Local artist Ian P.E. admits he is a habitual entrepreneur. In recent years he's launched a magazine, temporary art galleries, and atypical art shows. "I'm always looking for a good idea," he explains. His latest? A chili-themed restaurant. Along with his mom and partner, Phyllis Enggasser, P.E. expects to open Palookaville Chili (3900 Lorain Ave., palookavillechili.com) in Ohio City by mid-January. Settled in a former print shop, the restaurant will feature chili in various guises, including meaty and meat-free versions. All will be made from chopped (not ground) meat, fresh peppers, and no packaged spice mixes. Chicken verde with fresh poblano and tomatillo, authentic Texas beef sans beans, and a spicy vegan brew with garbanzos will always be available, along with an ever-changing special. Topping choices include cheese, sour cream, onions, and peppers. Other menu items will include chili dogs, chili-cheese nachos, and tacos. When complete, the 1,000-square-foot space will resemble an indoor version of a backyard patio, complete with "trees." Prices will be in the $5 to $9 range.
Zanzibar Soul Fusion (13114 Shaker Sq., 216-752-1035; zanzibarohio.com) recently opened on Shaker Square, in the space formerly home to Darna Moroccan Cuisine. A member of the Angie's Soul Café family, Zanzibar offers a more upscale version of southern and soul-food specialties. The "fusion" is evident in dishes like collard green and artichoke dip, "soulful" pasta with shrimp and okra, and braised beef with watermelon BBQ sauce. The restaurant serves lunch Friday through Sunday and dinner seven nights.
Chef Jeff Fisher is back at Touch Supper Club (2710 Lorain Ave., 216-631-5200; touchohiocity.com). He says that recent management changes at Taverne of Richfield (3960 Broadview Rd., 330-659-0610; taverneofrichfield.com) forced him out. Expect dinner and brunch updates.
Meanwhile, a similar fate has befallen Michael Herschman over at Menu 6 (12718 Larchmere Blvd., 216-791-6649; menu6.com), where he and owner Said Ouaddaadaa have parted ways. Ouaddaadaa says he intends to add more traditional steaks and seafood. "I am going to make the menu like I envisioned it in the first place," he says.