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What Would Papa Say? 

Old Whedon Grille takes a stylistic about-face

Hudson's new Hemingway's (200 Main Street, 330-650-0013), Dean and Dana Hoover's casual Main Street spot, has taken the place of the former, more sophisticated Old Whedon Grille. The stylistic about-face took place on July 7 and has found the kitchen staff grilling burgers and frying onion rings rather than whipping up seared ahi tuna crusted with macadamia nuts and tamarind-fig conserve. Dana Hoover says that, although the restaurant was profitable, she got tired of the labor-intensive demands of fine dining. "Old Whedon Grille wasn't fun anymore," she says. "Hemingway's is fun." Executive Chef Aaron Hervey has been sticking around to help manage the new venture and doing some "personal chef" and catering work on the side. While the main dining room, stunning mahogany bar, and upstairs cigar lounge remain intact, the downstairs wine cellar has been transformed into a game room, and the all-day menu limits itself to things like fried pickles, peel 'n' eat shrimp, a very good Reuben, and a run-of-the-mill Snickers Brownie Pie. But the menu item that's drawn the most attention is a quote at the top, immediately beneath the words "Hudson, Ohio," that reads, "The land of broad lawns and narrow minds." While the next line attributes the quote to Papa H., describing Oak Park, Illinois, some locals say the Hoovers aren't fooling anyone. The couple were among those submitting proposals for a planned retail development in the heart of town. Their proposal didn't make the cut, angry words were exchanged, and now some highly annoyed residents suspect the menu's choice of quotes serves up a hearty bunch of sour grapes. For her part, Hoover denies the quote is an insult and insists it hasn't ruffled any feathers, despite a large article to the contrary in The Akron Beacon Journal. "Nobody cared until the reporter went around trying to stir things up," she says. The beautifully restored building that houses the restaurant dates back to the 1830s and is on the National Register of Historic Places. "But if anyone from Hudson plans to go there after all this," jokes an area resident, "they'd better figure on sneaking in the back door with a bag over their head."

Art and Wine Deckfest . . . Head over to the gorgeous lakeside deck at Pier W (12700 Lake Avenue, Lakewood, 216-228-2250) this Saturday, July 29, for a chance to sample an assortment of wines, nibble on hors d'oeuvres, and hobnob with some of the city's most talented young artists, including Bridget Ginley, Scott Radke, Blythe Pavone, Greg Aliberti, Colin Toke, and more. The deckfest, a joint production of Pier W and Tremont's Studio 615, runs from 2 to 7 p.m. Admission is free, but expect a small charge for the wine samples. And don't worry about the weather: If it rains, everything moves inside.

"X" men need not apply . . . Dick's Last Resort (1069 Old River Road, 216-241-1234) is looking for submissions for its outdoor mural contest. Creator of the winning design, chosen from all entries received by September 30, gets $250 and a plaque permanently mounted inside the restaurant. Management is looking for something with a Cleveland or a "Dick's" theme, but get your mind outta the gutter: This is definitely a G-rated endeavor. Submissions should be original, neat, and drawn to scale to fit a 28-foot by 14-foot area. Contact GM Mike Sopko for all the details before you set pencil to paper. Happily, aspiring artists' only responsibility is coming up with the design; Dick's is providing the paint and the painters. Plans call for having the mural completed in the spring of 2001.

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