Dining » Food Features

Bites: Randy Kelley and Linda Syrek -- Power Food Couple

And more local food news

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The remarkable turnaround at ABC Tavern (1872 W. 25th St., 216.861.3857) is no happy accident. By combining the right space, neighborhood, crew, and menu, husband-and-wife team Randy Kelley and Linda Syrek transformed a sleepy saloon into one of this city's liveliest joints. Both vets of the service-industry scene, they also earn credit for turning around the West Side Market Café (1979 W. 25th St., 216.579.6800, westsidemarketcafe.com), which they took over almost four years ago. Along with partner Alan Glazen, the team is ready for its next act: They recently signed a lease to take over the long-closed Perry's Family Restaurant (6421 Detroit Ave.), located in Detroit-Shoreway next to Cleveland Public Theatre.

"We were originally looking at the City Grill space," says Kelley. "And right there across the ding-dang street is Perry's!" The sturdy old building is a much better fit, he says. Large storefront windows look out onto busy Detroit Avenue. Inside there are exposed brick walls, tile floors, and attractive brick archways that separate the dining room from the kitchen. Expected to open in fall, XYZ Tavern "will be the neighborhood tavern for Gordon Square," Kelley promises. While the menu is far from set, Kelley says diners can expect an eatery unlike those already in the neighborhood. "That area is so hot," he says. "There is a zero percent chance of failure."

On Thursday, April 22, the restaurant formerly known as Metropolitan Café reopens to the public as Metro Bar + Kitchen (1352 W. 6th St., 216.241.1300, metrobarandkitchen.com). Following a four-month, $500,000 facelift, the Warehouse District eatery will unveil a dramatic new look, feel, and menu. "The economy is suffering, but folks still want to go out and have a good time," says Joe Saccone of the Hyde Park Restaurant Group. Our challenge was to build a place with all the bells and whistles, while maintaining reasonable price points for today's customer."

In addition to casual American classics like ribs, chicken, and steaks, the menu adopts popular culinary trends like sharable starters, gourmet burgers, creative flatbreads, and booze-spiked milkshakes. To complement the expanded, two-level island bar, there is a greatly improved cocktail and craft-beer selection. Next month, Metro will christen its swanky new sidewalk patio, complete with sliding-glass doors, outdoor bar, and awning-covered soft seating.

dining@clevescene.com

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