Thursday, August 16, 2018

Polpetta 'Balls and Cocktails' to Open in Rocky River on September 5

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 10:58 AM

It’s the home stretch for the guys behind Polpetta, the chef-driven meatball concept that was launched within the walls of Porco Lounge by that bar’s owners and the operators behind the former Cork and Cleaver. The restaurant is set to open in Rocky River (19900 Detroit Rd.) on Wednesday September 5.

After a one-year “proof of concept” period at the Ohio City tiki bar, the owners decided it was time to move up and out of the bar and into a proper setting. That setting is a casual 100-seat restaurant and bar in the space most recently home to River Dog Café.

The concept was inspired by a trip to New York City, says owner Brian Okin, when he and some colleagues visited the Meatball Shop on the Lower East Side.

“I was blown away by how obvious and simple and great the concept was and the fact that there was nothing even remotely like this in Cleveland,” he explains. “I thought to do something like that in Cleveland – not their exact concept, but to be inspired by it and do something based off of it – would be an awesome idea.”

When they visit, diners will encounter a menu that offers a build-your-own meal system, where they select a meatball type, sauce and side, alongside a list of “Our Go-Tos,” suggested compositions designed by the chef. On offer will be a roster of 10 or so meatballs and approximately 20 sauces and 20 sides. Three of the balls will be vegetarian and/or vegan and most are gluten-free as oats are used as the binding ingredient.

Combos will range from traditional beef meatballs with pomodoro sauce on a nest of spaghetti to lamb gyro balls topped with tzatziki sauce and paired with pita panzanella salad. The Chicken and Waffles marries chicken meatballs with maple hot sauce and herbed waffles, while the Bleu Balls showers beef meatballs with blue cheese cream sauce.

Other sauces run the gamut from cheddar cream or paprikash to Jamaican jerk and house BBQ. Prefer your balls to arrive unencumbered? Order them "commando."

Sides like gnocchi, polenta, mashed potatoes, fried rice, and mac and cheese can be ordered on the side or "under my balls."

In addition to the standard entrée, meatballs can be ordered as sliders, in large hoagie buns, or family-style with a dozen balls (three different types) and multiple sauces presented on a large platter.

Appetizers like marinated olives with focaccia bread, beer-battered fresh mozzarella, and ricotta-stuffed pepperoni bread will join salads like tomato and mozz and Caesar.

Because the Porco Lounge team is involved, guests can also expect “world-class cocktails,” Okin adds. While it won’t be “Porco 2.0,” you might encounter a tiki drink or two at some point. There will also be beer and wine.

The restaurant will be open for dinner only Monday through Saturday nights, with food service running until midnight during the week and 1 a.m. on weekends.

“There are almost no options to eat late in that area,” Okin notes. “We want to be that option and for service industry people.”

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Revamped Diner on Clifton Opens Today With New Menu, New Location, Booze!

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 3:34 PM


Plenty of folks were sad to see the closing of the Diner on Clifton in 2016 after 17 years of dishing up efficient, delicious diner fare. Almost immediately, owner Perry Drosos said he'd be looking for a new location to reopen the venerable institution.

Well, today was that day. After two years of waiting, the new diner officially reopened at 11 a.m. in Lakewood, just across the border from Cleveland, home to the original spot. 

The Dinerbar on Clifton, so named because the new location sports a bar and liquor license, can be found at 11801 Clifton in the former Clifton Medical Arts Building, which Drosos also owns.

With 2,200 square feet and an expansive patio, the new spot will be dishing up its welcoming mix of diner fare, including breakfast, lunch, brunch and home-style suppers. 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Sesame and Soy Asian Takeout to Open in Tremont

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 1:40 PM

As bored pre-med students at Case, Paul Yu and John Tran opened Turbo Four Café, which was likely Cleveland’s first source for Taiwanese bubble tea when it opened in 2000. Since then, the friends have been partners in a number of business ventures, including the popular Tremont salon Beauty Room on Starkweather.

Next up for the serial entrepreneurs is Sesame and Soy (2173 Professor Ave.), an Asian take-out and delivery concept. The restaurant is currently taking shape within the walls of the original Cookie and a Cupcake space in Tremont. If all goes as hoped, the business could be up and running by early September.

As Tremont residents, both Yu and Tran believe there is a need for affordable, high-quality Chinese food in the neighborhood.

“If I want really good beef and broccoli with fried rice and an egg roll, where am I going to go,” Yu asks rhetorically. “And why is it $30 every time I want to go out to eat with my wife in my own neighborhood?”

Yu says that he “loves simple concepts,” and that’s his and his partner’s plan for Sesame and Soy. The roster of familiar Chinese foods will likely land in the 10 to 12 item range, with a few appetizers like egg rolls, crab Rangoon and dumplings. Taiwanese specials like beef noodle soup, popcorn chicken and fried pork chops might make appearances. The goal is to offer a meal of two entrees and an appetizer for around $25.

“Simple ingredients, simple menu, but great food,” promises Yu.

Given that the space is just 450 square feet, the plan is to offer only carry-out and delivery service. Orders can be placed through the website or third-party platforms like Facebook and Yelp. Customers will receive a text stating the pickup or delivery time. The delivery zone will be limited to Tremont and perhaps Duck Island. In place of plastic, foods will be packaged in the traditional origami-style Chinese-takeout containers and sealed with a fun branded sticker.

