Don't be surprised if, in the coming weeks and months, you stumble across an unexpected gourmet luncheon, complete with china, glass and linen, in the lobby of the Terminal Tower. Or smack dab in the middle of Public Square. Or perched atop a HealthLine station. "The weirder the better," says Greg MacLaren, chef of Marigold Catering (216.566.5400) and co-conspirator of the nascent Renegade Lunch Project. A cross between performance art and community outreach (with a soup�on of PR), these first-come, first-served plated lunches are designed to bring people together in a deliciously spontaneous way. And while not required to pay a cent, diners will be asked to contribute at meal's end to a charity or cause. "A few weeks back, I had this crazy idea," explains MacLaren. "What if Ben [Bebenroth, of Spice of Life catering] and I started doing random, free, plated lunches around town? Cleveland needs more interesting and strange things happening." Recently, a dry run was held at the Marigold Catering kitchens, both to test the waters and to enlist partners who might assist with the logistics of pulling off such feats. One of those in attendance was Greg Peckham, executive director of Cleveland Public Art. "This concept totally appeals to me," Peckham says. "In the same way our organization attempts to bring people together through desirable public spaces, they are trying to activate public spaces by bringing people together with food." Regardless of the location, the two-course meals will be prepared on the spot by MacLaren and Bebenroth, whose easygoing chemistry encourages conversation among participants. "These events foster interaction between people who may never have occasion to meet," adds Peckham. "It was a moment of brightness in the day. And the food was spectacular." To keep the monthly events as spontaneous as possible, dates and locations will be released last minute.
Dink's, which closed after almost 50 years in Chagrin Falls, will reopen under new ownership as Fresh Start Diner, an offshoot of a popular Twinsburg restaurant of the same name. If all goes as planned, the 60-seat diner will open in early February. The restaurant will serve only breakfast and lunch to start, but dinners might be added down the road.
The Grill at Bainbridge Commons has closed its doors after two years in business. Meanwhile, nearby Bon Appetito (8575 Tanglewood Sq., 440.543.8383), known for its hearty portions of Italian fare, will close its doors on January 17 after seven years in business.