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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Taco Bell Cantina on Public Square to Open June 14

Posted By on Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 11:47 AM

Update: Welp, the soft target of a September 2016 opening for the Taco Bell Cantina on Public Square came and went. Here we are in the summer of 2017 all wondering — we assume — when oh when we'll be able to eat Taco Bell while drinking instead of drinking and then eating Taco Bell.

Taco Bell finally has an answer.

The Cantina will open on June 14 at 11 a.m. The first 100 people in line will get some Taco Bell t-shirt swag, which sounds dumb but bet your ass there will be at least 100 people who line up for that shit.


(Original story 8/30/16): Back in June, we shared the news that Cleveland would be on the receiving end of a Taco Bell Cantina, a new concept from the “Mexican” themed fast-food mega-chain. In 2015, Taco Bell opened up its first two Cantina restaurants in San Francisco and Chicago, promising future spots in urban settings like Cleveland.

“Expansion into urban markets is a key focus for us both this year and over the course of the next several years,” Brian Niccol, Chief Executive Officer at Taco Bell Corp. said in a release.

According to Taco Bell, these urban concept restaurants have five things in common that differentiate them from standard Taco Bells: décor, localized artwork, open kitchen layout, open plating and shareable menus. Additionally, Cantina restaurants serve alcoholic beverages, which can include beer, wine and sangria.

Yes, you can soon get loaded at the place where you go to eat after getting loaded (though we recommend still getting loaded before because, well, Taco Bell).

The Cleveland spot is earmarked for the old Cadillac Ranch space on Euclid by Public Square. The rustic/modern style features reclaimed wood, corrugated metal, brick and glassy, open kitchens.

While corporate has been vague as to opening dates, a recent Craigslist ad in search of employees for the new spot is pegging the opening at mid-September.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant Now Open in Cleveland Heights

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 1:41 PM


Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant opened this week in Cleveland Heights (2240 Lee Rd., 216-465-3239). 

Ethiopian cuisine is characterized both by its unique flavors and its communal presentation, a family-style approach with multiple items arriving on a large platter.

Vegetable, grain, meat and fish-based stews, some of which are spicy, are scooped up and eaten with small pieces of injera, a spongy flatbread made from fermented teff batter.

“I’m eager to share the food and how to eat it with people,” says owner Zeleke Belete.

Doro wat, perhaps the most familiar dish, is a spicy chicken-based stew made with berbere, a fiery spice blend. Derek tibs, which Belete will serve in a crock over an open flame, is a flavorful beef stirfry with garlic, onion, tomato and rosemary. Many Ethiopian dishes are built around lentils, split peas, chick peas and greens, making them popular with vegetarians.

You can check out a little more (but not a full menu yet) at their Facebook page.


(Original story 8/8/16): Despite a sizable Ethiopian contingent here in Northeast Ohio, there has been one and only one restaurant built specifically to cater to them and others eager to sample their cuisine. For 25 years, Empress Taytu (6125 St. Clair Ave., 216-391-9400) has had the Ethiopian restaurant game locked up tight.

That monopoly will end next month when Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant opens on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. The business is being opened by Zeleke Belete, a resident of Shaker Heights who was born in that African country.

“In other big cities, Ethiopian food is as popular as Chipotle,” Belete explains. “I want to bring that kind of thing to Cleveland. I am originally from Ethiopia and I know a lot of other people who are looking to eat Ethiopian food. People these days are tired of eating pizza and burgers.”

After searching for the better part of a year to nail down a location, Belete settled on Cleveland Heights because of the east-side neighborhood’s proximity to diners, especially adventurous ones.

Ethiopian cuisine is characterized both by its unique flavors and its communal presentation, a family-style approach with multiple items arriving on a large platter. Vegetable, grain, meat and fish-based stews, some of which are spicy, are scooped up and eaten with small pieces of injera, a spongy flatbread made from fermented teff batter.

