Walking around the former home of That Place on Bellflower, it's difficult to imagine the space ready for its early-November opening. Gutted like a fish, the building is stripped down to its shell in order to undo years of neglect, shoddy repairs and haphazard improvements. "They really let this place go," says tour guide and future operator Zack Bruell. "We are going to bring it back to the condition it should have been in all along."
Extending his brand, which now includes Parallax and Table 45, Bruell is preparing to open L'Albatros in the historic carriage house on the CWRU campus. When it opened 30 years ago, That Place impressed Clevelanders with its classic French bistro fare. When the restaurant closed in May, dishes like beef Wellington and duck a l'orange no longer held the appeal they once did. Bruell is sticking with the French theme, but his casual brasserie will be anything but passé. Aiming to satisfy not just theatergoers and doctors, but also students, artists and musicians, Bruell says the restaurant will be affordable, approachable and spirited. "It will be the kind of place where you can spend $15 or a $150 dollars," he says. Retaining that "carriage-house feel," L'Albatros will be an intimate 110-seat restaurant, more when the venerated garden patio reopens next spring. The characteristic brick floors and exposed-brick walls will be retained, and the kitchen will still be the first thing guests see when they arrive. A reconfigured bar will change the look of the main room. The name, by the way, refers to the remarkably rare 3-under-par shot in golf. It also can refer to a frustrating encumbrance. "My intention is the former," notes Bruell. "But I'm sure if I get a negative review, they'll refer to the other connotation."
There will be an injection of fresh blood at another historic property when Hospitality Restaurants opens a new spot in the former home of Inn at Turner's Mill. George Schindler, partner of the restaurant group that includes Blue Point Grille, Salmon Dave's, Cabin Club and Delmonico's, says that originally he had no interest in the 150-year-old property. But major renovations will transform the space from a 200-seat behemoth to a more reasonable 100-seat restaurant. "It's a little early in the process to project much of anything," says Schindler, "but it will be a brand-new fresh concept for Hospitality Restaurants." The as-yet-unnamed eatery will open sometime next year. [email protected]