“I’m humble enough to say that if it doesn’t work, that’s okay. We tried,” says Rick Doody, owner of Cedar Creek Grille, 17 River Grille, Bar Italia and, at least through Valentine’s Day weekend, Lindey’s Lake House in Beachwood.
Just last month, Doody announced that he was re-concepting his two-year-old Lakewood eatery, Lindey's Lake House, to Bar Italia
. At the time, the co-founder of Bravo and Brio restaurants expressed a hesitancy to do the same in Beachwood, where another Lake House sits adjacent to Cedar Creek Grille. But that’s no longer the case.
“I never wanted to be a chain; I want to be a small collection of restaurants,” he explains. “But I have this asset here and it’s not working. Bar Italia in Lakewood is working. We’re doing double the volume that we were as Lake House. People like it. They like the food, they like the atmosphere, they like the feel of the place.”
Lindey’s Lake House in Beachwood will remain open through Valentine’s Day weekend. It will then close for renovations before reopening in early spring as Bar Italia. That likely will occur in March.
Bar Italia will build a menu around fresh pasta from Flour Pasta Company, fresh-baked breads from On the Rise bakery and made-from-scratch sauces. Doody says that by and large, the menus at both the Lakewood and Beachwood eateries will be the same, but he also leaves room for neighborhood-driven customization. And then there’s the matter of the pizza oven.
“We have this wood-burning oven in the center of the room,” notes Doody.
While Bar Italia in Lakewood offers Italian appetizers like frito misto, beef carpaccio, and stuffed peppers, and pastas like bucatini Bolognese, three-meat lasagna, shrimp Diavolo and pasta primavera, and entrees such as classic chicken parmesan, grilled branzino and grilled Tuscan steak, it does not sell pizza.
Doody says that the kitchen might utilize the oven for sharable platters like roast chicken for two and other wood-roasted items.
When it reopens as Bar Italia, the restaurant will sport a new look, one that Doody describes as a blend of polished chic and rustic casual.
The only remaining Lindey’s Lake House
, located on the East Bank of the Flats, will stay as is.