Checking In On Simmering Projects and Restaurant Launches Crossing the Finish Line This Fall

Is that place open yet?

It's fall: the leaves are changing, the days are growing shorter, and the list of forthcoming restaurants is growing longer by the day. In what has become an annual tradition here at Scene, we take a look at some of the most anticipated new food and drink projects on our radar. Some, like Mabel's BBQ, Arcadian and Banter, are making repeat appearances from last year. Here we go:

If it feels like we've been waiting many moons for Mabel's BBQ to open on East Fourth Street, that's because we have. Michael Symon first announced plans for his "Cleveland-style" barbecue joint last summer, and we've been waiting impatiently ever since. Symon & Co. are shooting for a November opening of the 100-seat casual eatery, which will feature the chef's Cleveland BBQ Sauce, a tangy Bertman Ball Park Mustard-based sauce sweetened with a touch of Ohio maple syrup. Diners can expect oak- and applewood-smoked brisket, beef, pork and lamb ribs, pulled pork, grilled smoked chicken and kielbasa. Starters and snacks include smoked peanuts, pork rinds and crispy pig ears and tails. 

It was exactly one year ago this week that we first shared Matt Stipe's plans for Banter, a contemporary bottle shop and cafe in Detroit Shoreway. The good news is that Stipe and his crew are now approaching the finish line, with an estimated opening slated for October. The 1,750-square-foot shop at West 74th Street and Detroit will combine a retail beer and wine shop with a scratch kitchen turning out quick, casual foods crafted by Adam Lambert. Along with grab-and-go adult beverages, the shop will offer comforting yet progressive fare built around Lambert's hand-crafted sausages and Quebec-style poutine.

Speaking of Adam Lambert, his Ohio City Provisions project is gearing up for a pre-Thanksgiving opening. That's when he and partner Trevor Clatterbuck will unveil their dual-purpose storefront on Lorain, which will feature a full-service butcher shop and a retail market selling local produce, grains, meats and dairy. While Lambert will be handling all the meaty bits, converting whole animals into more manageable cuts and chops, as well as tasty sausages and cured meats, Clatterbuck will run the grocery as an extension of Fresh Fork, gearing the operation to customers for whom the weekly subscription model isn't a good fit.

When chef Vytauras Sasnauskas left Americano, he vowed that he would not be returning to the restaurant business — unless it involved Neapolitan-style pizza. Come October, that's precisely what he'll be doing when Citizen Pie debuts on Waterloo across the street from Beachland Ballroom. Sasnauskas and partners Claudia Young and Velvet Tango Room owner Paulius Nasvytis have designed a small pizza-focused cafe built around a wood-fueled Stefano Ferrara brick oven from Naples. The lunch and dinner menu will be hyper-focused on pizza, with likely six regular pies, one seasonal pie and two calzones.

It's been a busy year for Jonah Oryszak, who spent much of that time converting a 150-year-old building on Lorain Avenue in Ohio City into a contemporary backdrop for his cafe and bistro The Plum. He and partners Nate Lobas and Brett Sawyer are shooting for a November opening. In the morning, The Plum will operate as a neighborhood cafe offering quick-serve coffee and pastries. Counter-service lunch will follow, with soups, salads, sandwiches and grab-and-go beverages. Come 4 p.m., The Plum will convert to a full-service farm-to-table bistro serving seasonal American food.

Any day now, Chow Chow Kitchen will open its doors to a Lakewood audience eager for something different. Banish the notion of another burger bar or taco shop: Chow Chow is rooted in the Deep South, dishing up updated comfort food classics gleaned from food-obsessed destinations like New Orleans, Nashville and the Low Country. Owner Joseph Zegarac says that he "wants to focus on dishes that have been around for a long time." So get ready for Nashville-style hot chicken, crispy fried shaved catfish, smoked pork Po' Boys, City Chicken and hushpuppies. Short of 1,000 square feet, the space will focus largely on take-out, delivery and catering.

