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Lakewood Chill

The time is right for Sweet Spot's gelato

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The recent heat wave has lots of us looking for a chance to chill out. Celeste Blau is no exception.

"Ice cream is my favorite food," she confesses. "I decided if I was going to eat it all day long, I'd go with something that had half the fat."

That turned out to be gelato — a.k.a. Italian ice cream, which Blau made the centerpiece of her new Lakewood sweet shop. Opened on July 7 across from Beck Center, the Sweet Spot is an "American gelateria" that offers approximately 30 varieties at any given time.

Made mostly with milk rather than cream, gelato is indeed leaner than our high-fat counterpart. But it is also whipped with less air, leaving it creamier, denser, and richer in flavor. "It also gives it a cleaner flavor," Blau adds. "You shouldn't taste residual flavors in your mouth an hour later."

Made in-house with Ohio milk, organic unrefined sugars, and many local ingredients, the choices range from tried-and-true flavors like pistachio to clever creations such as Hopped-Up Grapefruit, made with organic grapefruit and brewing hops. Strawberry lemon basil is just what it sounds like, while the Cleveland Brownie pairs orange gelato with fresh-baked brownie pieces. Fruit-based and dairy-free sorbets are also on hand, as are a handful of vegan varieties.

In addition to the gelato, which is sold by the single, double, pint, or quart ($3, $5, $7.50, $12), the shop also stocks locally baked pies, cookies, and cupcakes.

Blau, who runs the shop with her husband Patrick Cleary, is a North Olmsted native who resides in Lakewood. She ditched a job in marketing for the ice cream biz — if you can believe that.

"Marketing and PR isn't as much fun as they make it seem in college," she says. "Turns out, it's mostly sitting behind a computer all day."

Tell me about it.

Sweet Spot is open Sunday through Thursday from noon to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. Find them at 17806 Detroit Ave.; call 216-221-8870 for more information.

The Jillian's Billiard Club empire came to an end with the winter closing of the 20-year-old Cleveland Heights location. Last week, the space reopened as Myxx. Building owner Kim Lisboa has converted the 10,000-square-foot cavern into what she describes as a "New York-style tapas bar."

Major modifications were made to the large room, says management. Following the removal and sale of the billiard tables, the raised bar area was demolished, creating a large, open, single-level space. Seating for approximately 150 guests is offered at tables and chairs, in a large lounge area, and at the bar. Weekends will include live entertainment.

In the kitchen is Tim Stadnik, formerly chef de cuisine at Giovanni's. Most recently, he cooked at Cadillac Ranch and Oggi Ristorante in Broadview Heights.

"I liked the space, the concept, and the opportunity to create my own menu," Stadnik says.

That menu features twice as many small plates as entrées. Items include familiar American and Italian-style dishes like wedge and Caesar salads, shrimp cocktail, bacon-wrapped scallops, baby lamb chops, pork chop Milanese, Boursin-stuffed chicken, and a filet with brandy cream sauce. Prices run from $9 to $15 for small plates and $23 to $30 for entrées.

Myxx is open daily from 4 p.m. to close, at 12459 Cedar Rd. For more information, give them a ring at 216-321-6999.

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