Over Easy

Downtown's Carnegie Kitchen changes hands and steps up its focus on breakfast

At least for now, visitors to Carnegie Kitchen shouldn't notice any drastic changes in the downtown breakfast and lunch spot. This, despite the fact that the 15-month-old restaurant just changed hands. Owners Jeff Uniatowski and Codino Samarellis sold the business last week to Jim Douglas, owner of Best Friends in Mentor and Geneva.

"This wasn't originally part of our plan," explains chef Uniatowski. "We have a couple of other things in the works that are coming up quicker than we thought. To be honest, it was a very hard decision."

Douglas, who describes Best Friends as a "family-style restaurant serving breakfast all day and homemade specials," says that the opportunity proved too good to pass up.

"I always wanted to be downtown somewhere, especially with the stadium close by," he says.

Most changes will be directed toward the morning, he adds. "We will be trying to push more breakfast; it's very slow."

He will do that by adding items and reducing prices.

"People don't want to spend $12 for two eggs, bacon, home fries, and orange juice — I don't care if it's downtown or anywhere," he says. "It's still just two eggs, bacon, home fries, and orange juice. It should be around $8."

Lunches, which are doing great, will be treated with the lightest touch.

Carnegie Kitchen's name, phone, days, and hours are not expected to change. As for Uniatowski's next move? That's a different story.

"Things should happen pretty quick," he says vaguely. "We have a few things in the works."

Carnegie Kitchen is at 1332 Carnegie Ave.; call them at 216-862-6788.

COOL BEANS: Phoenix Coffee, recently voted Northeast Ohio's best java by Scene readers, will drop its brew wisdom at a pair of classes being offered at the Wine Spot in Cleveland Heights.

"The reason we thought it would be cool to partner with the Wine Spot is because the customers going there are interested not only in wine but probably also in developing their palates," says CEO Sarah Wilson-Jones. "Coffee tasting is a valid and interesting way to develop our sense of taste."

Two classes — Coffee 101 and Coffee 102 — are set for Saturday, April 14, and Saturday, April 28. The first is geared toward teaching guests how to taste and evaluate coffee at home and in coffee shops, while the second offers pointers on how to brew better coffee at home.

Through "cupping" — a ritualized coffee-tasting process — Coffee 101 students will learn the differences between light and dark roasts, Colombian versus Sumatran beans, and single varietals versus blends. "There will be a lot of slurping and sipping going on," Wilson-Jones says.

Coffee 102 is for everybody who has ever asked, Why does my coffee always taste like crap when the coffee shop's tastes so good?

It's less a matter of equipment than technique, says Wilson-Jones. Students will walk away from each class with 12 ounces of Phoenix coffee.

Would-be connoisseurs can attend one or both classes. Advance registration is $25 for one or $45 for both; either one will cost you $30 on the day of the event. Reserve your space at phoenixcoffee.com/tickets.

Classes run from 9:30 to 11 a.m. The Wine Spot is at 2271 Lee Rd. in Cleveland Heights.

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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...
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