The only way I was going to do this was if I found a great chef," says Dante Boccuzzi, explaining what led him to embark on his fourth restaurant.
That restaurant is DBA, which stands for Dante Boccuzzi Akron. When it opens in late spring or early summer, DBA will bring Boccuzzi's unique brand of fine dining to the Akron space that formerly housed VegiTerranean, Chrissie Hynde's vegan restaurant that closed this fall after four years.
"It will be the same idea as Dante in Tremont, but more modern because that's what the space is," says the chef. "There will be a cool bar, lots of small plates: options so that you can make your own tasting menu."
Torsten Schulz, a friend and chef who worked with Boccuzzi at Nobu Milan, will head up the DBA kitchen. He will be relocating to the area following stints in Washington, D.C.; China; Las Vegas; Spain; and Portugal.
In addition to Tremont's Dante (2247 Professor Ave., 216-274-1200) and Ginko (2247 Professor Ave., 216-274-1202) restaurants, Boccuzzi is gearing up to open D.C. Pasta Co. in Strongsville this January.
"All of these opportunities happened simultaneously," says the chef.
TOAST OF THE TOWN: Cleveland attorney and food lover Jill Davis has been working behind the scenes for a few years now to open the wine bar of her dreams. Finally, that work is about to pay off.
When Toast opens this spring in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, it will be a 65-seat wine bar in a former family-run bakery. Because the building is near a church, it took some serious negotiations to acquire a liquor license. With that hurdle behind her, Davis can begin the construction phase.
Davis, host of the popular Ghetto Gourmet dinner series, says she is shooting for a warm, cozy, but industrial vibe. Toast will stock "small labels — good-value stuff you can't find in grocery stores." The food will be small plates, built almost exclusively of locally sourced food, some grown by the owners themselves.
You'll find Toast at 1365 West 65th St.
DOWNTOWN PICKLE: After one too many late nights, Josh Kabat is getting out of the bar biz. He has sold his share of Reddstone, the Battery Park bar he founded five years ago. Next up: Sandwiches. "I love sandwiches, and you can't really get a good one downtown," Kabat explains. "So I figured I'd make my own."
Slated to open by mid-January, The Cleveland Pickle will take over the former home of Arabica at East Ninth and Euclid in the City Club Building. In addition to the sammies, Kabat will make and sell his own line of pickles, relish, and spreads.
Kabat says not to expect too crazy a lineup. "The sandwiches will be good, unique, and well thought-out; this isn't rocket science."