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Bites: ABC Tavern Set for a Makeover 

And more local food news

Fans of the West Side Market Café (1979 W. 25th St., 216.579.6800, have Randy Kelley and Linda Syrek to thank for its remarkable turnaround. Since taking over the restaurant three-and-a-half years ago, their team has grown from four employees to nearly 20, and business has never been better. Soon, the duo will attempt to do for ABC Tavern (1872 W. 25th St., 216.861.3857) what it has accomplished for the café. Around Labor Day weekend, Kelley and Syrek will take over operations at this timeless but long-overlooked watering hole. "Ohio City doesn't have a true neighborhood bar anymore," laments Kelley. He cites the loss of Ohio City Tavern and the original Fulton Bar and Grill. He enjoys Old Angle, Bier Markt and Market Avenue Wine Bar as much as the next guy, but he says they are different from what he has planned for ABC. In addition to the booze, the tavern will serve food late into the night. "I don't want to do the typical pub grub thing," he says. "Me and my chefs [Matthew Pell and Tim Duchnowski] are working on a short, tight bar menu with some twists on it." A few cosmetic alterations are planned for the bar, but don't expect sweeping changes. "The bar has everything right there — except the people," notes Kelley. More shocking, perhaps, is the news that after nearly a decade of engagement, Kelley and Syrek finally will be tying the knot later this month.

Chef Michael Longo is no longer involved with Umami Asian Kitchen (42 N. Main St., Chagrin Falls, 440.247.8600, "He delivered a phenomenal vision and product while he was here," says owner Jonathan Westrich. Opened in January, the 30-seat contemporary Asian bistro has been impressing diners with its sophisticated take on seafood. Taking over for Longo in the kitchen will be Matthew Anderson, recently executive chef of Sapore (8623 Mayfield Rd., 440.729.1110, and instructor at Loretta Paganini School of Cooking. "The product may change with Anderson," say Westrich. "Umami means delicious; the food doesn't have to be strictly Asian."

Bon Appetit magazine included Cleveland's own Greenhouse Tavern (2038 E. Fourth St., 216.393.4302, among its list of Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America. Their recommended dish to try: potato-crusted goat-cheese tarts with heirloom tomato salad. Look for the issue to hit newsstands later this month.


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