Thanks in part to a recommendation from his predecessor and mentor, Don Triskett will take over as executive chef of Downtown 140 (140 N. Main St., 330-656-1294, downtown140.com) in Akron. Triskett replaces Shawn Monday, who left to open two new restaurants of his own. This is a homecoming of sorts for Triskett, who was Monday's original sous chef when he opened Downtown 140 seven years ago. Triskett also has worked at Giovanni's, Moxie, and L'Albatros.
"We're sticking with the format of the menu, with smallest, small, and not-so-small plates," Triskett says. "But I have complete creative control to make the menu my own."
Like Monday, the chef relies on fresh, seasonal ingredients, but augments them with global touches. Diners can look forward to new items like phyllo spring rolls filled with Killbuck Valley mushrooms, fresh ginger, shaved asparagus, and Ohio goat cheese. Flash-fried potato gnocchi will be paired with beer-braised short ribs, caramelized pearl onions, and crème fraiche. A twist on tom yum gai will feature halibut, shiitakes, and watercress in a spicy curry broth. Triskett's first day is June 21.
Though Dragonfly (1865 W. 25th St., 216-696-7774, dragonflycleveland.com) opened six months ago, the final pieces are just now falling into place. Owner Jeff Allison says the kitchen, concept, and menu all are nearing completion. "It all started with the great classic cocktail menu that [outgoing] bartender David Willhite wrote for us," says Allison. Using those cocktails as a starting point, the owner came up with the idea for a retro steakhouse. Executive chef Ray McDonald has been tasked with creating the menu. Expect classic cuts, sauces, and sides, most receiving updates. On tap are T-bones, strips, and bone-in filets paired with hollandaise and béarnaise. Sushi chef Kimo Javier (Kimo's Sushi) will prepare rolls from a highly visible sushi bar. Service is expected to begin in mid-July.
"First, we cleaned the hell out of it," says Steve Bodek, new owner of the Hi-Fi club in Lakewood. Next, he brought in a chef, redecorated, and reopened the space as Prog Gastro Lounge (11729 Detroit Ave., 216-228-2800, proggastrolounge.com). Prog combines the "food of a gastropub with the comfort of a lounge," Bodek says. Chef Shawn Miller presides over a menu of globally inspired small and shared plates. Options include shrimp ceviche, fish tacos, and baby back ribs.