Lights Out 

A pub and a coffeehouse pour their last glass

I'm a big fan of everything British," Nick Sanders told me four yeas ago, just as he was getting ready to open The Pub in Rocky River. Apparently, the same wasn't true of his neighbors: The faux British pub closed its doors abruptly two weeks ago.

"Unfortunately, the Rocky River Pub is not performing at the same level as our other Pubs, and it is in the best interest of the company to close this location," reads a prepared statement on the restaurant's website. Nine other Pubs currently are in operation elsewhere.

A similar fate will soon befall the West Ninth Street location of Phoenix Coffee, according to CEO Sarah Wilson-Jones. The last day for the Warehouse District coffeehouse will be Wednesday, August 24.

"After almost three years of investing energy and resources into our well-loved café on West Ninth, we have made the difficult decision [to close]," Wilson-Jones says in a press release. "We opened in this location hoping to be part of the renaissance of downtown Cleveland. However, our West Ninth café has not yet been able to operate at a profit, and 12 months of astronomically high coffee prices have made it unfeasible for us to continue to invest in the cafe."

The Historic Warehouse District, Landmark Management, and Wilson-Jones all hope the location will live on as a coffee shop. To that end, the fixtures and equipment are for sale. Interested parties can contact sarah@phoenixcoffee.com.

Eyes wide open: The concept behind Dinner in the Dark has always been about culinary adventure. Guests have no idea what they will be eating, and they have no clue as to whom is doing the cooking. "The excitement comes from being surprised — and opening your eyes to new flavors," explains founding chef Brian Okin, who had the balls to serve veal testicles at the last event.

For the Saturday, August 27 dinner at Milan's Veggie U, Okin wants to kick things up a notch. So instead of the six-chef/six-course format of events past, this one will boast a dozen chefs putting out a dozen petite courses. Those as-yet-unnamed chefs will have full access to Chef's Garden produce, as well as the top-of-the-line commercial kitchen. The $87 price tag is all-inclusive. For folks who want to spend the night out west, Okin is working on discounted room rates at area hotels. Contact him directly at b.okin@att.net. For tickets, visit dinnerinthedark-cvi.eventbrite.com.

A little mouth music: Maybe you can't rock a dish like Michael Symon. But at least now you can sing along. Maybe that's the notion behind The Recipe Project, a 116-page book and 10-track CD from Black Balloon Publishing that's due to drop this fall. Inside the book you'll find interviews, musical musings, and recipes from nationally known culinarians — Symon included. The CD then serves up those same recipes as songs — word for word, ingredient by ingredient — delivered in a musical style suggested by the chef.

In Symon's case, the recipe is for octopus salad, and the delivery is heavy metal. No, Symon doesn't sing or play guitar: That's done by Michael Hearst and Joshua Camp, members of the oddball, Virginia-based duo One Ring Zero, who came up with the concept.

When it's released in October, The Recipe Project will cost you $24.95.


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