- Walter Novak
- Thanks to the ageless Isabella Basile, That Place on Bellflower has come back to life.
It's been 30 years since Isabella Basile first fell for University Circle's energy and charm, and decided to open a bistro there. Not that she knew anything about the biz; she was simply smitten by the bustling vibe and vintage architecture. But apparently the dining gods had her number: Soon after her epiphany, a pair of Bellflower Court carriage houses came onto the market, and -- poof! -- Basile had her restaurant.
Today, of course, That Place on Bellflower (11401 Bellflower Court, 216-231-4469) is one of the city's most venerable eateries, beloved almost as much for its intimate interior and secluded garden patio as for its sophisticated, Euro-leaning menu.
The ageless Basile is still running the show. (While she coyly declines to give her age, she does allow that one of her three sons has already celebrated his 60th birthday.) She tried to retire a few years back, selling her nearby Club Isabella and taking on a partner to operate That Place. But it didn't work out. Renamed Flower, the restaurant stalled; finally, to save the business, Basile and son David Chesler bought it back in 2004.
Now, That Place on Bellflower is its gracious self again, thanks to the efforts of Basile, Chesler, general manager Rich Taylor, and longtime chef Tom "Hooper" Crane. Interior redecorating projects included the reinstallation of artist Joe Glasco's original abstracts, which Basile first hung on the walls three decades ago. Meantime, Taylor and Crane have been working to make the already worldly lunch and dinner menus -- starring such classics as Beef Wellington and Great Lakes walleye -- even more eclectic.
While Basile also owns the Beach Club and Rockabilly's on the East Bank of the Flats (operated by partner Curtis Knowles), her heart belongs to That Place, as we discovered when we took lunch with her recently in the restaurant's lovely garden patio. "It's been a wonderful ride," she says. "It's hard, traumatic, and heartbreaking work, but I love it. I'm here for life."
That Place on Bellflower opens for lunch at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and for dinner at 5 p.m. daily.
On the chuck wagon . . . The Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Road) is rustlin' up a pre-concert chow-down for those attending the August 17 show by legendary Texas musician Joe Ely. Though it has served the occasional pre-concert meal for several years now, this will be the first dinner since the club partnered up with the nearby Grovewood Tavern & Wine Bar for food service. Heading up the kitchen will be Grovewood Executive Chef Alex Daniels; his southwestern-style menu will feature pulled barbecued beef, roasted corn on the cob, cole slaw, and homemade dinner rolls. (Marinated grilled veggies can be substituted for the beef.) Doors for dinner open at 6:30 p.m., with the concert following at 8. Cost is 10 bucks per head; reserve your place when ordering concert tickets at 216-383-1124.
Small bites . . . Dan Campbell, owner of Austin's Smokin' Steak House in Mayfield and the slightly more upscale Austin's Wood Fire Grille in Brecksville, will open his third Austin's in October, in the Twinsburg space that formerly housed the failed Amazon Trail. The new Austin's, at 8870 Darrow Road, will follow in the laid-back footsteps of the Mayfield location . . . Plans keep getting grander for Captain Frank's new incarnation at 1350 West Third Street. No longer satisfied to have just another eatery, the owners now aim to create a major entertainment destination, à la Pickwick & Frolic and House of Blues; look for an early fall opening . . . Hospitality professionals might want to check out the job ops at the new Cleveland Marriott East, scheduled to open September 23 in Beachwood's Chagrin Highlands. We hear the operators are putting together a veddy, veddy select crew for both the hotel and its 140-seat restaurant, River City Grille. Call 216-378-9191 to learn more.