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Friday, June 22, 2018

Luna Bakery and Cafe's New Moreland Hills Location Opens This Sunday

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 12:19 PM

  • Photo via @lunabakerycafe on Instagram

Update: The short wait is over. After announcing plans in December for a second outpost in Moreland Hills, Luna will open its doors at 34105 Chagrin Blvd. this Sunday, June 24. It'll seat 65 and features an outdoor patio as well.

The original location in Cleveland Heights at Cedar and Fairmount opened seven years ago today.

Catch up on the expansion plans in our original story below.


(Original story 12/4/17): Since opening Luna Bakery & Cafe (2482 Fairmount Blvd., 216-231-8585, in Cleveland Heights, owner and pastry chef Bridget Thibeault has been making all the right moves. In the six years since the shop debuted, it has grown steadily in size and scope. By taking possession of adjacent spaces, Luna has grown from 1,400 square feet to 2,800, jumped from 15 seats to 75, and greatly expanded the savory side of things. To cap it all off, the owner recently bought out her founding partners John Emerman and Tatyana Rehn of The Stone Oven Bakery.

Next up for Thibeault is a new shop in Moreland Hills, a 2,800-square-foot space between ML Tavern and Flour. She is shooting for a May opening.

“I’ve been thinking about expanding for the last year, but in my mind I was thinking I would wait a little longer because we’re still growing here and still working things out,” Thibeault explains. “But then the space became available and it just kind of happened a little faster than I anticipated.”

Thibeault says that customers ask her on nearly a daily basis when she is going to expand either east or west. Further east, she says, made the most sense given where she lives and where many of her customers come from.

“I’ve been looking out that way because we get a lot of people who drive in from there,” she points out. “There’s not really many breakfast places, bakeries and coffee shops that are not a chain, so I feel that there’s definitely a demand.”

Along with its physical dimensions, Luna has expanded its food operations as well. Initially, the idea was to be primarily a bakery with a few light savory food options like crêpes and panini. But the business has evolved to one that flips that paradigm on its head.

“When we first opened we really thought we would be more of a bakery than a café, but the food side of it really took off,” Thibeault explains. “We are now two-thirds restaurant to one-third bakery.”

That will be the formula going forward at the new shop, with perhaps an even greater focus on the café side of things. Diners can look forward to the same great breakfast items, soups, salads, crepes and panini, but just more of it.

“We will expand the menu and introduce some new food options that we aren’t able to do here because of space,” she notes. “More breakfast items, grain bowls and salads.”

Thibeault is working with Richardson Design, the team behind Mabel’s BBQ, Bomba Tacos and B Spot Burgers, to transform the bland, boxy space into a cozy bakery-café.

“I’m really excited,” the chef says. “I think this is going to be a good fit.”

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Paid Parking at West Side Market Lot Begins This Month

Posted By on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 10:52 AM

Update: Paid parking at the West Side Market lot will begin on Feb. 27, the city announced today.

A quick recap: The first 90 minutes will be free between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. After that it'll be $1 per hour with a max of $10 per day. You'll grab a ticket as you pull into the lot and then either pay with credit card while exiting or cash or credit at one of the pay machines located in the area.


(Original story 12/11/17): The new payment structure at the West Side Market parking lot hasn't yet come online yet, but the equipment was recently installed.

The plan: Anyone parking between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. will receive 90 minutes free upfront. Beyond that, drivers will pay $1 per hour with a max of $10 per day. The new structure will begin on or around Jan. 1, according to those close to the operation. No official date has been set.

"There will be free parking and available spaces for market shoppers," West Side Market Tenants Association President Ed Meister tells Scene. "That's going to help us quite a bit, and that's going to ensure that we have adequate parking for market customers."

But while the 90 minutes of free parking will certainly help the market's customer base, the overall payment structure is indicative of broader shifts in Ohio City and at City Hall.

The city has owned the triangular parking lot behind the West Side Market for decades. And for decades it leased the lot to the market's tenants association at no charge. The city let the lease expire in August 2014, teeing up the three-year march of renovation and reconfiguration to the tune of more than $3 million.

In those ensuing years, market tenants have voiced some opposition to the move and to how neighborhood stakeholders make decisions — both in regard to the lease termination and to the notion that a pay scale will be introduced at the lot. It's a long-running point of contention, as more businesses move into Ohio City (and, with them, more customers and employees with cars).

Even before the lease ended, tenants were frustrated with how cars would just sit in the lot for hours. Browns game shuttle services left cars sitting in the lot for hours; brunches would turn into weekend bar-hopping, which led to cars being left overnight.

