Art in the Alley

Vico takes artful presentation to new heights.

Captains of industry, take notice: Vico, the white-collar watering hole and upscale lunch spot downtown on East Sixth Street, is still serving your favorites -- think luscious crab cakes and fusilli sauced with vodka cream -- but the place is more stylin' than ever since being purchased in mid-October by partners Scott Beebe and David Green. Besides tweaking the midday menu and giving the place a thorough cleaning and repair, the suave little Italian American eatery is now an art gallery of sorts, featuring a revolving display of works by emerging local artists. (First up is a collection of abstract expressionist paintings by Tremont artist Bridget Ginley, who also serves as curator at nearby BUZZ gallery, in the Colonial Arcade.)

With oodles of corporate experience between them, gleaned from stints at Morton's, the Hyde Park Group, Macaroni Grill, and Ruby Tuesday, Beebe and Green want to promote Cleveland's burgeoning art scene while broadening Vico's appeal. They'll be developing a tapas menu for the happy-hour crowd; installing a carryout cooler chock-full of salads, sandwiches, and pastas for the rushed and budget-minded; and possibly adding breakfast and dinner service within the year.

For now, hours are still Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; happy hour extends luxuriously from 3 to 8 p.m. Look for a grand reopening celebration in late November. Vico (the name means "alley" in Italian) is at 1852 East Sixth Street; call 216-622-1440 for more information.

Well, you can't call them quitters.

Despite its high tin ceilings and vintage architectural details, the Warehouse District space at 1265 West Ninth Street just can't seem to bring in the crowds. But despite the building's poor track record (it was the site of the former Goodfellas as well as several forgettable nightclubs), the space's dogged if enigmatic owners are at it again -- this time with the Waterstreet Grill, a comfort-food joint open for three squares seven days a week.

If well-credentialed chefs Heather Campbell (previously with the Fulton Bar & Grill, Heck's, and Johnny Mango) and Jim Melendez (formerly of Johnny's and Morton's) can't stir up some excitement, maybe it's time to throw in the dish towel.