Hungry gay restaurantgoers suffer loss

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Hungry gay restaurantgoers suffer loss

Hungry gay restaurantgoers suffered a loss when activist Buck Harris's vivacious restaurant and bar, Lake Effect (4204 Detroit Avenue), closed earlier this month. Harris had intended the spot to be "a safe and comfortable environment for gay men and lesbians and their friends." But a major falling out with his business partners, Anne Bloomberg and Paul Tomko, led to him leaving the restaurant, under difficult circumstances, in early December. Now, Bloomberg and Tomko are retooling the space for a June reopening as Erie Bleu, catering to a wider, less-specialized clientele. But there is a silver lining: After being tinkered with for months, Gillespie's (1261 West 76th Street) -- which first opened in 1985 as gay-friendly Snicker's, then transmogrified over this winter into an unsuccessful music venue -- is under new ownership and should be reopened by the time you read this. According to co-owners Ron Heinbaugh and Fran McEntee, the restaurant and bar will resume use of the original Snicker's name as well as its commitment to the gay community. (As for Harris, he vows to never stir the waters of the restaurant industry again. "If you ever hear me talking about a partnership," he said recently, "hit me.")

The grumpy gourmet . . . Cleveland's way-cool restaurateurs aren't the only ones getting their names on the pages of Gourmet magazine. The May edition's Letters From Our Readers column includes a missive from North Ridgeville's Paula Santirocco, taking issue with an article by Benjamin Cheever ("Have You Seen the Sandwich Man?", February 2000). In it, the author documents his brief and tiring stint at a N.Y.C. sandwich shop, where he cut the cheese and did research for a new book on jobs. "I found [the article] elitist and insulting to the millions of people who labor at jobs paying $6.25 an hour or less," wrote Santirocco, a 42-year-old principal flutist for the Ohio Chamber Orchestra. "For many people, such a job is their livelihood. Coming home exhausted isn't a joke for them, and they don't have the luxury of quitting after three weeks." Reached at home, Santirocco said she was still mad. "I guess years of being a starving musician have made me sensitive to the need to show respect for people who labor very hard at jobs like these. This guy, Cheever, showed no respect." Santirocco, who cooks as a hobby, reports the mag edited out her final words: "I'm canceling my subscription," she wrote. "Send me a refund."

All shook up . . . The massive renovation of Shaker Square has claimed another eatery. Lucy's Sweet Surrender (13209 Shaker Square) closed May 13 to make way for Joseph Beth Booksellers, a mega-bookstore slated to consume 32,000 square feet of the Square's 34,400-square-foot Quadrant A. (Former victims of the rampant gentrification project include Hunan on the Square and Arabica.) Lucy's owner, Michael Feigenbaum, opened the bakery just last year as an offshoot of the original Lucy's Bakery on Buckeye Road. "It's tough enough staying in this business," he observes, "without this kind of treatment." The upside for strudel lovers is that Lucy's will reopen in July at 2775 South Moreland, just off of the square and right next to National City Bank. The new location will be larger, with 48 seats and a wider selection of baked goods, pastas, sandwiches, grilled items, and coffee drinks.

Tipping is encouraged. Contact Elaine T. Cicora at elaine.cicora@clevescene.com.

More by Elaine T. Cicora

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