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Bites: Alaturka in Ohio City

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Ohio City's newest ethnic eatery, Alaturka, opened last week at 1917 West 25th St. Operated by Yashar Yildirim, who introduced Cleveland Heights to Turkish cuisine at Anatolia Café, the spot offers the popular lineup of Mediterranean-style soups, spreads, salads, and grilled meats.

Red lentil soup and shepherd's salad share menu space with creamy dips like labna and hummus. Starters include falafel and the ever-popular sigara borek, slender fried pastry cigars filled with feta and parsley. And among entrées, the housemade doner, the Turkish version of gyro, is served in sandwiches, on rice, or with yogurt.

Alaturka is open for lunch and dinner. For more info, call 216-298-9001 or go to alaturka25.com.

When Bar Symon closed this past fall, employees scattered like so many fennel seeds. At least two landed at Plank Road Tavern, which opened December 2 in the old Panini's at the Riviera spot in Lakewood. That includes manager Matt Raynor and chef Justin Butterfield, who describes the menu as "contemporary rustic."

Build-your-own burgers are the main draw here, with $5 buying a quarter-pound of fresh ground meat with a choice of cheese, bun, and three toppings, including caramelized onions, portabella mushrooms, pickled red onions, pepper bacon, or a fried egg.

Starters include IPA-battered pickle spears, fried green tomatoes, and roasted pork chili. Entrées change often, and a pizza oven is on the way.

To go with, a state-of-the-art tap system dispenses an array of Midwestern craft beers.

"We're still flying under the radar," says Raynor. "We don't even have our sign up yet."

The tavern is at 16719 Detroit Ave. For more info, call 216-221-5900 or visit them on Facebook.

Philomena's Ristorante in Valley View closed recently after just six months in business. Despite a steady following and a popular Sunday Grand Brunch, business never managed to overtake overhead, according to a former staffer. — Trattner

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