The dictionary defines the word "fracas" as a noisy, disorderly disturbance, but on the night we visited Fracas Restaurant (2781 Euclid Heights Blvd., 216-321-6000, fracascleveland.com), a diner could hear an olive drop. Granted, it was the week between Christmas and New Year's, but that doesn't always translate into slow business.
Billed as a gastropub, the locally owned eatery opened in early December in the historic Centrum Theater near Coventry Road. Chef-owner Phil Romano, formerly of Hyde Park and House of Blues, has done a wonderful job freshening up the old main theater space. Old-time paint colors, intricate plaster work, and cool movie-theater lighting give this place a distinctive look. But it's the sheer volume of the room that stops diners in their tracks — especially after making the trip down the narrow entrance tunnel.