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Luxe Kitchen offers food for thought 

Like lacy café curtains, more than 130 food- and drink-related quotes flutter across the windows of Marlin Kaplan's soon-to-open Luxe Kitchen and Lounge (6605 Detroit Avenue, luxecleveland.blogspot.com) — wisdom drawn from pundits ranging from James Beard to Miss Piggy. If that's not enough to lead diners to the burgeoning Gordon Square arts district, Kaplan's rustic-yet-contemporary menu of Mediterranean fare will surely do the trick, with a lineup of charcuterie plates, gourmet pizzas, indulgent pastas, and three-course "family dinners," pegged at a mere $18 per person.

"Reuse, recycle, and repurpose" has been the decorating theme, says Kaplan, a veteran Cleveland chef and restaurateur (One Walnut, plus the former Marlin and Pig Heaven). That explains the elegant 1930s bar brought in from Collinwood, bentwood chairs salvaged from the former New York Spaghetti House, and a gorgeous walnut cabinet reclaimed from a Lodi hardware store. And the funky window treatment fits the chef's famous sense of playfulness: "I wanted something that would reflect the neighborhood. I think this is fun, it's artful — and it's created quite a buzz."

Luxe will be open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday — possibly as soon as next week.

Pie guy: Home-baked pies are nearly a lost art, so we were jazzed to discover Lakewood's Gray House Pies during a recent North Union Farmers' Market stop. Mortgage-broker-turned-baker Joe Schlott bakes his offerings fresh daily, from all-natural ingredients. "We use fresh, locally grown fruits, as well as organic milk, and eggs from free-range chickens," says the amiable Schlott. And as a health-conscious vegetarian, he eschews lard or shortening for his crusts, using pure butter instead. The upshot is 35 varieties of seasonal pies. Pick one up at the weekly North Union Farmers' Market locations or at Lakewood's Breadsmith (18103 Detroit Avenue, 216-529-8443), where Schlott maintains a retail presence. Or place an order at 216-521-PIES; it will be ready for pickup the next day.

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