Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Hilarities Ensues 

A new entertainment complex brings a major fun infusion to Gateway.

The beleaguered Gateway District, which struggles to attract diners when its sports venues are silent, is scheduled to get a major fun infusion. Pickwick & Frolic, an ambitious 27,000-square-foot entertainment complex at 2035 East Fourth Street, is expected to debut in November, with a 425-seat Hilarities Comedy Club, a 150-seat cabaret/dinner theater, a cocktail lounge with seating for more than 100, and a 174-seat restaurant, serving what owner Nick Kostis calls "rustic American cuisine." The casual, no-tablecloth dining room will come with an open kitchen, a stone oven, and a focus on big portions of familiar foods like wood-fired meatloaf, seafood, steaks, and rotisserie chicken. Other house specialties will include black-bean chili, skillet corn bread, gourmet pizza, and classic Caesar Salad, tossed tableside. Breakfast and lunch will also be served. A separate sandwich-and-salad station, where office workers can score a made-to-order lunch to eat in the restaurant (with no tipping) or to take back to the workplace for an afternoon of multitasking, is likely to be a draw.

Lucky Dog . . .

Speaking of Gateway, Jo Jo's Colony Tavern recently opened at 503 Prospect Avenue, inside the Colonial Marketplace, in space formerly occupied by Wallaby's Brewing Company. The handsome interior, with a view into the Colonial Arcade, is all brass and frosted glass, with a large island bar, an open kitchen, and seating for as many as 250. Executive Chef Robert Trevisanutto did time at Sammy's, the Terrace Club, and the Browns Stadium before embarking on this adventure with operating partner Paul Glatt, and together they have assembled a menu of well-executed sandwiches, steaks, chops, and bar noshes. A lunchtime visit netted us an enormous breaded-grouper sandwich, crunchy outside and juicy within, served with zesty red-pepper aioli and a tangle of slender, skin-on french fries, reasonably priced at $6.50. And homemade New York-style cheesecake ($5), with a crisp graham-cracker crumb crust, is among the best downtown has to offer. Dining-room hours are 11:30 a.m. through 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with the bar open later; the tavern is open on Sundays only if there is an event in Gateway. As for the restaurant's namesake, Jo Jo is Glatt's pooch, adopted from an animal shelter. Good dog. Sit. Eat.

Touchdown . . .

If there was any doubt about it, last week's sold-out Taste of the NFL's Cleveland Browns Celebrity Dinner firmly established the event as the city's premier food-related fundraiser. Now in its third year, the affair is a class act, from the complimentary valet parking to the exclusive setting in the OfficeMax Club Lounge to the extraordinary food, supplied by Cleveland's best restaurants. Among our favorite small bites were Jon Bennett's (Moxie) buttery crescents of foie gras terrine, perched atop a wedge of toasted brioche and topped with sweet-tart plum preserves; Donna Chriszt's (OZ) plump pot- stickers; and Paul Minnillo's (Baricelli Inn) succulent duck-and-goat-cheese ravioli. Between rarefied sips and sups, the well-dressed guests, who had anted up $150 per ticket, hobnobbed with local television and radio personalities and current and former Browns players, including the legendary Jim Brown (who was seen shaking hands, but refusing requests for autographs). More than 1,000 guests attended, raising more than $80,000 for the Cleveland Foodbank. Start saving your pennies now, and plan to attend next year.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Vegan Monday @ The Winchester

    • Mondays

© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation