Bucky Cat should have as many lives as the former Hi & Dry (2207 West 11th Street), the on-again/off-again tavern in Tremont.
When Jeff Eisenberg and Mike Weigand sold the place in December (for the second time, after having taken it back a year ago from a previous unsuccessful buyer), purchasers Sherman DeLozier and Dave Rudiger told them they planned to close briefly for a quick spruce-up. "But it was like pulling a thread on a sweater," DeLozier says. "Pretty soon, everything started unraveling, and we ended up doing major renovations." Although Cleveland building inspectors put a halt to the work in January, DeLozier says permit problems are being resolved, and a cool new neighborhood watering hole will emerge this spring. The new owners should have the chops: Rudiger owns the Blind Pig, and DeLozier tends bar both there and at the Tree House.
As for Eisenberg and Weigand, they threw in the towel on the Hi & Dry largely because of employee problems. "People today don't seem to have much of a work ethic," a weary-sounding Eisenberg says, referring to staff members' propensity for leaning on their elbows during slow times. "And with three other successful businesses to take care of (Heck's Café, La Bodega, and Duck Island), we weren't able to micromanage them. I warned them that the jobs were theirs to lose -- and they lost them." (Ironically, Heck's former owner, Steve Slifko, got a lot of press in 2000 when he temporarily closed the burger palace because of a dearth of good employees.)
Table for one . . . Have personals and pub crawls so far failed to produce your One True Love? Maybe it's time you considered cooking classes. That's Mark Ridenour's recipe for romance anyway, and it's the inspiration behind the chef's new cooking club for singles at the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking (8613 Mayfield Road, Chesterland). An unattached guy himself, Ridenour rolls out the first of his Saturday-night get-togethers next month: a Caribbean Cruise Dinner on March 22, with menu items such as coconut chicken and teriyaki scallops; and a meatless feast on March 29, with roasted vegetable lasagna, banana splits, and more. Both classes start at 7 p.m. The fee is $35 for one class or $65 for both. To register, call the cooking school at 440-729-COOK, or visit www.lpsinc.com. If the response is positive, Ridenour says, he'll follow up the classes with wine-tastings and food-market tours for the group. What the hell -- even if you don't get lucky, you'll be well fed.