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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

House of Blues to Offer a Free Thanksgiving Dinner for Those in Need

Posted By on Wed, Nov 13, 2019 at 2:05 PM

Back in 1992, the original House of Blues in Cambridge, Mass. began a tradition of serving the homeless and needy on Thanksgiving. House of Blues here in Cleveland has carried on that tradition for the past decade.

Once again this year, it will offer a full Thanksgiving buffet dinner to those in need from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

House of Blues employees, friends, family and vendors will provide the food.

The venue aims to feed about 400 people, and you just need to be in need (homeless, poor, alone) to attend.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Noodlecat Will Open at Crocker Park on Nov. 13

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 2:09 PM


Update: Better late than never. Jonathon Sawyer's Noodlecat will open in Crocker Park, finally, on Nov. 13, almost exactly a year after initial plans were announced.

It was to be the second location, but Sawyer shuttered the downtown Noodlecat location earlier this year. That location, on Euclid Ave., will soon be home to another ramen joint, this one from Otani Noodle, which will make the downtown Cleveland joint its second location. (The original is in Uptown.)


(Original story 11/18/2016): Fans of Jonathon Sawyer's ramen outpost on Euclid Ave. will probably be happy with the news this week that a Noodlecat will be opening at Crocker Park.

The original resto, launched in 2011, has undergone a few menu modifications in its short history. Last summer Sawyer and team streamlined the menu to be more fast-casual, with diners picking their noodle, their flavor (pork miso with roasted pork; pork dashi with crispy short rib; coconut curry with tofu tonkatsu...) as well as a few add-ons. Also on the new bill of fare are veggie side dishes and a handful of steam buns.

Look for Noodlecat's Westlake operation to open in 2017 along with a handful of other new additions to Crocker.

Haven't been? Check out the menu below.


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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Charges Dropped Against Ohio Pee Wee Football Coach Accused of Punching 11-Year-Old Player

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 11:18 AM

Update: According to the Morning Journal, charges of assault and disorderly conduct have now been dropped against David Kelley, an assistant pee wee football coach who allegedly assaulted an 11-year-old boy during a game last October.

We'll update you with any more information as it comes in; in the meantime, you can catch up with the whole backstory below.


(Updated 1/18/17): A North Ridgeville assistant city prosecutor filed charges against a Pee Wee football coach accused of punching an 11-year-old boy during a game.

The incident went down back in October as the Elyria Mini Pioneers squared off against the North Ridgeville Rams. Keep in mind these are teams of 10 and 11-year-old boys.

One mother, Erica Kara, said one of the North Ridgeville assistant coaches punched her son during the game. The game itself got out of hand, as you can read in the original story below. Parents on the Elyria side said racial epithets were hurled by spectators and coaches on the North Ridgeville side.

The assistant coach, David R. Kelly of Elyria, had previously approached players on the field during the action. He was kicked out by the referee but returned from a parking lot to allegedly punch Devontae Armstrong, Kara's son. He was taken to a local hospital in pain and spitting up blood.

Kelly is charged with misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct.


(Original story 11/4/16): Here's a really incredible story for you as we roll into the weekend. The Chronicle-Telegram's Lisa Roberson has done some fine work in sussing out the details of the controversial North Ridgeville Football League championship — a series of Nov. 5 games from which a handful of teams have already forfeited.

Here's the gist: The 8-0 Elyria Mini Pioneers have been practicing for the game at the end of their first season in this league. (The league is for 10- and 11-year-olds.) But every other team in the league has said it will refuse to play Elyria in the championship, essentially forcing the Mini Pioneers out of their chance to play tomorrow. “They just feel they are outmatched athletically and physically," North Ridgeville division director Chris Miscudo told Roberson.

But Elyria parents are alleging that racial epithets have followed them around all season, lofted across the field by the North Ridgeville players and parents. The tension boiled to a head last weekend, when an Oct. 29 game devolved into a pile-up on the field. According to Elyria parent Erica Kara, an assistant football coach from North Ridgeville leapt into the fray and punched her 11-year-old in the stomach. (He was taken to University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center, where he was treated for a blunt-force abdomen injury. Kara said that he was spitting up blood on the field.)

From Roberson's report:
“I feel like they didn’t want us out here from the beginning, and it hit a boiling point on Saturday,” said John Dixon, program director for the Pioneers. “I have parents working the first down markers and those are the ones catching the racial slurs and remarks going on. Parents have told me about this all season, but we have remained focused on the game.”

The championship event would have pitted the Pioneers against two other teams, but without players willing to take the field, Miscudo said those teams will forfeit. The elimination of the junior tackle team from championship games comes two weeks after the senior tackle team also was eliminated from its championship game.

Miscudo said the Pioneers are still considered the Inter-league champions and will receive trophies. Games involving other teams in the league will be played Saturday.

“I think our kids deserve to play on Saturday,” Dixon said. “I love the people who run the league, but they have let this get carried away. I don’t think it’s fair that the best team out there doesn’t get to play on championship day. No one does that. It just doesn’t happen, especially with all the other teams playing.”

The decision has been devastating, said Pioneer parent Sabrina Bibby.

