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Closing Time 

Bidding farewell to the eateries that never saw 2003.

It least three Northeast Ohio eateries didn't stick around to celebrate the New Year. Newest victims of the annual winter shakeout include Indian restaurant Clay Oven in Parma, Italian restaurant La Tavola Bona in Northfield Center, and the Flat Iron Café, an Irish pub in Aurora. (Worry not, heavy drinkers: The original Flat Iron in the Flats is still thriving.) All three spots closed just before the arrival of 2003.

On the other hand, Ohio City's popular Erie Bleu shut down way back in October. Early reports claimed there were problems between partners Paul Tomko and Anne Bloomberg. But when we talked to Bloomberg soon after, she denied as much, saying the restaurant had simply closed for renovations. Our recent requests for comment from either Tomko or Bloomberg have been sidestepped. But with neighborhood operatives insisting they've seen the kitchen equipment being carted away, a reopening doesn't seem likely.

Then there's the 100th Bomb Group, the WWII-themed restaurant in the shadow of Hopkins International Airport. When the spot closed last March to make way for the runway expansion project, officials announced plans to reopen in a nearby location (20920 Brookpark Road) in time for Christmas. Well, ho-ho-ho -- with the holidays here and gone, Specialty Restaurants Corporation's regional director, Robert Cannan, says the new location's ETA has been bumped to September. Cannan lays blame for the slow progress on the usual suspect (construction delays) and vows the company remains "one hundred percent committed" to the Cleveland market.

Finally, look for the Old Angle Tavern to open in two stages over the next month or so, in the former Ohio City Hardware building (1848 West 25th Street). Developer Alex Gleason (landlord for nearby Johnny Mango and silent partner in several area restaurants) and chef Matt Jozsa (formerly of Flying Fig) have teamed up to create what they hope will become a cozy neighborhood restaurant and bar, serving an upscale menu of rustic comfort foods. The 50-seat dining room will take up one of the building's two renovated storefronts; a carryout operation serving much the same menu will occupy the other. The carryout (216-861-5515) should be up and running sometime this week; the dining room (216-861-5643) is expected to open in mid- to late February. The Angle, incidentally, was the locals' name for the neighborhood back in the 19th century.

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