John Kolar's new Medina restaurant, Thyme (716 Court Street, 330-764-4114), will open on October 9. The 65-seat spot in the former Sarafina space will feature what Kolar calls "contemporary cuisine with worldly influences." Sure, that sounds a little vague -- but when it translates into globally inspired dishes like aromatic short ribs, dry-rubbed in fragrant spices, braised in tomato-tamarind broth, and topped with pickled papaya, he's speaking our language.
A Hinckley native and Culinary Institute of America grad, Kolar honed his chops in Manhattan with one of the masters of global cuisine, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. He later worked with Doug Katz at Moxie and Fire, then was tapped as opening chef at Lakewood's highly regarded Three Birds. Thyme marks his debut as both chef and owner (fortunately, he has wife and business partner Kathy Kolar to share the load).
Modern urbanity is the decorating theme, from the glass-block hostess stand to the copper-topped bar. Entrées are pegged mostly in the $16-21 range, and kitchen hours are set for 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The bar will keep on kickin' till 1 a.m.
Big payoff . . . Betting on when Mike and Liz Symon's relocated Lola Bistro (2058 East Fourth Street, 216-621-5652) will finally open has become more popular than Rachael Ray reruns. But after nearly a year of delays, game's over: Lola officially reopens Monday, September 25. Initially, the contemporary hot spot with a national following will serve only dinner, but lunch and brunch service should begin by November. Reservations will be essential; snare them through www.opentable.com.
Tag-teamed . . . Most restaurants are lucky to have one talented chef; Sinergy (1213 West Sixth Street, 216-363-1130) gets two. When we reviewed the sassy restaurant-slash-dance-club in August, Todd Hargis was chef du jour. Now it's Joe Bemer's turn to play with food, and he's come up with a new dinner menu brimming with creative tidbits ranging from duck confit to veal paprikash, and roasted pork loin to escolar, dusted in powdered shiitakes. "We share the executive chef duties right down the middle," says Bemer, whose résumé includes stints at the former Fulton Bar & Grill as well as Johnny's, Fire, and Great Lakes Brewing Company. "Todd got the opening menu," Bemer says, "now I get to do the follow-up."