Bigger Is Better

It takes Big Guys to make big pizzas.

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Cleveland entrepreneurs John Hotz and Mike Genco -- the real-life big guys behind Big Guys Pizza (2539 W. 10th Street) -- have taken the next step toward world domination by opening a second carryout pizza shop in Brecksville, at 7032 Mill Road.

Just like the original Big Guys in Tremont, the new spot serves oversized, N.Y.-style pies, laden with cheese, garnished with an entire head of roasted garlic, and baked to order in gas-fired brick ovens. Barbecued ribs, subs, chicken wings, and pastas round out the menu -- not to mention the clientele.

But not content to merely blanket the region with mozzarella and garlic, the guys are also broadening their scope: Next on their agenda is a full-service, sit-down restaurant and lounge in Brook Park, which, besides the pies, will feature steaks, ribs, and martinis in what Hotz says will be "a Las Vegas-style atmosphere," complete with live entertainment and late-night hours.

We asked Hotz, who also operates Tremont's historic Hotz Café (2529 W. 10th Street), if going from neighborhood bars and carryout 'zas to Las Vegas glam wasn't a bit of a stretch?

"Nah," he says, with the equanimity of a well-fed guy. "It's still good food, no matter where you eat it."

Keno's, at 15318 Brookpark Road, is scheduled to open in November.

Hand of Chriszt . . . Fans of chef Donna Chriszt (Jeso, J Café, and OZ) need go no longer without their RDA of sassy dishes like voodoo chicken, Charleston pulled pork, and pot stickers served with peanut-ginger, wasabi, and teriyaki dipping sauce: All those and more are on the menu at Chriszt's new Lorain County kitchen, NINE Bar & Bistro, at the Grey Hawk Golf Club (665 U.S. Grant Street, LaGrange; 440-355-4844).

The chef, who serves as both the club's GM and the restaurant's top toque, says that the operation got off to the usual rocky start when it opened almost three months ago, with construction continuing nearly until the moment of opening. Now, though, the rough edges have been smoothed, and Chriszt says that she's looking forward to welcoming foodies and former fans to her new digs.

NINE's kitchen operates from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for brunch and 3 to 7 p.m. for dinner on Sunday. On Tuesdays, the culinary team gets time off, although the bar is open from noon to 6 p.m. Both the restaurant and golf course are open to the public.

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