The Budapest Blonde Gets Back in the Kitchen

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Ilona Simon is not a real chef. But she is looking forward to playing the part at Budapest Blue, her recently opened Ohio City cocktail spot, where she’s launching weekday lunch service beginning Tuesday, Dec. 11. “I’m so excited to finally be cooking, I may even have to change the spelling of my last name!” she jokes, referencing the city’s other notable Symon. Not that Ilona stands in anyone’s shadow. Warm and genial, she long ago established herself as one of the city’s top hostesses at her first project, Budapest Blonde in Independence. And for Blue, she’s crafted a small but tempting mid-day menu bursting with simple, homey comforts. For instance, a burger with fries or fresh cucumber salad is pegged at $8; homemade soups check in at $5 per bowl or $3.50 per cup; and Simon’s soon-to-be-famous homemade goulash, garnished with grilled mushrooms and served with bread, is $7. Lunch hours are set for 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and evening cocktail hours begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Budapest Blue is at 2800 Clinton Ave., in the spot formerly occupied by Halite; for an emailed menu or reservations for parties of six or more, call 216-523-1111. --- Elaine T. Cicora

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