss partnering up and I just get anxiety about more work just falling on me," he says. "I never got the idea that someone would have my back and work with me until this situation came up."
"This situation" is a new partnership with Mike Plonski of Parkview Nite Club. You can now find Zegarac running Chow Chow at the Parkview.
"Basically, we're going to take pretty much everything that we love doing on both sides and collage it together," says Zegarac. Parkview diners will get to enjoy Chow Chow staples on the reg, like Winner Dinner fried chicken and Nashville hot chicken, that crimson-crusted, devilishly spicy variation on a theme.
Terrestrial Brewing Company
Since the Battery Park neighborhood was developed more than 10 years ago, the eastern half of the historic smokestack-topped powerhouse building has remained vacant. That changed last month when Terrestrial Brewing Company (7524 Father Frascati) took up residence within those red brick walls. The project, more than two years in the making, is from partners Ryan Bennett and Ralph Sgro.
Sgro, who is the brewer, was the opening GM at Platform Beer, where he helped finish construction of that space and get it up and running.
"Since I started home brewing, this has been a dream of mine," he says.
The owners were attracted to the building, formerly part of the Eveready Battery complex, and the proximity to Edgewater Park. But what appeals most to the owners is the number of current and future residents in the immediate area.
"We had the opportunity to go out to Portland, Oregon, to do a workshop with Portland Kettle Works [the brewing equipment manufacturer]," Sgro says. "Just seeing the beer scene there, it was very similar to Cleveland. All these breweries pop up all the time there and it seemed like each brewery had its own little neighborhood that made it their own."
Most of the eight or so beers on tap now are ales, and some will be one-offs and small-scale experimental creations like single-keg infusions. The 95-seat taproom is pet- and family-friendly. There is no kitchen; instead guests can take advantage of the myriad local restaurants nearby like CHA Pizza Kitchen, Graffiti, Vita Urbana, Local West and Banter.
Hook & Hoof
For the past year, partners Hunter Toth and Chaz Bloom have been working to convert the old Fanucce's pizza shop (4125 Erie St.) in downtown Willoughby into Hook & Hoof, a New American kitchen, which recently opened.
"I walked in the building and immediately fell in love with the old brick and character," Toth notes. "I had this idea to build an old New York or Boston-style restaurant, with a long and tall room. I didn't want miles of square feet."
The concept for the restaurant melds the chef's experiences growing up in a family that ran a grocery store, where food and butchery were everyday concepts, with his culinary travels around the country.
"I'll use all the techniques from butchers and fishmongers and all the ingredients that they would take home and translate them into timeless dishes using modern techniques and updated plating," he says.
Toth is careful to not out-chef the local clientele, which won't be difficult considering that his culinary approach is grounded in tradition. "I think our menu is super-approachable to not only people who wouldn't call themselves foodies, but also I think foodies will appreciate that I'm using different parts of the animal that might not necessarily be done for dishes."
OPENING SOON AND THROUGH THE SPRING
Forest City ShuffleboardAfter nearly a year of construction, Jim Miketo is putting the finishing touches on Forest City Shuffleboard Arena and Bar (4506 Lorain Ave.), a gorgeous new entertainment option on the Ohio City-Detroit Shoreway border. A complete gut-and-rebuild job on the former Supermercado Rico building on Lorain at West 45th has produced a spacious, but comfortable social club with indoor shuffleboard, bar and kitchen. The business is on track for a mid-May opening.
Miketo, a Cleveland native and graduate of St. Ed's, lived in New York for eight years. It was there that he visited Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Brooklyn and became enamored by the game and its followers.
"It's one of those things that when you get people out there for the first time they really enjoy the experience," he explains. "There's really no physical exertion, there are low barriers to entry, and you're able to have a few drinks while playing competitively against your friends."
The building features five indoor and two outdoor courts. The "vintage varsity" boasts collegiate-style details like original baseball stadium seating, an old but functional scoreboard from Magnificat High, bleacher-board backbar, high-tops fabricated from basketball court hardwood, and a jumbotron that will hang from the rafters.
A fully equipped kitchen space, with service windows accessible from both inside and the outdoor patio, will be staffed by a rotating roster of local talent at all times.
Out front, the two outdoor shuffleboard courts will be flanked by a patio topped with green athletic turf keep the sports theme consistent.
Owners Lawrence Harris and Srey Ny, a refugee of Cambodia who grew up in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, visited numerous similarly styled eateries throughout the country in preparation for this project.
