Local food fans took it hard when chef Todd Stein left downtown's Vivo to become chef de cuisine at mk, Michael Kornick's three-star dining room in Stein's hometown of Chicago. (Stein's longtime sous chef, David Connolly, has since taken over as Vivo's top toque.) But for every yin, there is a yang, and the compensatory payoff appears likely to arrive in the form of chocolate fondue, the signature sweetie at the new "dessert lounge" scheduled to open later this month on Vivo's lower level.
GM Joe Kahn says dessert lounges are hot stuff in other cities, and we can see why. We can't begin to count the times we've cruised out of the theater or a sports venue with a craving for something sweet and the certain knowledge that most downtown Cleveland restaurateurs had long since gone to bed.
In contrast, Vivo's dessert lounge will stay open late, with DJs, a full bar, and a clubby vibe. Scheduled to launch around May 22, it will be open from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday; but if the demand is there, the schedule will expand to weeknights too. Vivo is at 347 Euclid Avenue, inside the Old Arcade; 216-621-4678.
Farm report . . . If, like an agriculturally challenged friend of ours, you wonder what possibly could be available at a Northeast Ohio farmers' market in May, dig this: A recent Saturday-morning excursion to the North Union Farmers' Market at Shaker Square turned up a host of locally grown (and environmentally conscious) products, ranging from rhubarb and dandelion greens to bacon and salsa.
Other goodies included organically grown apples from Woolf Farms, colorful mushrooms from Killbuck Valley Mushrooms, naturally raised pork from Wil-den Family Farms, and grass-fed beef from Carmel Hill Farms. Organic goat cheese was the draw at R-Haven Farms, while Meadow Maid pulled in a crowd with an assortment of organic cheeses crafted from grass-fed cows' milk.
Now in its 10th season, the rain-or-shine market runs from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, through December 11.
Fire's out . . . Mere days after Phil Davis closed his Shaker Square soul-food restaurant, Phil the Fire, he has apparently snuffed out his Gateway location, too. No one is answering the phone, and signs on the door announce that the space is "under new ownership." Meantime, Gateway's New York Spaghetti House, which had just barely reopened, is closed again, reportedly for more remodeling.