Lakewood residents have been seeing activity inside the old Bavarian Pastry Shop. At first blush, the goings-on appear restaurant-related, with contented customers enjoying wine and freshly prepared food in a storefront dining room. The major difference: These guests cooked their own meal. For six years, Doug Zimmer and Ruth Kostadinov ran Gatherings, a traditional catering company that worked out of clients' homes and rented kitchens. In April, the pair decided to find a place of their own. In addition to supplying a permanent workspace, Gatherings Kitchen (17004 Madison Ave., 216.228.2285, gatheringskitchen.com) has allowed the partners to launch the Friday Night Supper Club. The weekly three-hour events start in the kitchen, where 12 students participate in an immersive cooking class. When it's time to eat, everybody breaks bread at a large communal table. Leftovers and recipe sheets go home with the guests. "Cooking-class students always take away more when it's a hands-on experience, as opposed to a demonstration-based one," explains Kostadinov. "We felt these suppers were a great way to combine learning about food with a pleasant social get-together." Kostadinov says the informality of these classes allows guests to be as involved as they care to be. May's menu had students cleaning artichokes, rolling gnocchi and frenching lamb racks. The dinners are held weekly through fall. Cost is $50 per person. BYOB. Check the website for more info.
In April, Brian Klopp shuttered his popular Brecksville eatery 2182 Bistro and Wine Bar (8918 Brecksville Rd., 440.717.9463), which he opened in August 2006. Last weekend, it reopened under new ownership. Kevin Powers, a chef who most recently worked at Tinkers Creek Road Tavern, is the bistro's new chef-owner, a move that immediately improves the bottom line. The name has also become more efficient. "We are now just 2182," explains Powers. "The reason I dropped the "bistro and wine bar" is because I didn't want to limit myself to solely French food." Besides some small cosmetic changes, the biggest modifications were reserved for the menu. Powers ditched the small-plate format in favor of a more traditional approach. "We are a white-linen, fine-dining, course-style restaurant," he says. Diners can expect more seafood, steaks and pasta on the menu — like cioppino, steak au poivre and Colorado lamb chops. Wine is no longer sold at retail plus corkage, but Powers promises reasonable prices. Wine tastings will begin soon.