Sometimes referred to as Cajun-style seafood, boiling seafood, or even the less-than-tantalizing "seafood dump," these fun, spirited restaurants have been proliferating across the nation after originating down south and out west. All feature seafood – almost always shellfish – that is steamed and then tossed in a bag with spices and delivered to the table. Diners can "dump" the contents of the bag directly onto the wax paper-covered tables or pluck it straight from the bag.
Meals will be built around crawfish, whole crab, head-on shrimp and lobster, which is steamed and tossed with a choice of flavors and spice levels. Flavors range from Cajun to lemon pepper, and the spice levels from mild to incendiary. Bags usually also contain andouille sausage, corn and potatoes.
Boiler 65 will open this week in Gordon Square.
That aforementioned boom in boiling seafood restaurants? It's extending to the east side as well.
Ever since Winking Lizard closed its doors on Coventry last summer after nearly 20 years, there has been a flurry of activity inside the space. Soon, all that prep activity will be done and Seafood Shake, much in the vein of Boiling Seafood on Lee Road and Boiler 65 in Detroit-Shoreway will debut.
Since taking possession, the owner has completely gutted the 3,000-square-foot space. Built-in booths are covered with awnings to lend a casual "outdoor picnic feel" to the interior.
A 12-foot-long, three-level fish tank will be filled with live seafood like lobster, Dungeness crabs, and other fish. In-season specials like live king crab and crawfish will join the usual line-up of oysters and shrimp. All of it will be sold by the piece or pound and is prepared in one of a couple ways, Cajun style or fried.
Look for Seafood Shake to open sometime in May.
Hi and Dry
Speaking of games... The curtains came down on Press Wine Bar (2221 Professor Ave., 216-566-9463) this winter, but owner John Owen was ready with a plan for the space with a springtime debut including a new name, concept, and design.
The new concept has an old name: the Hi and Dry, which is the name of the tavern that the Southside replaced. Sherman DeLozier, Southside owner and partner to Owen, says the name is intended as a tribute.
"I had my first date with my wife at the Hi and Dry, so it's always had a special place in my heart," he says.
The largest physical changes will take place in the large back room. That's where approximately four duckpin bowling lanes will be installed. Popular along the East Coast, duckpin features 10 short, squat pins and softball-sized balls with no finger holes. Bowlers get three balls per frame instead of the usual two. String-based pinsetters will right the fallen pins.
DeLozier, who admits that fine-dining was never really his thing, says that he appreciates the time and place when everything wasn't so high-brow in Tremont.
"I'd love to bring some of those elements back," he says.
Look for the Hi and Dry to begin the fun in the coming weeks.
No restaurant project in recent — or distant, for that matter — memory comes close to Cru Uncorked with respect to spare-no-expense construction. The multi-million-dollar passion project in Moreland Hills is the vision and triumph of Bill Cutler, along with parents Sarah and Sandy, who is the retired CEO of Eaton Corp.
"Our biggest word here is experience," Bill Cutler explains. "There's an experience when you arrive at the restaurant. There's an experience when you walk into the restaurant. There's an experience when you walk into the dining room. And there's an experience when you go into the lounge."
Just 108 chairs are divided among those five spaces and servers will be responsible for no more than 14 guests at a time, guaranteeing that no request goes unheeded.
John Stropki, a classically trained French chef, will preside over a seasonal, Continental-style menu that favors high-end ingredients like foie gras, lobster, duck and tenderloin.
Appetizers, priced $10 to $20, include grass-fed beef tartare with truffle caviar and a quail egg; bordelaise-glazed escargot with a lemon herb salad; and lobster bisque with lobster meat and foam. Entrees on the spring menu, priced $30 to $50, include a sweet pea ravioli with braised radishes and wild mushrooms; striped sea bass with artichoke emulsion and favas; and a lavender-scented duck breast with duck confit-stuffed onions and hazelnut farro.
Fitting for a restaurant named Cru, a 6,000-bottle, 215-label wine inventory is spread among multiple temperature-controlled cellars and displays.
Cru debuts in mid-May.
Marble Room Steak and Raw Bar
When Marble Room Steak and Raw Bar opens downtown this month or next, it will immediately jump to the front of the line in terms of Cleveland's most impressive dining rooms. The dramatic restaurant inside the historic bank lobby of the Garfield Building at East Sixth and Euclid was going to become the home of Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse. When that deal fell through, there was little doubt who would step in to fill its shoes.
