Alex Gleeson is the Ohio City real estate developer who's been trying to launch The Old Angle Tavern for the past two years. Named in honor of the Irish neighborhood that developed on Cleveland's near West Side during the late 1860s, Gleeson's Angle is developing quite a history of its own.
His intended location, inside the former Ohio City Hardware, had to be completely gutted. Remodeling efforts were required to follow strict historic-district guidelines, and the liquor license took forever. Meantime, chef-partner Matt Jozsa turned his talents to operating an upscale carryout kitchen from the back of the house, where he sold inventive sandwiches and hearty salads to area gourmets-on-the-run.
Finally, everything came together, and Gleeson opened his artfully designed tavern -- clearly in the mold of an Irish pub, but without the usual tackiness -- in time for St. Patrick's Day. There was Harp and Guinness on tap and whiskeys on the shelf. Then, as the Old Angle's doors swung open, chef Jozsa left the project, thus putting food service temporarily on hold. Now the carryout kitchen is closed, and the tavern menu is limited to routine but well-prepared pub noshes. (Check out the toothsome falafel wrap and the fried ravioli. And the homemade tater tots -- light as air and served with spicy ketchup -- are like nothing that ever hit our tray at the high school cafeteria.)
Gleeson's neighbor, chef Mark Shary (from Tremont's SubStance), has stepped into the void left by Jozsa's departure, training Gleeson's kitchen staff and designing a slightly more upscale menu, with rotating nightly specials that may eventually include fish fries, corned beef and cabbage, Ohio City pasta, and pork tenderloin. Gleeson wants to keep things simple. "There are so many places in Ohio City to get a great meal," he enthuses, "but not too many spots to just kick back with a burger and a beer." The new menu should be in place before the end of April; the carryout kitchen is expected to reopen at the same time. The tavern (at 1848 W. 25th St.; 216-861-5643) opens at 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; lunch service is coming soon.
In the dough . . . Meantime, Shary hasn't been neglecting his work at SubStance (815 Jefferson Ave.; 216-771-YUMM), the gourmet sub-and-salad shop he shares with owner Susan Walters. They've recently expanded the business to include Tremont's only artisanal bakery, where patrons will find Shary creating an ever-changing selection of handmade breads, sweet rolls, and desserts.