Shakeup in Chinatown 

Tin Fu goes disco.

The Tin Fu Café (3400 St. Clair Avenue) is getting a cross-cultural makeover that could bring a little Warehouse District sizzle to sleepy Chinatown.

Cleveland club owner, pirate-radio vet, and popular DJ Jerry Szoka is the force behind the project, which includes plans to broaden the menu to feature American and Asian-fusion fare, and to convert Tin Fu's former attached market into a dance club to be christened Club 34. Szoka, along with owner Jenny Chan, plans to implement the changes over the next few weeks.

"The area is saturated with struggling Chinese restaurants that aren't doing anything different," he says. "Jenny and I see this as a way to bring a little excitement to the area and to try a new approach."

To help in the menu makeover, Szoka has drafted chef Todd Mashlan, a Toledo native and former executive sous chef for the Canton City Club. Look for Mashlan to start out with familiar pastas and south-of-the-border dishes, and eventually ease into some funkier fusion riffs. The kitchen will be open from 10:30 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday and until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, when a special late-night/breakfast menu will be served. Meantime, a weekday lunch buffet is being planned for the club space.

Szoka says that the 200-to-300-seat club will be used for everything from wedding rehearsals to corporate-training sessions. So far, Friday nights are booked for salsa, and Szoka himself will be spinning house and techno tunes on Saturdays.

Sweet Sorrow, Part Two . . . Yes, Draeger's Candy and Ice Cream (20190 Van Aken Boulevard) is still slated to close. But no, the Shaker Heights landmark isn't gone yet.

Back in September, we reported that the 52-year-old Draeger's was losing its lease to make way for yet another discount drugstore. At that time, owners Gerry and Fred Draeger figured that the end would come by New Year's Day; today, though, it looks as if the doors will remain open at least until Valentine's Day.

The two, who are approaching retirement, have decided not to rebuild in a new location. Still, Fred holds open the possibility that they may resurrect the handmade-chocolates part of the business in the future.

Global warning . . . Our favorite pelmeni palace, Globe Café, is out of business. The little Russian restaurant in Akron's Merriman Valley shut down around the end of December. Word has it that an Irish pub may be slated for the space.


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