"There's too much at stake – you can't screw it up," explains Malisse Sinito, who along with husband Frank will be the ones building out and operating the Marble Room (623 Euclid Ave.). The pair also own Lockkeepers restaurant in Valley View, and Frank is CEO of Cleveland-based Millennia Companies, the owner of the building.
Guests who step off Euclid Avenue and spin their way through the revolving door will be floored by the immense volume of the room, a high-ceilinged space that exceeds 10,000 square feet.
Twin lounges with elegant soft seating will flank the central host stand. To the right will be a bar devoted to sushi and raw bar. To the left, a bowed 20-seat marble bar is positioned between columns, above which will rise a two-story wine cellar accessed via sliding ladder. Booth seating will be tucked in between columns on both sides of the room.
For those who don't want a big, juicy USDA Prime porterhouse, there will be fresh-shucked oysters on the half shell, fresh-cut sushi, small plates and plenty of seafood.
The menu and kitchen will be overseen by Alberto Leandri, the Venice-born chef who for the past four years has been executive chef at Lockkeepers.
The Literary Tavern
For 30 years, the property at 1031 Literary Road in the heart of Tremont was known as the Literary Café, or "the Lit" for short. This past fall, Ross Valenti purchased the building from longtime owners Andy Timithy and Linda Baldizzi. Valenti, a Tremont resident who also operates the Broadview Heights businesses D'Agnese's and Cantine, appreciates the building's history, both architecturally and operationally, and intends to honor it.
"I want to keep the integrity of what it was, because I'm old enough to remember the old Hi and Dry and the Starkweather – the transitional years," he says, noting a couple neighborhood classics that were drastically changed.
The bulk of the improvements are cosmetic, he says, with a storefront renovation chief among them. His goal for the 50-seat café, which will go by the new moniker the Literary Tavern, is to create a casual, comfortable and relevant place for neighbors to enjoy themselves.
"Like a modern take on a shot-and-a-beer bar," Valenti says. "The idea is to have the kind of place I would like to go to. Not a concept-heavy place; it's not a gastro-tavern, it's not a wine bar, it's not a cocktail lounge. It's just a neighborhood tavern."
Things are coming together quickly at Noble Beast Brewery, the craft brewery and taproom from Shaun Yasaki. In just a handful of years, Yasaki has moved from wedding photographer to cellar rat at Fat Head's, to opening brewer at Platform Beer, where he worked for a year and a half. He left that post to open up a place of his own.
That place turned out to be a 4,800-square-foot craft brewery at 1470 Lakeside, on the northeastern edge of downtown in what used to be a storage facility. Now the space features a custom designed 10-barrel brewhouse from Portland Kettle Works.
Though it is just blocks from the heart of downtown, its location on Lakeside feels like an entirely different neighborhood, where views of the lake and sturdy brick warehouses dominate the landscape
Yasaki plans to open in May with a lineup of five beers and grow from there. The name Noble Beast, he explains, is an allusion to the style of beers he intends to brew.
"It will be a split between noble, classic beers like traditional German and Belgian styles and the crazy American styles."
Chef James Redford, who has spent the last four years working for Ben Bebenroth and Spice Catering, will preside over a menu of "locally sourced pub fare."
Working Class Brewery and Taproom
"It's full-steam ahead right now," Richard Skains says about Working Class Brewery (17448 Lorain Ave., 216-965-2569), a new brewery and taproom that he's opening with partner Carmen Rusoniello.
The former Cleveland teacher and band director is building out a 3,600-square-foot space in Kamm's Plaza. The rear third of the property will be home to the 10-barrel brewhouse and six fermenters. The front two thirds will be the site of the 70-seat taproom. There will be no kitchen; guests will be invited to bring in food from area restaurants if they wish.
Skains says that as an avid homebrewer with summers off, he began working part-time at local breweries like Rocky River and Fat Head's.
"I'm at the age where I'm transitioning from one profession to another and it really only makes sense to be an owner," he says.
When it opens soon, Working Class initially will produce five year-round styles, as well as seasonals and experimental one-offs. Beers will be sold onsite, but also canned and kegged for regional distribution.
A year and a half ago, David Ina and his parents Ghada and Albert opened Al's Deli (1717 E. 9th St., 216-589-9223) on the main floor of the Residences at 1717. That popular deli is one of the few places in town where a diner can order a corned beef sandwich alongside a homemade falafel pita.
"Some days we sell more chicken shawarma than we do Reubens," Ina explains. "It amazes me the amount of traffic that comes in particularly for the Middle Eastern food, which makes us really confident with this new concept."
That new concept is Zaytoon Lebanese Kitchen, a Middle Eastern café that will open this spring in the former Huron Square Deli space (1150 Huron Rd. E.) in the Halle Building.
Zaytoon will open early, offering Turkish coffee and Lebanese pastries like namoura, dense semolina bars flavored with orange blossom water, and kunafa in ka'ak, bubbling sweet cheese baked with shredded phyllo and tucked into sesame bread.
The lunch menu will feature lentil soup, salads like tabbouleh and fattoush, vegetarian and beef-filled grape leaves, spinach pies and meat pies, falafel, and beef and chicken shawarma rolled into pita sandwiches.
Back in December of 2015 we shared the news that Fisher's Tavern (718 S.O.M. Center Rd.), the "oldest restaurant in Mayfield," was closing after 82 years in business. The owners had decided that the time was right to sell, which they did to restaurateur Carl Quagliata, the man behind such classics as Piccolo Mondo and Giovanni's Ristorante.
In the coming weeks, Quagliata and chef Zachary Ladner will open Smokin Q's, a barbecue restaurant serving smoked meats and sides as well as lighter fare, lunch-appropriate salads and sandwiches.
In addition to growing up in Texas and eating barbecue, Ladner says that he worked in a restaurant that focused heavily on smoked meats. Given his roots, the chef will certainly smoke beef, but he also recognizes our local fondness for pork, so that will find a place on the menu as well. All will be smoked using real wood, he promises.
Rood Food and Pie
Brian Ruthsatz is a Cleveland native who's been itching to get back into the restaurant game since his days as an operator in Chicago. He'll do just that come June, when Rood Food & Pie (17001 Madison Ave.) opens in the West Madison neighborhood of Lakewood.
Rood Food will be an all-day café that straddles the line between breakfast and dinner, sweet and savory, classic and contemporary. What attracted Ruthsatz to this particular piece of property was the roomy back area that will serve as the on-site bakery.
In the morning, Rood will serve light breakfasts of coffee, espresso and tea with pastries, overnight oats, scotch eggs, and pie. Lunch might feature biscuits, savory chicken potpies with fresh herbs, and smashed toasts creamed with avocado, basil-tomatoes and/or meats. Dinner will offer small plates like build-your-own slider flights on house-baked rolls. Items like refried jerk chicken, brisket and sloppy tofu will be paired with fresh-baked milk bread rolls or punchy curry rolls.
"The other piece of this, obviously, is the pie," says Ruthsatz. "We want people to segue into pie. When you talk about pie, people smile."
An in-house pastry chef will put a modern spin on classic pie recipes.
A few seasonal options might include peach with a green tea crust, blueberry chamomile, apple with Ohio maple syrup, and lemon meringue with a raspberry bottom.
Since the summer of 2013, Luca Italian Cuisine (2100 Superior Viaduct, 216-862-2761) has been attracting lovers of fine food and atmosphere to the Superior Viaduct, where magical skyline views combine with gourmet Italian food and wine to create truly memorable nights.
Come mid-summer, owners Luca and Lola Sema will open a second location, this one in Westlake at the former Viva Fernando/Viva Barcelona spot (24600 Detroit Rd.). Following a total renovation of the space, Luca West will debut with a similar menu and wine program to the downtown location.
A year and a half ago. Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine closed its doors after 20 years. The stand-alone building was almost immediately purchased by local business owner Yashar Yildirim, who took his time searching for a suitable tenant for the space near the Cedar Lee Theatre.
That search ended last summer when brothers Josh and Jason Sweet purchased the building to open Boss Dog Brewing (2179 Lee Rd.), a 10-barrel brewery and restaurant that should plug a gaping hole in the immediate landscape.
"We've been looking for the right space for two years," says Josh. "We wanted to stick to the East Side; we're Heights people, both my parents went to Heights High."
To get to this point, the brothers played the ultimate long game, starting down a path five years ago with this exact end game in mind.
"We started out as your average homebrewers, doing it on our stove," explains Josh.
Boss Dog beers will be sold exclusively onsite to begin with. As for the style of beer, Josh says they won't likely be timid.
"Definitely more on the bold side," he says. "We love hoppy beers, and coming from Fat Head's, their beers are pretty hop-forward. But we'll do a lot of different styles."
The decision to include a full-service restaurant stems from the fact that the space is roomy but also the nature of the surrounding neighborhood.