“I’m eager to share the food and how to eat it with people,” Belete says.

Doro wat, perhaps the most familiar dish, is a spicy chicken-based stew made with berbere, a fiery spice blend. Derek tibs, which Belete will serve in a crock over an open flame, is a flavorful beef stirfry with garlic, onion, tomato and rosemary. Many Ethiopian dishes are built around lentils, split peas, chick peas and greens, making them popular with vegetarians.

“When people think of African food they think of fufu and food from West Africa and Nigeria,” Belete says. “Our food is colorful. A lot of people when they see the food for the first time it opens their eyes.”

The restaurant will seat about 50 guests in a setting that features grass huts and other traditional design elements. It will be open seven days a week and will be an affordable option for those eager to sample Ethiopian food, the owner stresses.

“It will be family friendly,” he notes. “There are a lot of Ethiopians here, but they don’t all go out to eat."

Of course, Ethiopia has a storied coffee history and culture. Zoma will offer a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, a process that makes Third Wave seem rudimentary. Green coffee beans are roasted to order in a hot pan, ground, brewed and served from a clay vessel while incense smolders away in the background.

“Enjoying the aroma is part of the whole process,” he adds.

Zoma, which is named after a small village in the northern part of the country, will open in mid to late September. 

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Former Sandusky County Sheriff Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Felony Drug Thefts

Posted By on Tue, Dec 13, 2016 at 1:12 PM

Sheriff Kyle Overmyer - PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIE CO.
  • Photo courtesy of Erie Co.
  • Sheriff Kyle Overmyer
Update: The long saga of former Sandusky County Sheriff crashed into the courts again today, with Kyle Overmyer catching four years in prison for his prescription drug racket and thefts. 

During the hearing, Bellevue Police Chief Mark Kaufman told the court, “He felt he was above the law.”

Check out fuller details in the original posts below.


(Updated 11/22/16): Suspended Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer, who refused to resign after being indicted on multiple felony counts earlier this year and ran for and lost a re-election bid earlier this month, has pleaded guilty to 13 felony drug and theft charges.

He'll face sentencing on December 13.

Overmyer had originally faced 43 charges before the plea deal. He'd been accused of stealing prescription drugs from drop-off boxes and conning doctors into writing him prescriptions for pain killers.


(Updated 11/2/16): Suspended Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer is, to put it in law enforcement parlance, a real piece of work.

Overmyer allegedly rounded up drugs from prescription drug disposal drop boxes, as well as deceived doctors into prescribing him painkillers. 

For those and other offenses, he was indicted on some 43 charges back in August. 

He pleaded not guilty and was out on bond.

Now a special prosecutor says he should be shipped back to jail while he awaits trial in March 2017, according to the Associated Press. It seems Sheriff Shitbag violated his release terms, specifically by having contact with witnesses in the case and in the Sandusky County Sheriff's office during his suspension.

His attorney has thrown out the "this has everything to do with the election and voting and not my client's shitbag behavior" excuse. Yes, he's still on the ballot. (Dear lord, Sandusky, please don't re-elect him.)


(Original story 8/24/16): Yesterday, Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer was indicted on 43 charges by a grand jury. Of the 43 charges:

- 20 are drug-related. In all cases, the drug is a pharmaceutical opioid—Percocet, Hydrocodone or Oxycodone.

- 12 are related to the alteration, removal, destruction, etc., of records belonging to local, state or federal government.

- Six are for theft as a public official of amounts between $1,000 and $7,500.

- Five are for filing a false statement knowingly.

- 38 of the 43 are felonies, while the remaining five are misdemeanors. 12 of the felonies are third degree, 21 are fourth degree and the remaining five are fifth degree.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Overmyer has been ordered to turn over his gun, badge and have no contact with the sheriff’s office or any potential witnesses by Judge Patricia Cosgrove. Bond has been set at $150,000. The case will go to trial on March 6, 2017, if Overmyer makes bond.

