Gelato among the geraniums...
and cannoli among the calla lilies make Café Angelo one of the sweetest spots around. The little counter-service café is planted in the midst of Angelo Petitti's newest garden center (18941 Pearl Road, Strongsville), with hand-painted Italian ceramic-topped tables, sinuous wrought-iron chairs, and the occasional butterfly flitting from hither to yon. Restaurateur Rick Serio (who also owns Twinsburg's Serio's on the Square) operates the eatery and says he and Petitti modeled it on sidewalk cafés they visited in Italy. The modest menu includes a decent Italian wedding soup ($3.25), assorted aromatic sandwiches (around $5), several pastas, and freshly made gelato that Serio's uncle, Pete Machi, churns out on the spot (try the hazelnut-white chocolate; $3.25 for a large portion). In addition, there's espresso, cappuccino, café mocha, and latte, as well as tiramisu, cannoli, and biscotti. Like us, Serio believes in the pleasures of combining shopping with eating; after trotting around this gigantic garden center for a few hours, you may very well need the sustenance. The 57,000-square-foot all-glass greenhouse is one of the largest in the country and brings to mind the elegant Victorian "crystal palaces" of yore. Serio plans to add Sunday brunch to the menu within the next few weeks. In the meantime, café hours are Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 440-878-9409, extension 106, for details.
Lights are on, but nobody's home
The patio furniture looked so forlorn, sitting in the rain outside Twinsburg's now-defunct MacLaren's Cuisine. Besides the abandoned furniture and the still-glowing beer signs, former chef-owner Greg MacLaren left a lengthy, bittersweet quotation from Teddy Roosevelt posted on the front door, assuring us, in part, that "the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood . . . who knows the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause." No word yet on where MacLaren plans to wage his next battle.