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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Yes, You Can Once Again Order a $100 Margarita for Cinco de Mayo in Cleveland

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2019 at 11:18 AM

  • Photo courtesy Fleming's Steakhouse
This month, Fleming's Steakhouse in Woodmere and Akron is once again offering a $100 margarita to guests daring (and wealthy) enough to imbibe.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican holiday that Americans have turned into another excuse to drink, Fleming's has concocted a margarita so rich and potent, it needs to come in its own special glass — a 12-ounce crystal tumbler from Baccarat.

Truly, here, it's what's on the inside that counts. Each made-to-order $100 margarita (about $8 an ounce) is handcrafted with the finest of ingredients: Tequila Herradura’s Selección Suprema, which is aged for 49 months, Grand Marnier's Centenaire and garnishes of lime and pineapple leaf. In year's past, the offer has only run the weekend of Cinco de Mayo, but this year the restaurant has stretched the offer to the entirety of May.

At the end of the night, after you've tipped your bartender grandly (you did have enough funds to pay $100 for your beverage, after all) you even get to take the fine crystal glass home with you, in its iconic red box. What a steal.

Find some other non-$100 Cinco de Mayo options right here.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Update: Glitzy Karaoke Parlor in Asiatown Will Now Rock Your World

Posted By on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 3:08 PM

Update: Chinese-style karaoke has officially come to Cleveland.

In case you missed it, Asiatown's Galaxy Karaoke opened in June, and that means you have more singing options than ever before. Choices include joining the musical masses in a large, glamorous room filled with screens, or renting out a more intimate sound-proof space for you and your friends to sing without bothering anyone else's ears.

Cost is $10 to croon in the main karaoke bar area, or $40 to $80 for a private room. Either way, happy singing. Reservations can be made by calling 216-203-2222.

(Original Post 5/12/2017): If your experience with karaoke is limited to being heckled by regulars as you warble in the dark corner of a dive bar on the wrong side of the tracks, you’re in for the surprise of your life when you visit Galaxy Karaoke, soon to be one of Asiatown’s most talked about destinations. Almost a year in the making, this spare-no-expense “karaoke box,” as these establishments are referred to in Asia, is likely the most stylish such facility in the state.

From the outside, Galaxy Karaoke (1593 E. 30th St.) looks like any other bland Midtown warehouse, its squat brick shell and steel bar-protected windows offering no clues as to what’s taking place inside. During a recent pre-opening visit I was blown away when I crossed the threshold. No, not by the belabored renditions of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” or Journey’s “Don't Stop Believin'” by amped-up guests, but rather by the space around them.

Owner Shing Ruan, in partnership with the owners of Voice Karaoke Bar in Columbus, says the area desperately needed a large, modern karaoke bar and he endeavored to build one on par with those he’s enjoyed in China. Ruan, who also owns R&R Gift Shop in Asia Plaza, spent a lot of time and money converting the 4,000-square-foot building into a crooner’s dream.

“In China, there are many places like this, but not in this area,” the owner explains, adding that despite its apparent size, the place would be considered small overseas. “I will do my best to make it great. I am using the best sound equipment. We put a lot of money into soundproofing; we put special stuff into the walls.”

Visitors enter into the large main lounge space, outfitted with a small stage and enveloped by a country mile of banquettes, each fronted by low-slung glass-topped illuminated tables. Suspended above the floor is a four-sided Jumbotron-size monitor so everyone in the room can follow along with the lyrics. There is no charge to hang out and sing in the main public space, but guests are likely expected to order a beer or cocktail from the large full-service bar.

An additional nine private rooms are accessible from the lone hallway, which loops around the entire space. Ideal for groups of people celebrating an event or simply those who prefer to sing in relative isolation, the private rooms range in size and can accommodate groups from small to 30 or more people.

When designing and building out the space, Ruan cut no corners. Banquettes are swaddled in tufted upholstery, walls are covered in attractive but functional acoustical panels, and a dizzying array of LED lights gives the impression that one is inside a Seventies-era discotheque. Each room has its own look and feel, with different design schemes and soundproofing panels. The private rooms feature thick doors and walls that shut out the noise from adjacent rooms and the main lounge.

