For nearly 20 years, Winking Lizard has been a fixture on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights, where it replaced Pepper Ridge Tavern, which replaced Turkey Ridge Tavern before that.
That all ends after business tonight when the restaurant (1852 Coventry Rd., 216-397-8380) closes for good. Plans have been in the works for over a year to build a new eastside location in Mayfield, with Coventry closing around the same time. Although the new location won’t be open until first quarter 2017, owner John Lane said that the time had come.
“The landlord has found somebody else to take over the space so we’re leaving,” he explains, adding that while abrupt, it makes sense to move swiftly. “This is always the best way when you’re closing a restaurant. It’s tough on the staff when you drag it out.”
All of the current employees will be moving to other locations, he says.
The shiny new location will open across the street from Hillcrest Hospital on SOM Center Road.
“It’s been a great 19 years, but the space didn’t afford what we do,” Lane explains. “There is no outdoor space, and parking has become more and more of an issue over there. Guests want ease of getting in and out.”