Times is on our side . . . Hungry New York Times operatives have been prowling the streets of Cleveland for the past few months, seeking the city's finest restaurants. The results of their investigation popped up in an article -- "In Cleveland, Industrial Chic and Inventive Chefs" -- by former Times restaurant critic Bryan Miller, in the January 2 travel section. After the requisite sneer at our once-combustible river and a nod to the Rock Hall, Miller gives a positive assessment to five local eateries, including Johnny's Bar, Lola Bistro, Blue Point Grille, Flying Fig, and Mojo. While Mojo gets a poke for what Miller considers its relatively pricey wine list, and Blue Point's seafood is faintly praised as "reasonably good," Flying Fig is lauded for its outstanding desserts, and most of the spots get accolades for their "winsome," "discreet," and "helpful" servers.
Curses, closed again . . . Apparently, the saddle-sore cowpokes of ol' Macedonia weren't trotting on over to the Arizona Steakhouse often enough to keep owner Irene Scordos and her husband John (doing business as Lipsco Inc.) from running up one heck of a tax bill. As has been widely reported, the restaurant, on the corner of Route 8 and Highland Road, was closed December 20 by the Ohio Tax Department for failure to pay sales taxes, leaving a number of area diners holding worthless gift certificates and wondering if the steakhouse staff engaged in deceptive business practice by selling the certificates when they knew they were facing a shutdown. (Consumers who would like to take up the issue with the Ohio Attorney General's office can call 1-800-282-0515.) The steakhouse opened on Mother's Day weekend in 1998 and has become one in a series of ultimately unsuccessful eateries on that site, dating back to the 1960s. Among the distinctive round building's previous occupants were the Country Heart, the Golden Ox, the Mark, and Ray Kearn's. According to Macedonia officials, the building, presently owned by John Mahi, was based on a Frank Lloyd Wright design.
Talkin' turkey . . . Kosta's ebullient chef (and Hudson High School alum) Brandt Evans will be serving as the Washington, D.C. -based National Turkey Federation's featured chef during the month of February. Look for Evans's likeness, plus his recipe for Parmesan-Crusted Turkey Medallions with Butternut Squash Risotto, to start showing up in national food, restaurant, and hospitality trade mags.