“In every city I’ve been to there is something like this going on,” says Johnny Wu, filmmaker and founder of the Cleveland Asian Festival. “In Asia, karaoke bars are used for birthday parties, graduation parties and company meetings. Like the golf course, they bring business people to karaoke to close the deal.”

Each room is equipped with a touch-screen karaoke system loaded with 200,000 songs that cross cultural borders. To appeal to a wide audience, songs are available in English, Chinese and Japanese languages, with planned updates to up the inventory exponentially. The high-tech consoles control sound, lighting and video, and even feature call buttons to summon the wait staff for another round of drinks or some snacks. App-ready, the consoles can even be controlled from one’s smartphone.

Cleveland’s karaoke scene pales in comparison to those of larger cities, with participants often compelled to partake at fringe spots at off hours. While karaoke is offered at nearby spots like Bo Loong and Szechuan Gourmet, Galaxy will go a long way to propel the popular pastime into the mainstream thanks to a central location, consistent hours and room for literally hundreds.

Ewyn Tsang, who was also present at the pre-opening event, is a rabid karaoke fan. She and her friends go almost monthly, she says, and they can’t wait for Galaxy to open its doors for good.

“My friends and I really enjoy doing it, but we mainly go to local pubs and bars,” she says. “I typically go with 20 or even 30 people; the bigger the group, the more fun it is. The scene in Cleveland is a little quiet but we’re slowly getting there. This place looks awesome; the music is legit old-school Asian.”

Look for Galaxy to open in early June.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Former County Jail Supervisor Pleads Guilty to Misusing Police Database to Track Down Estranged Wife's Boyfriend

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 10:11 AM

Update: Former county jail supervisor Steven Key reached a plea agreement this week with the prosecutor's office over his misuse of LEADS, a statewide police database, to track down his estranged wife's boyfriend.

Key copped to the offense in exchange for prosecutors dropping the felony charge for a guilty plea to a misdemeanor. As part of the deal, Key agreed to quit his job and to never work in law enforcement again. He was also sentenced to 30 days probation. As points out, he will still be able to collect his pension.


(Updated 5/26/17): Steven Key, a former Euclid Jail supervisor who allegedly instructed a subordinate officer to look up Key's ex-wife's boyfriend's license plate on LEADS, a statewide police database, has been indicted by a grand jury.

Misusing LEADS is a fifth-degree felony.

He and the officer, Quincy Jimson, were recently issued 30-day suspensions from the county. Key, for his part, had been suspended more than 30 times in his career with the Sheriff's Department.

He'll be arraigned on June 9.


(Original story 5/18/17): Discipline letters were sent out this week to two Cuyahoga County jail officers who allegedly misused LEADS, a statewide police database — which, beyond departmental punishment, is fifth-degree felony.

Steven Key, formerly a supervisor at the Euclid Jail facility, which is run by the county's Sheriff's department, is accused of having Quincy Jimson, an officer at the jail, look up a license plate belonging to Key's ex-wife's boyfriend in the system. Keys subsequently visited the man's home and was eventually arrested by Euclid police on charges of menacing by stalking.

That investigation led to the discovery that the jail employees had used LEADS to track down the victim's address. A Sheriff's department investigation followed, and while it moved slowly, the case was referred to the county prosecutor's office last month. No decision on charges has been reached yet.

In the meantime, the county has issued its discipline for Key and Jimson.

Key, who has been suspended some 30 times in his illustrious career with the county, was handed a 30-day unpaid suspension and will be demoted to a corrections officer as of July 1 when that suspension is finished.

Jimson was also dealt a 30-day unpaid suspension and will be reassigned from the Euclid facility.

They can appeal the county's determination; no word yet on if they will.

In letters to the officer detailing the discipline, the county noted it reserved the right for further punishment up to and including termination if criminal charges follow and they are convicted.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Melt Bar and Grilled Now Open in Avon

Posted By on Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 12:46 PM

  • Photo via MeltBarGrilled/Instagram
Update: Western Cleveland suburbanites and cheese lovers rejoice, Melt is now open in Avon. Per Melt's press release, the latest grilled cheese outpost in the ever-expanding chain seats approximately 270 people. Find them at 35546 Detroit Rd.


