For more than 15 years, Gavi’s was the place to go in Willoughby for fine Italian food. But the restaurant closed four years ago and the landmark building, a 100-year-old brick structure originally built as a streetcar powerhouse, has been sitting idle.
That was until about a year ago when the Local Tavern restaurant group began making improvements to the 5,000-square-foot complex. Those improvements have paved the way for the forthcoming opening of Local Sol Kitchen & Cantiki (38257 Glenn Ave.), a Latin American meets Polynesian themed eatery that will seat up 250 people inside and out.
“It’s a completely different space,” says chef-partner Michael Schoen. “It’s such a cool, old brick building.”
Schoen’s partners in the project are John Loxterman, Tim Roush and David Bartulovic, the team behind the small chain of Local Tavern restaurants in Mentor, Willoughby Hills and Parma. They also operate the Painesville eatery fish:bar.
Attendees to Scene’s recent Pig & Whiskey event in Willoughby got a sneak peek at the interior and an early taste of some of the food. The renovated interior is lighter, brighter and more open than ever, especially the front barroom that now opens up to the parking lot thanks to a new garage door. It is just one of three interior bars in the spacious property. The bar program is described as craft beer and cocktail driven – “Polynesian meets the old classics.” Guests will have a choice of a dozen craft beers, wines by the glass, classic cocktails like the Sazerac and Negroni, and Tiki-style drinks like Mai Tais and Fog Cutters.