As the Cleveland Airport Marriott (4277 W. 150th St.) wraps up an ambitious $20 million hotel-wide makeover, finishing touches are being made to the restaurant. Replacing the 10-year-old Jack's Steakhouse will be AMP 150, a contemporary American restaurant. The hotel's owners have brought in consulting chef Dean James Max to develop the concept. Max is also associated with 3030 Ocean in Ft. Lauderdale, and Latitude 41 in Columbus — both hotel restaurants. "AMP 150 stands for America's modern palette at 150th Street," explains the chef. "Like Latitude and 3030, the restaurant will be outside the box of what we normally expect from hotel restaurants." The totally reconstructed lobby will better connect with the restaurant, providing a blending of the two. "We really opened it up to create a fun and exciting vibe," says Max. He describes the food as modern regional American, and he is a proponent of farm-to-table cuisine. (He will use some of the producers that supply his Columbus restaurant while adding local ones.) Few dishes on the menu will climb above $20, and a wide variety of small plates will offer diversity. Diners might see Great Lakes walleye with summer ratatouille, red-wine short rib with celery-root puree and double brioche burger with Ohio cheddar and bacon. Norman Colley will serve as chef de cuisine. "There are a lot of chefs in Cleveland doing some very cool things," adds Max. "I look forward to being a part of it." Look for a late-summer opening.
Time is running out to purchase tickets for the 2009 Food & Wine Celebration, held annually at the Culinary Vegetable Institute (12304 State Rte. 13) in Milan. This massive food and wine extravaganza, which benefits the Veggie U program, features nearly 40 top chefs from across the country and beyond (including a dozen from Cleveland). Held from 4-9 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, the event will feature silent auctions, a celebrity chef cook-off and the main attraction — a grand tasting of food and wine. To purchase tickets ($145 per person) call 419.499.7500 or visit veggieu.org.
Fans of the great Presto Sandwiches (21984 Lorain Rd., 440.356.6320) will no longer have to travel to Fairview Park to enjoy a bowl of spicy tomato and blue cheese soup and a meaty Yo! Adrian. Look for Presto to open a second location at 401 Euclid Ave., in the Old Arcade, in less than a week. The menu, says ownership, will be the same.