(Original story 5/1/2017): Melt Bar and Grilled will open another restaurant in Avon sometime this summer. It will be the local restaurant group’s tenth full-service location. The company will be taking over the former Bar 145 space (35546 Detroit Rd.) on Detroit near Route 83.

At 6,000 square feet, this location tops all others in terms of size, with seating for approximately 270 guests when all is said and done. A roomy four-season patio/private dining room alone can accommodate up to 80 guests.

The Avon location is on track to open in August. When it does, it will join two other new locations that will open just before it.

A Cedar Point location will offer a full food menu, craft beer and cocktails in a Cedar Point-themed space.

The Dayton spot will be located at The Mall at Fairfield Commons (2727 Fairfield Commons) in Beavercreek, Ohio, just east of downtown Dayton. The 5,000-square-foot restaurant is being built from the ground up and will reside near the main entrance to the mall. The Dayton Melt opening is planned for Monday, June 12th.

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Red Cross Issues Emergency Appeal For Blood Donations, Also Offers Free Cedar Point Tickets

Posted By on Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 2:01 PM

UPDATE: This week, the American Red Cross has issued an emergency appeal for donations of blood or platelets.

Thanks to this warm time of year, when schools are on break and families go on vacations, the Red Cross of the Northeast Ohio region has seen a sharp decline in donations. The organization would like anyone who is eligible to consider donating blood soon.

For those looking for an added incentive, besides feeling good about yourself, the Red Cross previously announced that blood donors could score free Cedar Point tickets at various times and locations through the end of July (see below).

[image-1](Original Post 5/25/2017): Donating blood was just one of our suggestions in this week's summer guide for ways you can make your city a better place. Unbeknownst to us, the Red Cross has an extra incentive for you to so in the coming months: a free Cedar Point ticket, which isn't anything to shake a needle at.

Here's all the dates and locations where you can score a ducat gratis around Northeast Ohio through the end of July:

June 1, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at iHeartMedia, 7461 South Ave., Boardman, 44512

June 7, 2017 from noon to 6 p.m. at Geauga County Fairgrounds, School Building, 14373 N. Chesire St., Burton 44021

June 9, 2017 from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Ashtabula Towne Square, 3315 N. Ridge Road E, Ashtabula, 44004

June 13, 2017 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Massillon Recreation Center, 505 Erie St. N, Massillon, 44646

June 14, 2017 from noon to 6 p.m. at Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave., Warren, 44483

June 20, 2017 from 1 to 7 p.m. at Ehrnfelt Recreation Center, 18100 Royalton Road, Strongsville, 44136

June 24, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Stephen Rung-Meno Memorial Blood Drive, 409 Armour Road, Avon Lake, 44012

June 28, 2017 from 2 to 7 p.m. at Castaway Bay, 2001 Cleveland Road, Sandusky, 44870

July 3, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fairview Recreation Center, 21225 Lorain Road, Fairview Park, 44126

July 7, 2017 from 1 to 7 p.m. at Hilton Garden Inn, 700 Beta Dr., Mayfield Village, 44143

July 12, 2017 from noon to 7 p.m. at Dave & Busters, 25735 First St., Westlake, 44145

July 18, 2017 from 1 to 7 p.m. at Heartland Community Church, 3400 Weymouth Road, Medina, 44256

July 21, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cuyahoga Community College, West Campus, 11000 Pleasant Valley Road, Parma, 44130

July 25, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Independence Community Center, 6363 Selig Drive, Independence, 44131

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Vandals Who Defaced Perry's Victory Memorial Still Unknown, Reward Offered

Posted By on Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 6:29 PM

  • Instagram
Update: The Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial vandals are still unknown. Now state and local officials are asking for the public's help in finding the criminals, offering a $2,500 reward to anyone with information regarding the incident. This is up from $1,000 previously offered.

While the National Park Service has yet to say exactly what was done to the monument, they say an act of vandalism has occurred.

Anyone with information can contact investigators through a variety of channels. Either email, call 888-653-0009, or text 202-379-4761.


(Original story 5/19/2017): Vandals defaced areas of Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial in Put-in-Bay last weekend. As the monument — a resting place for three officers who died in the Battle of Lake Erie — is closed this summer for construction, the vandals reportedly scaled a fence to gain access.