"We want to be a community centered place and I think that lends itself to an actual sit-down restaurant with good food and greet beer."
Diners can expect gastropub-style fare when Boss Dog opens its doors this summer.
Citizen Pie, Ohio City Version
The popular Neapolitan-style pizza shop Citizen Pie (15710 Waterloo Rd., 216-417-2742) is expanding and you can basically hear the whole west side of town squeal in delight. The team has inked a deal to open a second location, this one in the SoLo neighborhood of Ohio City, a block or so south of the West Side Market. The original in Collinwood continues to exceed the expectations of both the owners and customers.
"It's just this tiny little place, but we have become a destination," says owner Claudia Young.
The team, which also includes chef Vytauras Sasnauskas and partner Paulius Nasvytis, will be dishing up the same great wood-fired pies in an eatery twice the size of the original when it opens this summer.
"It's going to be pretty much along the same lines, but each shop will have its own flavor and vibe," says Young.
New additions will include a few salads and Saltimbocca Neapolitan sandwiches, which basically take all the usual pizza ingredients and assemble them into sandwich form. Think wood-fired pizza dough for bread filled with mozzarella, arugula, tomatoes and prosciutto, which will be sliced in house on a shiny new slicer. Also new to the roster will be pizza fritta, a Neapolitan street food that quickly deep fries a stuffed double-dough pie.
Saucy Brew Works
Hingetown recently welcomed Spaces Gallery as one of its newest attractions. Another marquee addition will be opening soon: Saucy Brew Works from brewer Eric Anderson, formerly of Butcher and the Brewer, and partner Brent Zimmerman.
Saucy promises to provide a fun, casual brewery and self-serve pizza concept in the old Steelman Building on Detroit and West 29th.
By self-serve, Anderson means that customers will place their orders for beer and food up at the counter and grab seats in the open, industrial space. Based on the popular West Coast chain Pizza Port, the concept employs pizza ovens with baking stone conveyor belts that bake pies in less than two minutes.
"They will be New Haven-style: medium-thin crust with lots of sauce and toppings," says Anderson.
The name obviously refers to pizza sauce, but it also is a reference to Anderson's at-times unconventional brewing practices. This is the man, after all, who concocted a white stout called Albino.
"It's a double entendre," he says. "Pizza is saucy, but it also refers to the way I approach beer with a little irreverence."
In addition to the sours, and a full slate of classic styles, Anderson will push the boundaries when it comes to experimental beers and hybrids that straddle the line between beer and wine. He's a graduate of the Master Brewing Program at the Siebel Institute of Technology, the nation's oldest brewing school.
"I'll use my microbiology background to make some mixed-yeast fermentations to create some new flavor profiles that just don't exist with standard off-the-shelf yeasts," he explains.
Xinji Noodle Bar
The boom along Lorain Avenue in Ohio City just keeps on going. Soon, a Japanese-style noodle shop will join Platform Beer, The Grocery, Herb'n Twine, the Plum, Jack Flaps and Ohio City Provisions in that part of the neighborhood.
Owner Shuxin Liu, a cook of two years at Momocho, will open Xinji Noodle Bar (4211 Lorain Ave.), an ambitious farm-to-bowl eatery. When it opens this summer, the restaurant will specialize in Japanese-style ramen, Korean-style fried chicken, smoked chicken wings and steamed buns.
Liu says that each week, he'll bring in whole pigs to use for the meat, broth and side dishes. The fat-and-gelatin-rich pork broth will be supplemented with meat from the belly, shoulder and neck, noodles, and traditional accompaniments like soy egg, scallions, bamboo shoots and wood ear mushrooms. What's not used for the ramen will be crafted into charcuterie-style appetizers.
He also intends to expand the menu from just ramen, Korean-style fried chicken and steamed buns to include small entrée dishes as he grows the business.
The bar will focus mainly on beer and sake, but will offer a few wines as well.
LBM, a Cocktail Bar and Kitchen
For the past six years Eric Ho has worked at Melt in Lakewood, making his way up every rung of the industry ladder. Before the end of the year, he'll take the next big step when he becomes an owner.
When it opens this summer, L.B.M. (you'll have to find out what it stands for yourself) will be a casual cocktail bar with a full-service kitchen and chef. The inspiration for the concept originated in Chicago, says Ho.
"Scofflaw in Chicago is my favorite bar," he explains.