An investigation began in 2015 after a number of local police chiefs expressed concern about the conduct of Overmyer in regard to his handling of prescription drugs obtained from take-back boxes across the county. In February earlier this year, Hamilton O’Brien of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office began the investigation.

Overmyer has been the Sheriff of Sandusky County since 2008, and is up for re-election in November. He is the youngest elected Sheriff in Ohio at 34.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Cleveland Bagel Co. Now Open in Ohio City

Posted By on Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 10:02 AM

Update: Cleveland Bagel officially opened its doors recently and the response has been overwhelming so far, to say the least.

Yesterday, for instance, they were all sold out before 9 a.m.


The lesson: do get there early and check their Facebook page before you head out.

The shop opens at 6:30 a.m. 

  • Photo by Frank J. Lanza

(Original story 8/5/16): Up to this point, the boys from Cleveland Bagel Co. (216-395-7723) have been working out of rented space, first at the Cleveland Culinary Launch & Kitchen and currently in a space belonging to Ohio City Pasta. That arrangement has been workable but not ideal, says owner Dan Herbst, who along with partner Geoff Hardman launched the food-based startup in 2013.

“This will be the first time the kitchen will be set up the way I want it to be as opposed to just working in the situation that was offered to us,” he explains.

The new facility (4201 Detroit Ave.) is across the street from the Harp restaurant and will serve as the new home for Cleveland Bagel Co.’s production kitchen. Bigger and better equipment will allow the owners to expand their wholesale business, which currently is around 30 accounts spread across the city. Instead of just a giant pot for boiling the bagels, Herbst says the new 40-gallon tilting kettle will greatly increase efficiency, as will a pair of new ovens.

“We’ll be able to work on other products too, like a really good rye bagel, a pumpernickel bagel, and a fruity breakfast bagel like cinnamon and cranberry,” he says.

But the best part of the equation is the 1,100-square-foot retail space, which will offer up fresh, hot, malty hand-rolled Cleveland-style bagels directly to customers.

“Doing wholesale business, nobody ever really gets the chance to get fresh bagels right out of the oven,” says Herbst, adding that those bagels were baked and delivered hours earlier.

Of course, the shop will offer coffee service, bagel and schmears, and will add a small roster of bagel sandwiches down the road.

“If we keep it simple and focus on quality it will be nice,” he adds.

Herbst says they’ll be baking in the space within weeks and the retail shop will be open this September.  

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Update: Rock Hall Announces Additions to 21st Annual Music Masters Series

Posted By on Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 11:18 AM

  • Sony Music
Earlier today, the Rock Hall announced that Sam Bush, Paul Cauthen, Ana Cristina, Ira Dean, Nikki Lane, Terry McBride, Bill Miller, the Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Worsham, and Cash’s longtime drummer WS Holland will join previously announced artists Mike Ness of Social Distortion, Eilen Jewell, and L.A. punk band X, to honor the “Man in Black” during the Annual Music Masters Series tribute concert on Oct. 21.


As was previously announced, John Carter Cash will serve as executive bandleader and keyboardist Tony Harrell as band director. Grammy-winning producer, author and singer, John Carter Cash will serve as executive bandleader of the 21st Annual Music Masters series tribute concert which is a part of a weeklong series of events honoring John Carter Cash’s father, Johnny Cash.

Keyboardist Tony Harrell, a studio musician who worked with Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Williams Jr. and Ray Price, will serve as the band director.  The lineup also includes Mike Ness of Social Distortion, singer-songwriter Eilen Jewell, and the L.A. punk band X.

Continue reading »

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Friday, September 16, 2016

The Butt-Naked Donald Trump Statue Has Been Released Back to the Artist

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2016 at 11:08 AM

  • Courtesy of The Hill

Update: The artist behind "The Emperor Has No Balls" claimed his naked Donald Trump statue from Cleveland Heights City Hall at 11 a.m. this morning. Cleveland Heights police had earlier whisked it away almost as soon as it was installed in Coventry back in August. The artist, who goes by the name "Ginger" and is from Garfield Heights, will auction off the statue with proceeds benefitting public arts projects in Coventry Village and throughout Cleveland Heights. More info on that when it's available.