It's unclear if anything will change for the Mini Pioneers between now and tomorrow.

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Now Open: Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles

Posted By on Sat, Dec 24, 2016 at 9:37 AM


Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles, located on Prospect Ave. downtown in the old Rathskeller spot, is now open. Yes, the menu is built around multiple versions of waffles — nearly two dozen different versions — but the all-day menu also offers plenty of other southern favorites.

Chcek out the full menu here.


(Original story 11/21/16): It’s been a year and a half since we first reported that Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles, a popular soul food restaurant with two locations in Chicago, was planning to open its next location in Downtown Cleveland. Since that time the location, the former Rathskeller bar (1144 Prospect Ave.) near E. Ninth Street, has undergone significant improvements both inside and out.

The good news, says owner Darnell Johnson, is that opening day is just around the bend.

“We’re almost there,” he reports. “Everything is ready inside, we’re just waiting for the final connections from the city. It’s beautiful in here; very contemporary.”

He added that they are hoping to be open by the first of December.

Wife and founder Tonya Johnson, Chicago born and bred, describes her restaurant’s food as “good, Southern-style down-home cooking – basically like your grandmother did,” she says.

The all-day menu features breakfast, lunch and dinner items. The heart of the offerings are built around waffles, which are available in nearly two dozen iterations. In addition to the classic fried chicken-topped waffles there’s a version with fried chicken livers, gravy and onions. Other options include fried catfish, omelets stuffed with fried chicken, or plain-old fried breasts.

Entrees options include chicken wings with fries and barbecue sauce, fried fish dinners, and grilled salmon. Dinners come with cornbread and a choice of Southern-style sides like mac & cheese, yams, collard greens, potato salad, rice and gravy, and Cajun red beans and rice.

In the dessert category there is peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, and funnel cake-style waffles topped with whipped cream and caramel pecan.

The 4,000-square-foot space will accommodate approximately 120 guests in the dining room and at the bar.

“It’s been a challenge, but we believe that Cleveland is a great market for us,” Darnell says. “We think we’re in a great area, and the concept, I feel, is a great niche for the city. It will be the only restaurant where you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner all day long. If you want to come in after the theater and have breakfast in a nice atmosphere, you can have it.”

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The College Football Playoff, J.R. Smith, and More — The A to Z Podcast With Andre Knott and Zac Jackson

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 4:57 PM


Andre and Zac relive a classic in Columbus, break down the playoff contenders, debate the merits of actually playing a tough schedule in college football and dive into J.R. Smith's lack of defense in Milwaukee. ​

Subscribe to A to Z on iTunes here.

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Torche, Red Fang and Whores Crank Up the Amps for Joint Tour

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 4:47 PM

  • James Rexroad
  • Red Fang
On its recent album, Only Ghosts, the metal band Red Fang cranks up the guitars. Songs such as “Flies” make the group sound like a heavier version of the Foo Fighters.

Since forming a decade ago, the hard rocking Torche has drawn comparisons to stoner rock icon Queens of the Stone Age. Those comparisons come to the fore again on the band’s latest effort, last year’s Restarter, another intricately crafted collection of riff-heavy tunes.

A noise rock band out of Atlanta, Whores draws from the Amphetamine Reptile sound that was popular in the '80s on its latest album, Gold.

This fall, the three bands have hit the road together. Torche bassist Jonathan Nunez, Red Fang singer-bassist Aaron Beam and Whores singer-guitarist Christian Lembach recently answered some questions via email (hence all the exclamation marks) about the tour that brings the bands to the Beachland on Dec. 8.

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City Council Excoriates Jackson Administration for Public Square Debacle

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 4:21 PM

Councilmen Zack Reed and Kerry McCormack listen to public comment. - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Councilmen Zack Reed and Kerry McCormack listen to public comment.
It was 10:30 a.m. and Joe Calabrese had a plane to catch. The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) CEO had withstood a 90-minute onslaught of questions and comments from Cleveland City Council on the subject of buses on/near/through/athwart Public Square, and the battered transit executive was no doubt relieved to escape to the nation's capital.

The councilpeople were steamed. This Transportation Committee hearing had been arranged in the harried aftermath of the announcement by Mayor Frank Jackson and Calabrese, two weeks ago, that the 600-foot strip of Superior Avenue through Public Square would remain closed to buses permanently. The announcement came at an evening press conference with very little warning to the media and no warning at all to the city's legislative branch (council), who felt variously "concerned," "insulted," and "ashamed" by the Mayor's secretive decision-making process. The outspoken Councilman Zack Reed likened the decision to that of a dictator. "It's like Fidel Castro," he told Scene after today's meeting.

The tone throughout the morning's proceedings was one of consternation. Comments by both council members and the public were edgy, perturbed, alarmed. It's not uncommon for council to lament the lack of communication between the Mayor's office and themselves, but rarely have individual council members been so vocally opposed to the actions of Jackson.

