Noodle impresario Richard Baribault's dream of expanding his Tea House Noodles (1900 East Sixth Street) concept to the suburbs is about to come true. Along with partners Dick Korn, Dewey Forward, and Jim Szaller, Baribault plans to open a noodle house and juice bar at Westgate Mall in Fairview Park by the end of the year, making it the first link in what may become a franchised chain of small eateries. Peaka Noodles and Juice will offer the same type of healthy, Asian-inspired salads, soups, and noodle dishes -- served with Baribault's unique brand of "new age meets middle-aged" spirituality -- as the downtown location, with a greater variety of homemade sauces, teas, and retail merchandise. Plans call for Richard's wife and partner Kathy Baribault to remain at the controls of the downtown operation, while Richard oversees the expansion.
Miraculous recovery . . . Gary Grabowski, owner and executive chef of Miracles' (2399 West 11th Street) in Tremont, says it's a miracle he's back in the kitchen, after a near-fatal bout with pancreatitis this summer. The 46-year-old restaurateur had major surgery in June, but then succumbed to a lingering infection that just cleared up last month. Grabowski isn't shy about admitting that his illness was aggravated by alcoholism, a disease he has battled for a number of years; nor is he the first insider to contend that drug and alcohol abuse is a very real, if often ignored, occupational hazard for chefs and restaurateurs. Happily, Grabowski is now fully recovered and back at work, and has been dry since May. "I don't think I have an alternative," he says. "If I drink, I die."
Manning the kitchen . . . When the culinary arts take center stage at Access to the Arts' Arts on the Air program next Monday, the three chefs chosen by the ATTA board to represent the field -- Brandt Evans (Kosta's), Doug Katz (Moxie), and Michael Symon (Lola) -- will have a lot in common. All three are Northeast Ohio natives, professionally trained graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, and loaded with the kind of talent that has brought them national recognition. And what other attribute do these culinary artists share? That's right, the Y chromosome. Nothin' against the fellows, but we are stunned that the ATTA board neglected to invite at least one of the city's outstanding female chefs to take part in the forum. Women like Donna Chriszt (J Café), Michele Gaw (Watermark), Pamela Cole Waterman (Lockkeepers Inn), and Karen Small (Flying Fig) all have made a name for themselves -- and for the city -- with their culinary magic. Now it behooves the media to give them a voice.
(Arts on the Air is a series of eight luncheons and dialogues with nationally acclaimed artists, designers, scholars, and advocates, all with a Cleveland connection. Evans, Katz, and Symon will speak before a live audience in the English Oak Room in Tower City Center at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, November 15; the program will be broadcast on WCLV-FM/95.5 on Sunday, November 21. Call 216-791-4654 for more information.)
Sail Away . . . Chef Matt Gambatese of Rocky River's Salmon Dave's is leaving his post. Rumor has it he's been tapped to be king of cuisine at trendy Chirco, a contemporary Italian restaurant soon to open in the Warehouse District.
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