Heat and Eat

In Northfield, it's Chili today and hotter later this month.

Perhaps best known for its racetrack and its protracted legal battle to block a controversial adult bookstore, Northfield Village seems an unlikely spot for a gourmet food boutique, but that's what it has in Cis Medina's spicy little Chili Emporium (10416 Northfield Road, 330-468-2445). The tiny store, across from Northfield Plaza, carries more than 220 types of hot sauce, 50 salsas, and a wide assortment of specialty cooking oils, jellies, marinades, and fiery snacks, as well as a lively collection of jewelry, T-shirts, ceramics, and kitchen linens, all with a chile pepper theme. When she's not playing with fire, Medina also runs Cisco's Café, a lunchtime deli and catering operation located next door. But apparently that's still not enough to keep the former teacher and Peace Corps volunteer constructively engaged: Look for her new 50-seat steakhouse, The Village Pub and Grill, to open in Northfield Plaza later this month, serving steaks, chops, chicken, and seafood dinners with marinades and sauces made from Chili Emporium products. The hot-sauce haven will move across the street, next to Medina's new restaurant, in June. But for now, you can shop the Chili Emporium Monday through Friday, 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Fire on ice?

We've been peeking through the windows of Fire, Doug Katz's restaurant-to-be on Shaker Square, for the past few months without seeing any signs of life. But the former Moxie chef says work on the vintage space will soon begin in earnest. The inevitable construction delays haven't dampened Katz's enthusiasm for the project, which he has been pursuing since last year. Plans now call for the 90-seat dining room to open in June, complete with a large open kitchen and chef's tables, where guests can sit and watch the culinary magic unfold.

Enough already

Restaurateur Mark Duraney recently closed Zelda, his quirky little East Side dining room. The not-quite two-year-old restaurant, named for Duraney's grandmother, served simple, well-prepared Mediterranean food, but never seemed to develop a following. But this stint as chef-owner has apparently taken its toll: Although prior to Zelda, Duraney managed several upscale restaurants, he has no plans to reenter the world of foodservice anytime soon. He's taking two weeks off to visit his spiritual master in India; when he returns, he'll start a new career with a company specializing in web design and online services.

Belly-bustin' BBQ

There must be a lot of folks out there with long memories when it comes to good barbecue. That would help explain the enthusiastic reception the owners of Chubby's Take 2 (785 SOM Center Road, 440-573-RIBS) have been getting at their newly opened eatery in Mayfield Village. The tiny family-owned-and-operated spot carries on the traditions of the original Chubby's in Golden Gate Plaza, closed -- but not forgotten -- for the past 18 years. In its current incarnation, Chubby's serves up exemplary pulled pork sandwiches, crunchy homemade potato chips, slabs of St. Louis-style ribs, and big corned beef sandwiches that could expand anybody's waistband. Call in and carry out, or grab a seat at the little counter; Chubby's is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.