Agents are offering up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of individuals involved.

"Hopefully, with help getting the information out, the reward could provide an incentive for someone to call in to help us resolve this," superintendent Barbara Fearon told the Register.

The National Park Service did not specifically state what was done to the memorial. But anyone willing to trespass and disrespect a historic monument likely doesn't have much of a filter, so use your imagination.

The monument also honors the peace brought by the War of 1812, and all fallen soldiers from the Battle of Lake Erie.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Now Open: Smokin Q's BBQ and Beer House in Mayfield

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 11:52 AM


Update: Smokin Q's BBQ and Beer House opened this week. Read all about the details in our original preview below. They're open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Check out the menu here.


(Original story 5/3/17): It’s been a year and a half since Giovanni's Ristorante owner Carl Quagliata announced that he would be opening a barbecue restaurant in the former home of Fisher’s Tavern in Mayfield, which had closed after 82 years in business.

Like all restaurant projects, this one took longer than anticipated, but the finish line is now just two weeks away.

“I honestly have no idea how the building has stayed standing,” says chef-partner Zachary Ladner, who was showing off the new Smokin Q's BBQ and Beer House (718 SOM Center Rd., Mayfield, 440-646-0411,

What started out life as a residential home was added onto multiple times over the years, resulting in a disjointed and not altogether safe structure. Ladner says that most of the floor joists needed to be replaced and a new foundation poured to support the kitchen, which had been operating on a simple slab.

“You should never rush an opening,” says Quagliata, who has opened more than a few restaurants in his time.

But soon enough, large red neon letters in the window will light the way to “BBQ.” Ladner, who grew up eating barbecue in Texas, will be preparing Central Texas-style barbecue on a large gas-and-wood powered Southern Pride smoker flavored with oak, apple and hickory woods. The chef will take what he’s learned in the world of fine dining (he’s been the chef at Giovanni's for seven years) and apply it to barbecue. That means using top-quality meats from the likes of Niman Ranch, New Creation, Creekstone Farms and Beeler’s.

“I want it to be the best I can get,” Ladner says.

Main courses like smoked beef plate short ribs (aka giant beef ribs), beef brisket, pork spare ribs, and pulled pork shoulder will be sold by weight and served one of two different ways. Traditional Style is with sliced bread, slaw, pickles and sauce. El Jefe Style pairs the meat with housemade corn-flour tortillas, slaw, salsa and guacamole.

Other items from the smoker include half-chickens, Hudson Valley duck legs, and housemade jalapeno-cheddar sausage.

Appetizers include garlic-chile chicken drumettes, brisket poutine with fries, curds and sauce, and pulled pork nachos. The Hot Chick sandwich is stuffed with pulled smoked chicken, slaw and sauce, while the Fat Heifer is layered with chopped beef, buttermilk fried onions, queso and slaw. In a nod to his Tex-Mex-obsessed days, the chef added a few tacos filled with crispy shrimp, pulled pork, or pulled chicken.

Sides run the gamut from honey-butter cornbread to flash-fried sweet corn tossed with chipotle butter and salty cotija cheese. A smoked bean cassoulet is studded with beef brisket, pork shoulder, sausage and duck confit.

Beer taps will dispense a nice selection of Cleveland and Ohio brews, while a list of creative cocktails will feature Ohio made spirits. All of the above will make the perfect companion to a meal on Smokin Q's wraparound front patio that features a towering stone-clad fireplace.

As you can tell by the pictures, Smokin Q's is a step above the sawdust-covered roadhouses of the West. The 100-seat restaurant features a gorgeous wood bartop, cushy booths in the dining room, industrial lighting, and walls of windows that bring in tons of natural light. But guests shouldn’t expect a stuffy fine-dining establishment either, says Ladner.

“We want it to feel casual, but we don’t want it to be the kind of place where people are doing shots at the bar,” he says. “There has to be some level of class to be a Quagliata restaurant.”

He points out that meals will be served on butcher paper-topped metal trays, but there will not be disposable tableware or silver. Sides will be presented in cast-iron skillets.

“Those little touches add more to someone’s experience by giving them something else to remember,” says the chef.

When it opens in mid-May, Smokin Q's BBQ and Beer House will serve lunch and dinner, plus takeout service.

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