Roman Holiday

For Ohio City, something new to chew on.

Bar Cento 100-bottle wine list Cleveland Play House Cleveland dining hotspots
When it came to designing Bar Cento, the upcoming food-and-wine addendum to McNulty's Bier Markt, chef Jonathon Sawyer says he found his inspiration in Roman enotecas, those small, inexpensive wine bars that dot the city's landscape. A peek at the menu, scheduled to debut around October 16 (the savvy Sawyer declined to be pinned down further), provides some mouthwatering examples of exactly what that means.

Among the reasonably priced starters, for instance, you'll find tidbits like house-marinated olives with rosemary and orange peel ($4), and an antipasto platter with cured salumi, cheese, olives, and veggies ($9). Crispy-crusted pizza, with toppings ranging from the traditional (tomatoes, olives, sausage, and the like) to the au courant (potatoes, eggs, or foie gras, say) will run from $6 to $17. And entrée choices include mushroom ragu with basil, leeks, and parmesan broth ($14), and baked ziti with sage, pancetta, chestnuts, and fresh ricotta ($15).

There'll be $10 daily specials too -- including lasagna on Sundays, meatballs on Mondays, and so forth. The bar also will offer a 100-bottle wine list featuring Italian and West Coast labels.

Once it opens, the 70-seat Bar Cento will share both hours (4:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Sunday through Friday and noon to 2:30 a.m. on Saturdays) and an entrance with the Bier Markt, and menu items will be available throughout the joint facility. Find 'em at 1948 West 25th Street, across from West Side Market; 216-344-9944.

Act II: Most restaurants would kill for a captive audience, but not the Cleveland Play House's private Play House Club (8501 Carnegie Avenue), which for 44 years turned away potential customers in favor of members only. Finally, the head honchos wised up, tapping veteran Cleveland restaurateur Gary Lucarelli (Players on Madison, Star) to redesign the space as Stages, which debuted last month as a public restaurant. Of course, Stages remains a fine amenity for regulars, who can buy a perk-filled membership that includes concierge service, free valet parking, and more. But it also works well for the occasional theatergoer, who can snare a ticket, dinner, and parking package for about 65 bucks. Live jazz and Latin bands will play on Friday and Saturday nights. For details, call 216-795-1111 or visit -- Cicora

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