Ho says that his spot will utilize the same high-quality ingredients and talent of other cocktail bars, but at a price point that makes it more of an everyday type of place.
"A lot of it comes from the fact that I don't have a bar that I'm comfortable sitting at," he adds. "There are plenty of restaurants that have nice bars, but they close at 10 or 11 o'clock. And the ones that do go until 2:30 sometimes hurt the wallet a little bit. The drinks are really good but I can only go to them like once every three months or so."
A full-service kitchen, run by an as-yet-unnamed chef, will prepare a menu of progressive American small plates.
The 1,300-square-foot interior will have the look and feel of a "Viking drinking hall," notes Ho. Think chunky woods, plenty of taxidermy, masculine as heck.
Il Rione Pizzeria
Most of us are familiar with Cleveland's well-known Little Italy neighborhood on the east side of town. But few of us know the history behind Cleveland's west side Little Italy, clustered north of Detroit between W. 65th and 69th streets
Along with partner Brian Moss, Holleran will channel that history with a new addition in an old billiard hall turned apartment building on W. 65th – directly across the street from Stone Mad Pub - Il Rione Pizzeria (1303 W. 65th St.). The two have been developing the project since they worked together at Stone Mad.
Holleran grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey, and says that he's been lamenting the lack of what he calls "real New York/New Jersey-style pizza" since he moved to Cleveland a decade ago.
"My goal was to try and replicate Spirito's in Elizabeth, New Jersey," he says. "If you were to combine Spirito's and Patsy's Pizza [in New York], that's the ultimate goal."
To Holleran, pizza perfection is a 16-inch pie baked in a Blodgett deck oven. It comes out with a crispy bottom – "more like a baguette kind of dough" – and crispy crust enriched with a touch of olive oil.
"There will be nothing creative about our place," says Holleran. "We are not trying to be fancy-pants, but we don't want to be fast food either."
There will be beer, wine and a full bar, but don't expect a menu of Manhattans and Sazeracs.
Because this project has been percolating for so long, Holleran says that he and his partner have watched in trepidation as new places continue to open up all around them.
"Every time another pizza place or place that has pizza opens up we'd freak out and say, 'Somebody else is going to be the pizza people here!'" he says. "But then we'd go down and try it and say that's totally not us, this is not even close to who we are, what we want to do, and how we want to make it. "
Bad Tom Smith
There'd been chatter on the street that Bad Tom Smith Brewing Co., a small Cincinnati-based brewery, was looking to plant a flag in Ohio City. Now we know when – and where – that Northeast Ohio taproom will open.
Local operator Stephen Fellows said that the process of converting Weenie a Go Go (1836 W. 25th St.), a former hot dog diner, into a small brewery and taproom is well underway and the beers, both brewed on site and shipped in from the Cincy brewery, should be flowing soon.
Nick Seagle has been home brewing for just over six years, but he says the time has come to make the leap. He'll be taking that jump with partner Tom Mitchell, when the pair opens Headtrip Brewery this summer on the Stow-Hudson border.
The Bainbridge and Cuyahoga Falls owners, both in their early 30s, are starting out small, both in terms of space and equipment. The 1,500-square-foot space in the Stow Hudson Towne Centre, a former Guava Juice Bar, will feature a small brewery and taproom. The operation will be open weekends only.
"We're definitely nano," Seagle says. "We are building a three-barrel system but will start with barrel-and-a-half batches."
"Small brewery, big dreams," adds Mitchell.
A selection of six draft beers, a few core flavors plus ever-changing varieties, will include Belgians, stouts, porters, wheats and tart, sour-like fruit beers.
The guys say that as craft beer drinkers they grew tired of having no options in their own backyard. The closest brewery, MadCap Brew Co., is located 20 minutes away in Kent.
"This is a community that is starved for things to do," Mitchell points out. "We have to drive to Akron or to Cuyahoga Falls or to Hudson."
Progress is picking up steam at the former Komorowski Funeral Home building (2258 Professor Ave.) in Tremont, which was gutted and rebuilt to accommodate a new and improved Visible Voice Books and Crust (1020 Kenilworth Ave., 216-583-0257) pizzeria.
Ferrante purchased the spacious three-level structure in the heart of Tremont, and when the building reopens this summer it will feature a second-floor bookstore, a main floor pizzeria, and a spacious back patio.
New to the Crust operation – in addition to square footage and air conditioning – will be a bar and liquor license. To accommodate the move, Crust owner Mike Griffin will shutter the small five-year-old shop down the road