There was even talk, by meeting's end, of finding ways to overrule Jackson's decision, or else complicate it. Though Committee Chair Marty Keane advised that there was no legislative action to be taken immediately — this morning's meeting was merely to send a message, he said — others suggested the possibility of legislation down the road: a refusal to vacate the right-of-way on Superior, for instance. Reed said council should not let this go away, and said he would support legislation to block the administration from removing the Square's bus shelters or installing bollards on Superior.

Conspiracy theories voiced in private by jilted riders and locals who've seen versions of this script play out before were voiced in public by council members: Kerry McCormack, in whose Ward Public Square resides, wondered whether or not this had been the plan all along, to secure funding for a public space and then pull the rug out from transit riders. Zack Reed accused Jackson of collusion with downtown property owners and Forest City execs who view with contempt, he suggested, the "low-lifes" and "thugs" who ride the buses. (Reed, to dramatize his remarks, read comments from

To make matters worse, when Joe Calabrese departed for his flight, so too did almost every representative from the Jackson administration. Chief of Staff Ken Silliman, Safety Director Michael McGrath, Development Chief Ed Rybka and reps from the division of traffic and engineering processed out of City Hall Rm. 217, where council meets. The crammed and baffled public, who attended (in some cases) in the hopes of addressing the decision-makers directly, muttered disdainful "wows" while council members inquired what the hell was going on. Only Freddy Collier, the city's director of planning, remained for a portion of the public comments that followed.

The hearing had gotten off to shall we say a bumpy start: Silliman literally read the press release produced by the city after the announcement — the city and RTA will work cooperatively to mitigate the operational impact, blah blah blah — and then James Muhic, the Safety Department's traffic commissioner, conveyed the city's safety concerns. Among other things, the city claimed to fear that if Superior remained open to buses, unsupervised children would flee from their parents into oncoming bus traffic; confused and drunken drivers would drive onto Superior and wreak havoc — downtown Cleveland has become a multi-pronged magnet for weekend revelers, recall, and alcohol simply must be reckoned with; "lone-wolf terrorists" would use Superior to attack gatherings on the square by car, the splash park for example. Think of the Children! Think of the Ohio State tragedy! Both councilmen Keane and McCormack hastened to remark that terrorism had "nothing to do" with buses on Public Square.

Councilmembers took turns decrying Jackson's backroom maneuverings and called the city's safety concerns "laughable" (Brian Kazy). McCormack spoke of his experience with transit in Madrid and said that vehicular interaction is a condition of urban parks. Jeff Johnson wanted Calabrese to talk about ridership demographics — working class people, women and minorities need to be put on the table, he said — and many spoke of the disquiet and resentment among their constituents. This was all in direct opposition to the mysterious "overwhelming support" that Jackson cited as the second-most-critical reason (behind safety) for his decision.

In public comment, riders voiced their displeasure with the decision, testifying to the delays caused by the re-routing around the square. (Robert Mavec, the city's commissioner of traffic engineering, had suggested that the delay was only 2 minutes or 2:30 max, but riders spoke of delays as long as 10 minutes.)

The RTA Citizen Advisory Board presented a letter "vigorously opposing" the closing of Superior Avenue. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 268 President Ron Jackson spoke on behalf of drivers, who opposed the closure as well. UH Bikes General Manager Alex Baca called the decision a "gross negligence of transparency" by Mayor Jackson and reminded council that "anything that holds RTA back also holds bike share back." Nora Hoxha, from the Downtown Cleveland Residents' Association, spoke of an ongoing survey. About 250 people had responded, she said, and results appeared to be mixed. Akshai Singh, representing Clevelanders for Public Transit, read a letter outlining that group's opposition:

"We want to know how the administration, without taking public input, decided to renege on the guarantees of the Group Plan Commission, RTA, and public input process to close Public Square to buses," he read from the letter. "We’d like to know how the prior $120,000 traffic study (from a non-biased independent firm) has been considered, as explanations have been highly inadequate. We’d like to know why previous agreements with FTA to create a transit zone with dedicated lanes were disregarded... We’d like to know who in the administration rode public transportation during this study during peak rush hour times, which routes, and when they rode public transportation, if ever, around the square with riders."

Councilman Brian Freaking Cummins
  • Councilman Brian Freaking Cummins
Perhaps the most powerful comments of all came from Councilman Brian Cummins. After the announcement two weeks ago, he'd expressed dismay that council hadn't been informed. He crystallized his opposition on a number of fronts this morning, taking aim at the Mayor's waffling, and the administration's total disregard for the original designs of the Square.

Apart from the transparency issues, Cummins regarded as preposterous the Mayor's having made the decision without ever having opened Superior. How can we know it's a safety hazard if we haven't even tested it? He was also "incredulous" that the Square's alleged popularity was being used as evidence that Superior must remain closed.

"What has changed?" He shouted. "So there's a lot of people attracted to the Square? I'm pretty sure I remember the designer saying that that's what the hope was..."

Cummins also cautioned the administration to remember that $12 million wasn't the only money at stake.

"It's not only about [$12 million] that might need to be repaid to the FTA," he said. "I've confirmed with RTA that over $78 million has been awarded to them through Federal Transportation dollars. Any Federal transit awards are at risk in the future if we continue to be at breach with the FTA. We're trying to minimize the issues that we're discussing here!"

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