You can expect a bumper crop of new and repositioned restaurants this spring, including Bice at Tower City and the reimagined Watermark in the Flats.
Another spring arrival that's been generating drive-by buzz is Stone Mad, the handsome Irish pub going in at 1306 West 65th Street, near the developing Gordon Square Arts District. Surrounded by massive stone walls and artful iron gates, the site -- owned by Eileen Sammon and Peter Leneghan of Tremont's 10-year-old Tree House -- soon will be home to a restaurant, bar, and secluded outdoor patio. According to Sammon, the lunch and dinner spot should debut in April, with burgers, steaks, and imported brews.
The name Stone Mad, incidentally, comes from a 1977 memoir by Irish stonecarver Seamus Murphy, recounting his seven-year apprenticeship among the country's masons.
Just down the street . . . We finally caught up with baker Niki Gillota, whose Gypsy Beans & Baking Co. (6425 Detroit Avenue, 216-939-9009) opened in January. A southern Ohio farm gal turned globetrotter, Gillota based the café's international theme on her own travels.
Cookies, brownies, scones, and pastries are baked fresh daily. Coffee options include a line of rich specialty lattes. And an assortment of sandwiches, mellow homemade chili, and soups from Ohio City's Souper Market provide plenty of cold-weather comfort. The café also offers a private gathering room and Wi-Fi access.
Winter hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, till 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Learn more at www.gypsybeans.com.
Eddie's steady . . . A Shaker Heights landmark since 1952, Eddie Sand's Blueline Café (20255 Van Aken Boulevard, 216-561-5050) always channeled a retro vibe better than anyplace in town. But by this time last year, the venerable restaurant, bar, and deli was starting to feel a little shabby.
That's when hospitality vet Adam Gonzalez stepped in, bringing equal parts experience, passion, and elbow grease to bear. A former management type for Harrah's Casinos and the Hard Rock Café, Gonzalez focused on cleanliness and friendly service. And today, the neighborhood mainstay sparkles. "It's always been a great concept in a great neighborhood," says Gonzalez. "It just needed plenty of TLC."
Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.