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Bites: The New Hiroshi's Pub 

And more local food news

For Clevelanders of a certain age, Hiroshi's Pub was one of the most popular watering holes in Cleveland Heights. The Lee Road bar, owned by sushi magnate Hiroshi Tsuji, specialized less in food than it did booze. That's not the case at the new Hiroshi's Pub, which opened last week in Beachwood (3365 Richmond Rd., 216-464-4665,

Accompanying the large space is a sprawling menu that focuses primarily on sushi and barbecue, but hardly stops there. A large centrally located kitchen turns out numerous appetizers, salads, burgers, deli and panini sandwiches, gourmet hot dogs, and American-style comfort food. A hefty wood smoker, capable of slow-cooking 750 pounds of meat at a time, produces pulled pork, beef brisket, baby back and St. Louis ribs, smoked sausages, and smoked corned beef. A modest sushi bar cranks out everything from tuna ceviche and scallop sashimi to yellowtail handrolls and shrimp tempura futomaki.

A recent lunchtime visit netted a trio of delicious pulled-pork sliders ($8.50), topped with cole slaw and served on buttery rolls. Fried onions garnished the outside of the White Dragon ($12.95), a large nine-piece roll filled with shrimp, albacore, and wasabi mayo. We enjoyed the beef brisket more than the baby back ribs on the ribs-n-brisket platter ($14.95). A sharp redesign of the old Sumo space offers seating for 220 guests in multiple dining rooms, soft-seating areas, at the 36-seat bar, or out on the well-appointed front patio.

In other Beachwood barbecue news: Retired McDonald's franchise owner Caesar Burkes says that after a 12-year break, he's getting back in the restaurant biz. He is in the final stages of transforming the old Ly's Thai Gourmet space on Central Parkway into the Pit, a southern barbecue joint. "I've been looking at that space for two years," says Burke. "Up until now, there's been no good barbecue in Beachwood. We're going to serve the best ribs you ever had."

Slow-smoked over oak and hickory, items like chicken, pulled pork, baby back and St. Louis ribs, and beef brisket will be paired with down-home sides like cornbread, baked beans, and collard greens. Following some light cosmetic work, the Pit is expected to open in late August. Plans call for 150 seats inside and an additional 60 on the patio. "This is the right idea, in the right spot, at the right time," he says.

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