To start, Sesame and Soy will be dinner-only, says Yu.

“I want to open with limited hours because the most important thing to me is the quality of the food,” he explains. “I want everything to be perfect before I expand to lunch or anything else.”

Right now, the chef is in Las Vegas training at Yu’s mother’s popular Taiwanese restaurant in that city’s Chinatown neighborhood. Both Yu and Tran grew up with family-run Asian restaurants as part of their childhoods.

“Being restaurant kids growing up in restaurants, the last thing on our minds was to ever open a restaurant, and here we are about to open one,” says Yu. “We want to make both our parents proud.”

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Prosperity Social Club and Western Reserve Distillers to Team Up for Special Vodka Tasting Event

Posted By on Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 3:26 PM

  • Courtesy of Prosperity Social Club
Now with state-wide distribution, Western Reserve Distillers has teamed up with Prosperity Social Club for a special Savor Summer Tremont Vodka Release Party that takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, at Prosperity Social Club.

“As a small, family-owned business committed to locally sourced organic ingredients, it’s only natural we’d want to personally introduce ourselves to our local neighbors first,” says Western Reserve Distillers founders Ann and Kevin Thomas in a press release announcing the event.

Continue reading »

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Pour Cleveland to Open Small-Batch Roastery in Tremont

Posted By on Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 2:40 PM

  • Justin Posey
Despite his initial reluctance to do so, Pour Cleveland owner Charlie Eisenstat is launching his own small-batch roastery, which will sell a small line of high quality coffees.

“It was never really my intention when I started Pour to get into roasting,” explains Eisenstat. “But once we made the switch to being a multi-roaster shop that dabbled in lots of international and award-winning roasters, we’ve been sent hundreds of samples from different coffee roasters all over the world. After trying so many different coffees and approaches to roasting it sort of developed into this underlying desire to put our own stamp on coffee and put our own product out there.”

Eisenstat, who opened the highly regarded downtown shop nearly five years ago, says that both he and his clientele have settled into a preference for Nordic-style roasting, which leans to lighter and more acidity-driven coffees than American-style, where fuller, sweeter brews are the norm.

“In our opinion they are more exciting to drink,” he says of Nordic-style coffees.

The boutique roastery is located at 807 Literary in Tremont, a small storefront across the street from Barrio. Only a few permits separate Pour Coffee Co., as the venture is called, from its opening day. Eisenstat says the focus will be on creating a few “extremely high quality coffees” for sale to wholesale customers. While the space will not be open to walk-in customers on a regular basis, it might open a day a week down the road.

“It’s a pretty small space, so I have no intent to open a retail café, but it will be a nice showroom for what we do and can do with our coffees, and for customers to come in for training and to try stuff out,” he says.

Pour Cleveland, a separate entity, will continue to serve single-origin coffees that you can’t get anywhere else, but will replace the main coffees with product from Pour Coffee Co.

This Thanksgiving will mark five years for Pour, and Eisenstat surely has had a hand in helping the local coffee scene mature.

“The Cleveland coffee scene is way different and improved since we opened up,” he says. “It was really difficult at first to break down that language barrier of people who, for the most part, were only familiar with Starbucks.”

Early on, customers were baffled by terms like pour-over, long service times and relatively steep price points.

“We have a more sophisticated customer base these days who can taste the difference in quality and understand why it costs more. People are really into what we do and are excited that we’re here.”

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Whistle & Keg Self-Service Craft Beer Bar Will Take Over Prospect Music Space Downtown

Posted By on Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 9:59 AM

  • Whistle & Keg FB

The Nine-Twelve/Gateway District slice of downtown will welcome its second self-service craft beer bar come this winter.

Whistle & Keg, which is based out of Youngstown, will take over the spot in the Caxton Building currently occupied by Prospect Music, which will close in early September.

Once open sometime later this year, it won't serve any food but will offer 44 self-service taps.

“It’s a true tasting room, where people have the freedom to pour wine and mead and beer and cider, and you pay for what you pour,” co-owner Joe Thomas told the Plain Dealer. “You can have one ounce and you pay as little as 15-30 cents and then you can move along and try other beers. When you have to buy an entire pint you often end up going with a beer you’re already familiar with. Our approach encourages people to sample more beers until they find what they like.”

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Superelectric Pinball Adds a Full Bar to the Fun

Posted By on Wed, Aug 8, 2018 at 11:34 AM

  • Emanuel Wallace Photo
It started with the spot in the 78th Studios, moved down the street to an expanded space in Gordon Square, was amplified by a kitchen that debuted earlier this year, and will now welcome a modest but full bar.

Superelectric Pinball continues its evolution when it begins offering craft and domestic beers, ciders, wines, classic cocktails and liquor-optional slushies at noon on August 10.

“Since we opened in 2015, we’ve focused on providing an affordable, family-friendly experience,” co-owner David Spasic said in a release. “With the addition of a full bar, we now offer a one-stop destination for fun, food and drinks. Enjoying a cold beverage while playing is a historical piece of pinball culture that we’re excited to now provide.”

Superelectric is open noon to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Kitchen hours: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

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