"Right now you could park your car on [West] 25th on Friday at 6 p.m.," McNulty told Scene, "and not pick it up until Monday at 8 a.m. and you'd be fine."

With no plans to introduce a parking garage in Ohio City, the expanded parking lot plans were seen by the city as an amelioration of neighborhood growing pains. (Public transit isn't easing those pains as much as one might like; last year saw a record low ridership rate on the RTA, which has a Red Line stop across the street from the market.)

For now, and especially during this holiday season, the lots behind the market remain as busy as ever.

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Reward Offered for Return of Donald Trump "Grab 'Em By the Pussy" Banner, For Some Reason

Posted By on Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 11:17 AM


Update: The Donald Trump banner, bearing his infamous and timeless quote "Grab 'em by the pussy," that was included in a stretch of other presidential likenesses showcasing pithy wisdom at Lorain and West 20th didn't last long. It disappeared recently.

Whether it was stolen or removed and disposed of by someone offended at the not-so-veiled insult to POTUS or a passerby who could simply no longer look at the head of the adult-sized troll doll, yellowed after months in the sun, with half of its remaining bleached locks matted against its scalp by a glue-like mixture of feral cat piss and stormdrain runoff, is unclear.

That inconsequential update is made slightly more newsworthy with Brickhaus Partners' offer of a $1,000 reward for the return of the banner.

Andrew Brickman, a developer at the firm that created the display, said it was meant to inspire conversations about civility and awareness. The ironies of the origin and mission of the installation, of course, are multitudinous.


(Original story 12/1/17): If you've driven or walked around West 20th and Lorain you might have noticed a series of banners spanning a fence. They bear the faces of some notable U.S. Presidents and an accompanying quote from the respective men. On the right edge of each one is the logo and contact information for Brickhaus Partners, a real estate development company.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." — Abraham Lincoln

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets credit." — Harry Truman

"Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists." — Franklin D. Roosevelt

And a more modern inclusion: "Grab 'em by the [pussy]." — Donald Trump

We hadn't heard much, if anything, about the banners but Brickhaus principle and developer Andrew Brickman must have, because he sent a note to friends and associates explaining his motivation.

I have received multiple questions about my motivation for posting the "Presidents" banner on W. 20th and Lorain Ave. Let me say simply that my motivation was not to fan the flames of rancor and divisiveness currently gripping this country, but, quite the contrary, to show that great leaders (and the banner includes Democrats, Federalists, Republicans and non-presidents) bring out the best in their constituents, and in the country, by creating environments in which dialogue, cooperation, and inclusion lead to progress.

My hope is that this banner will encourage such an environment not only amongst our leaders, but amongst all peoples everywhere.
Surely the kind of constructive dialogue Brickman is seeking will be found in the Facebook comments for this post.

Check out the banners in a video from Brickhaus below.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Social Services Worker, Boyfriend of Cleveland Mom Accused of Murdering, Burying Five-Year-Old Son, Also Indicted

Posted By on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 3:29 PM

A memorial for Jordan Rodriguez. - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • A memorial for Jordan Rodriguez.
Update: Cuyahoga County prosecutor Mike O'Malley today announced additional charges in the investigation of the death of 5-year-old Jordan Rodriguez, the boy found buried in a backyard on West 80th Street in December. His mother, Larissa Rodriguez, has already been indicted on a host of charges including murder.

Christopher Rodriguez, her boyfriend, is now also charged with murder in the case. It was his brother, calling from Pakistan, who initially reported Jordan's death and backyard burial to Cleveland police.

A grand jury has also handed up charges against Nancy Caraballo, a social services contract worker from Bright Beginnings, for illegal food stamp trafficking.

Since 2014, she was assigned the family's case and was supposed to be making monthly visits. Instead, prosecutors say, she accepted bribes in the form of food stamps from Larissa Rodriguez — totaling thousands of dollars over the course of multiple years. She'd purchase Rodriguez's food stamps for 50 cents on the dollar and restrict her visits to the outside of the residence. Officials said she'd been there three times between when Jordan was last seen alive and when his body was unearthed.

Authorities discovered deplorable conditions inside once the investigation began.

Rodriguez had previously received more than a dozen citations by county social services over the years and even had two of her children removed from her custody.


(Original story 12/29/17): A grand jury has indicted Larissa Rodriguez on various counts related to the death of her five-year-old son, Jordan, who was developmentally disabled, and whose remains were uncovered earlier this month. reports that she is scheduled to be arraigned next Tuesday. 

