Perhaps the fourth (or is it fifth?) time will be the charm for the alleyway restaurant space that has housed in recent years Black Dog Kitchen, TB's Restaurant and Bar, and Machu Picchu. By early December, downtown diners can add A Bar and Kitchen (850 Euclid Ave.) to their list of available options.
Located in the City Club Building, but with an alley entrance on East 8th Street, the restaurant is far from highly visible. That’s why the Black Dog owners painted a massive mural on the side of the building. But new owner Clarence Wilson is confident that there’s enough energy and momentum downtown to overcome those obstacles.
“With the boom in downtown Cleveland, things have really changed,” he says. “There are more people living downtown now than there have been in years. People are on waiting lists for apartments.”
Wilson has been in the industry for almost 15 years, and he plans to keep things modest in terms of the food.
“We’re not going very upscale,” he says. “We want to be a neighborhood place where you can watch a game or enjoy a good meal.”
Fernando Jackson will head up the kitchen, serving up American gastropub-style fare to go with the 14 draft beers.
“We chose the gastropub concept because it doesn’t tie us into one thing,” Wilson adds. “We’ll be doing traditional American foods but we’ll also blast off in different directions.”
The physical space is huge — well over 200 seats — which is another hurdle for operators to overcome. Wilson plans to wall off some of the space to make it seem less cavernous.
The name might seem plain, but there’s meaning behind it, says Wilson.
“We’re the A Bar because we are in an alley, but also because we’re bringing back the “A” in Cleaveland.”
Wilson is shooting for an early December opening.