Update (9/16/16): : The naked Donald Trump statue is no more, at least for now. 

Big Fun in Coventry managed to get a BSFW (barely safe for work) snapshot of the statue before it was hauled away:

Residents say the statue was originally located near the corner of Euclid Heights Blvd. and Coventry, but was removed by the city of Cleveland Heights.

We're not sure if the piece will appear anywhere else next, but check out this video of the statues (there are five in all) being made:

Arts writer Josh Usmani adds:

As we learned, the project, The Emperor Has No Ballls, was part of a five-city, guerilla art installation by INDECLINE. With the RNC already long gone, it’s placement in Cleveland – more accurately, Cleveland Hts. – seemed odd in a list including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City and Seattle. So why Cleveland? It turns out the artist responsible for these statues is originally from Cleveland.

“INDECLINE set out to source a sculptor who would be tasked with creating 5 life-size statues of Donald Trump,” organizers explained through a press release yesterday. “These statues would then be transported to five major US cities to be installed in broad daylight in high traffic areas using an industrial strength epoxy. The installation would commence and be fully documented on the same day, at the same time, in each of the 5 cities.”

“Ginger” is a Cleveland-born artist, currently living in Las Vegas. Previous to his commission from INDECLINE, he served as the director of Eli Roth’s Goretorium, a haunted house in Vegas. His work has also been featured on various television shows and films. His ability to capture the grotesque and monstrous is what initially drew INDECLINE to the artist.



Apparently, there's a fully naked statue of Donald Trump popping up in cities across America...including Cleveland.


Indecline, the anarchist collective group responsible for the project, also set up the life-size statues in NYC, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The group says the statue is part of their "The Emperor Has No Balls" project, which is inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen children's tale "The Emperor Has No Clothes".

Each statue weighs about 300 lbs. and the project took four months to complete.

We're not yet sure where the Cleveland statue is located, but if you've seen him give us a holler.

(Hat Tip The Hill)

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hansa Brewery in Ohio City Now Open

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 11:37 AM


Update: If you've been checking in on this project over the years, the news last month that Hansa was nearing the finish line was glorious news. 

Better news this week: Hansa's now open. There's an official grand opening on Saturday, but Boris Music says they're open now if you want to stop by. 

Six beers are on tap with Hansa's Oktoberfest coming as soon as this weekend.

For more background on the project, if you're just learning about it, check out our original coverage below.


(Original story 8/11/16): Boris Music made big news when he broke ground in April of 2013 on his multi-million dollar construction project that would transform the corner of Lorain and W. 28th into a shiny new brewery, restaurant and retail shop. While much of the construction has been completed for months, Music still needed to jump that final and most important hurdle: obtaining all applicable local, state and federal permits.

That officially happened around 2 p.m. this afternoon, making Hansa the sixth brewery to set up shop in Ohio City; number eight if you count nearby Forest City and Brick and Barrel. Hansa joins Great Lakes, Market Garden, Market Garden production facility, Nano Brew and Platform Beer.

Music and his specialty foods shop Hansa Import House have been fixtures in the Ohio City neighborhood for 40 years, longer even than Great Lakes Brewing. So it was welcome news when he announced his plans to construct a 15-barrel brewery and restaurant while improving his long-running specialty foods shop. That shop, long popular with Eastern European immigrants, carries a huge inventory of imported cheeses, meats, breads and beers.

Music originally had planned to be the first American outpost for Laško, a Slovenian brewery that dates back to 1825. But that relationship dissolved when the brewery was purchased by Heineken last year. 

Music says that he will begin selling beer by early September with the restaurant following a few weeks later. 

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