The indictments, which include murder, abuse of a corpse, felonious assault and child endangering, accused Rodriguez of treating Jordan in a way that would “outrage reasonable sensibilities.”

Rodriguez buried Jordan in the backyard of her home on W. 8oth Street in the city’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. Officials began investigating when they were tipped off by the brother of Rodriguez’s boyfriend, who phoned from Pakistan.

The home, according to social workers, was in “deplorable” condition, and the four children who lived with Rodriguez were taken into emergency custody.

Rodriguez has received more than a dozen citations by county social services over the years and even had two of her children removed from her custody. She is the mother of nine children and is currently pregnant with her 10th.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Tip From Mother Led Cleveland Police to Identify Boy Whose Remains Were Found in Abandoned House's Yard

Posted By on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 9:39 AM


Update: The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner today released the identity of the child whose remains were found in the yard of an abandoned house on the west side back in September. He was 4-year-old Eliazar Ruiz.

Cleveland police released a composite sketch in December in the hopes the public could help with the process. They'd been unable, in the previous months, to make any headway as they searched missing children databases and ran the boy's DNA.

A tip in early January provided them with a name. Channel 5's Homa Bash says the family told her the child's mother, while in jail on drug charges, saw the sketch on TV and called police. The boy's identity was confirmed through DNA testing.

Fox 8 reports that officials are now continuing the investigation into the how and why of Ruiz's death.

“Cases involving child fatalities are extremely sad," Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said in a statement. "Now that Eliazar has been identified, he can be properly laid to rest as he deserves. This investigation remains in the early stages and no arrests have been made. I’d like to thank the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office for their continued partnership, as well as our local media for the coverage on this case.”


(Original story 12/6/17): Cleveland police today released forensic sketches of a child in the hopes the public can help identify the boy, believed to be about 4 years old, whose bones were found in a bag in the lot of an abandoned house on Longmead Ave. on the west side on September 20.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner said the boy had probably been dead for several months before his remains were found. Authorities have already run DNA through a nationwide database and compared the child's attributes to a list of reported missing children, but found no matches.

The bag of remains was discovered by a man who was pruning shrubs; investigators initially thought they might be connected to the death of Daniel Slone, who was killed and dismembered by Hector Diaz. Diaz disposed of part of Slone's body in a Lorain area dumpster and later killed himself after being surrounded by a SWAT team. That didn't turn out to be the case.

Anyone with information can contact Cleveland police at 216-623-5464.

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Ohio Man's Death 'Exacerbated By the Hopeless Condition of the Cleveland Browns'

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 2:45 PM

  • Courtesy Cleveland Browns
One Huron resident's obituary recently caught our eye thanks to an attention-grabbing line about Cleveland's own professional football team.

Paul Stark passed away Wednesday "of complications from a brief illness, exacerbated by the hopeless condition of the Cleveland Browns," the Sandusky Register reported.

The Mansfield native was a lifelong sports fan, even until the end.

"Paul passed just before the Browns were prepared to turn the corner, but had many well-earned blessings," the obituary read. "Paul believed in paying it forward, and the goodwill he leaves behind will endure long after he's gone."

Read the whole glorious write-up here.

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Cleveland is One of the Best Places to Drink Champagne, According to Fodor's Travel

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 1:50 PM

  • Scene Archives Photo
In a recent article, "These 11 Places to Drink Champagne Are Anything Brut Flat," Fodor's Travel magazine recognized Cleveland's own Coquette Patisserie (11607 Euclid Ave., 216-331-2841) as one of the best spots around the country to imbibe in the bubbly stuff.

And with New Year's Eve just around the corner, it's a perfect time to head to the University Circle destination, voted Best Desserts in this year's Best Of Cleveland list, for at least a glass to celebrate the fact that 2017 is nearly gone.

Don't be afraid to sample the shop's macarons and eclairs, too. As our own Food Editor Douglas Trattner has noted: "We adore Coquette's sweets because they aren't sugar bombs, but rather playful compositions that straddle the fence between sweet and savory, creamy and crunchy, buoyant and intense."

Here's what Fodor's Travel magazine had to say about Coquette Patisserie:
This charming French pastry shop is a real hidden gem in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. Coquette Patisserie serves the best éclairs, macarons, and entremet in town, along with an excellent grower’s champagne list. Premier cru producers like Aubry and Pierre Gimonnet are available by the glass for a fraction of the price you’d see in most cities.

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