Detroit Shoreway residents have been following the Arcadian project since spring of 2013, when we broke the news that chef Cory Hess snagged the old City Grill property at West 65th and Detroit. Since then, he and architect Robert Maschke have deconstructed and reconstructed the space into a glassy two-level bistro that bears little resemblance to its former self. Opening this fall, Arcadian is Hess' version of an updated neighborhood pizza parlor, with a buzzy lower-level pub and more serene second-level dining room. Diners can look forward to American bar snacks, modern pizzas, sandwiches and entrees.

For more than 15 years, Gavi's was the place to go in Willoughby for fine Italian food. But the restaurant closed four years ago and the landmark building, a 100-year-old brick structure originally built as a streetcar powerhouse, has been sitting idle. Come October the recently renovated space will reopen as Local Sol Kitchen & Cantiki, a Latin American meets Polynesian themed eatery from the crew behind the Local Tavern restaurant group. Guests can look forward to a lot of fun small plates, sharable items and Latin-themed entrees. To wash it all down will be a list of craft beers, wines by the glass, classic cocktails and Tiki-style drinks.

Building off his 16-year run as chef at Players, Anthony Romano is ready to make a new start in an old space. Following the early October closure of the 30-year-old restaurant, the space will reopen in November as Sarita, a New American restaurant. Going forward the chef vows to lighten up the dishes and deliver health-conscious foods with Asian, Latin and Mediterranean flair. To go along with the new name and menu, the interior will undergo a makeover as well.

Folks who know Dante Boccuzzi are keenly aware of his fixation with rock and roll. When he isn't cooking in one of his kitchens he's likely tearing it up on stage with his axe. So it isn't all that surprising that he built a live-music venue in his basement. When it opens in October, Coda will be Tremont's only club purposely built for live music. The sexy little subterranean grotto beneath Next Door features a colorful graffiti wall emblazoned with the logos of bands and musicians like the Rolling Stones, Devo, Beck, Cheap Trick and the Kinks. Nightly, crowds of 50 to 70 guests will enjoy live rock, blues or funk bands, bar food and bevvies.

Herb'n Twine Sandwich Co., a modern take on the grab-and-go sandwich concept, is on track to open in October, reports owner Brendon Messina. The "modern-meets-distressed" space on Lorain has been reworked into a clean, simple and straightforward neighborhood shop where local residents, commercial tenants and anybody else looking for a wholesome, delicious lunch or dinner can pop in for soups, salads and about a half-dozen creative sandwiches. Messina will rely heavily on local producers and suppliers from the West Side Market as well as area bakeries.

For 80 years, the Mayfield Cafe served as a private and public watering hole for residents of Little Italy. When that space reopens in November it will be as the Tavern of Little Italy, which will be a vast departure from most restaurants in the neighborhood. Following a top-to-bottom renovation of the 100-year-old building, the space is being reborn as a cozy and casual American pub with draft beer, updated pub grub and no shortage of flat screens for gameday.

Partners Johnny Lis and Brad Wiescinski are hopeful that their New York-style pizza restaurant Pizza (216) will open before the calendar switches over to 2016. The shop will be in the Old Arcade, in a storefront space across the street from the Corner Alley. Pizza lovers will have their pick from traditional and creatively topped thin-crust pizzas baked in a 700-plus degree brick oven. One, a carbonara-style pie, has a vodka cream sauce base and is topped with parsley, garlic, fresh peas, Parmesan cheese and sliced prosciutto.

When Hospitality Restaurants opens its latest Rosewood Grill this month, it will have both its oldest and newest properties in the same neighborhood in Westlake. It joins Cabin Club, Salmon Dave’s, Blue Point Grille, Delmonico’s Steakhouse and two additional RWGs in Hudson and Strongsville. Since the first opened in 2009, Rosewood has earned a reputation as a sophisticated but casual American eatery with great food, great drinks and great service.

About The Author

Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
Scroll to read more Food News articles


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

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