Gone Fishin'

Downtown stalwart Fat Fish Blue to close by year's end

For nearly two decades, Fat Fish Blue has been downtown's place to be for Mardi Gras, New Year's Eve — heck, even a regular Tuesday-night happy hour. It was the habitual stomping ground for blues and jazz legends like Mr. Stress, Koko Taylor, and Robert Lockwood Jr. And it was one of the only places in town to grab an authentic taste of the Crescent City, with buckets of boiled crawfish and steamy gumbo washed down by gallons of southern sweet tea.

All that will come to an end soon, when the restaurant closes to make way for the Tilted Kilt — a so-called "Celtic Hooters," where the hook is female servers in short plaid kilts, knee-high socks, and matching plaid bras.

Launched in 2003 in Las Vegas, the Celtic-themed sports bar has 58 locations, including Columbus and Canton. According to Mark Hanby, VP of development, the company hopes to be open by St. Patrick's Day.

"I've heard nothing but good stuff about Fat Fish Blue," says Handy. "It sounds like they had a good run. We're just excited to be in Cleveland, and I think our theme will win over a lot of fans in that market."

Following a $1.5 million build-out, the 200-seat eatery will feature mahogany stained wood, countless flat screens, and two dozen brews on tap. The chain-wide menu offers burgers, wraps, fish and chips, shepherd's pie and other pub-style fare.

They'll be at 21 Prospect Ave.

IT'S ALL GOOD: If all goes as planned, Bonbon Pastry & Café will open this week in the Ohio City spot that long housed Athens Pastries. Owner Courtney Bonning, who ran the former Bonbon Bake Shop in the Gordon Square Arts District, intends to offer much more than the typical pastry shop experience.

"I wanted a European-style café with all the baked goods you would normally find in a café," Bonning says, "but also those hot-food items so we can hit every taste."

Decked out in Carrera marble, the 38-seat café will offer everything from handmade croissants and scones to chicken and mushroom pot pie. Pop in first thing in the morning for French press coffee and an order of cinnamon pancakes. At lunch, soups, salads, and sandwiches on fresh-baked bread are on hand.

In the evening, couples can canoodle over slow-roasted pork and chocolate soufflé. Of course, if you'd like to end your day with pancakes, that's OK too, says Bonning.

A liquor license means that breakfast comes with a round of Bloody Marys, while glasses of wine accompany dinner and dessert.

"I want this to be the ultimate date spot," says Bonning.

Find them at 2549 Lorain Rd. Call 216-458-9225 for more information.