Monday, July 16, 2018

Aurelia, an American-Style Bistro, Now Open in Chagrin Falls

Posted By on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 2:09 PM

  • Aurelia IG
Update: Aurelia opened its doors last Friday in Chagrin Falls. Located in the former North Main Diner spot (16 North Main St.), Chef James Balchak is focusing on locally sourced foods with a tailored menu that features appetizers, four entrees and some desserts, each that will and have already rotated.

Check out their site here.

Aurelia is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., dinner Tuesday through Saturday beginning at 5 p.m., and brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


(Original story 2/22/18): After spending time in the kitchens of Park Tavern and The Blackbird in Asheville, NC, Northeast Ohio native Chef James Balchak has moved back home for a new venture: Aurelia, an American-style bistro slated to open this summer in Chagrin Falls in the spot most recently occupied by the now-shuttered North Main Diner (16 North Main St.).

The focus will be "food sourced from local farms, fisheries and suppliers"and a menu that follows the new restaurant's tagline of "honest food and drink."

More details to come as opening day nears.

It's the first restaurant for the newly created JB Restaurant Group.

Balchak is a graduate of Le Cordon Blue.
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Opening Day Announced for Hyde Park’s Bull & Bird Steakhouse in Chagrin Falls

Posted By on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 10:37 AM

It’s been a little more than six months since Hyde Park Restaurant Group took stewardship of Gamekeeper’s Tavern, the iconic Chagrin Falls restaurant that closed last year after 40 years. Following significant interior and exterior renovations, Bull & Bird Steakhouse (87 West St., 440-528-3180) is nearly ready to serve its first customers. That will take place on Thursday, August 2.

“We are excited to show our passion for exceptional food and service and are looking forward to making friends in our new surroundings,” reports Hyde Park president Joe Saccone. “Whether guests are dining as part of a romantic evening for two, a corporate meeting or celebration for 50, we hope each visit will be a new and stimulating experience.”

In the wake of a complete transformation of the Gamekeepers space inside and out, the restaurant boasts a more open floor plan, greatly expanded bar and year-round covered patio. The space has been finished with plush leather seating, plaid booths, and wood-paneled walls covered with scores of framed photographs, museum-style paintings and portrait-lit artwork.

Billed as a “chef-inspired, boutique steakhouse with European influence,” Bull & Bird’s menu is familiar territory for Hyde Park fans. Kevin Foley is the executive chef.

Meals kick off with oysters on the half shell, ricotta-topped meatballs, and plump shrimp cocktail. In the salad department are wedge, warm spinach and Caesar varieties. For the main event, there are USDA Prime filet, ribeye, and strip steaks, along with double-cut lamb chops and 10-hour Certified Angus Beef Prime Rib that comes in three different sizes. Also on the roster is lobster pasta, cacio e pepe carbonara, half or full spatchcocked chicken, grass-fed beef burgers, french dip sandwiches and nightly seafood specials.

There's the full complement of steakhouse sides like Delmonico potatoes, whipped potatoes, charred broccoli and creamed kale.

At the newly configured bar, which connects to the covered front patio, guests can enjoy beer, wines by the glass and signature cocktails like a barrel-aged Negroni, smoked Old Fashioned, or Rye Blinker.

The restaurant will be open for dinner Monday through Saturday nights.
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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bolivar's Lockport Brewery to Open Second Location

Posted By on Tue, Jul 10, 2018 at 12:45 PM

  • Photo via Lockport Brewery/Instagram
Northeast Ohio's brewery and beer scene continues to be on fire. The Cleveland Brewery Passport program was recently introduced, now we've learned that Bolivar's Lockport Brewery has plans to expand to another location — at the former Georgio’s Grille, 10748 Wilkshire Blvd., overlooking a golf course — while still keeping its original space open.
By opening the new spot, which is less than a mile down the road from its original space (10891 OH 212), the brewery is able to double its capacity, expand distribution and offer more special limited-run products.

Expect the new location to open sometime next year.

Lockport Brewery is currently open Wednesday through Sunday, as they're closed for brewing Monday and Tuesday.

With so much in the beer scene, we're not sure when this brewery boom might bust, but in the meantime, we're enjoying each pleasurable sip. Be sure to check out these other awesome Akron-area breweries, too.
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Monday, July 9, 2018

Northeast Ohio's First Culver's is Absolutely Worth the Drive to Avon, From Someone Who Grew Up on the Stuff

Posted By on Mon, Jul 9, 2018 at 11:53 AM

  • Courtesy of Culver's

From the moment I moved to Northeast Ohio from a lifetime in the Chicagoland area, my heart has felt less full. Of course I miss the luxury of traveling anywhere in the city by train, Vienna Beef hotdogs used in every location and my Cubbies, but the true pain has been being without Culver's cheese curds and concrete mixers.

Until now, as Northeast Ohio's first Culver's is now open in Avon at 1439 Center Road.

For those who've never had their tongue touched by the glorious sensation of Culver's, it's like Wisconsin's version of Swensons. Growing up, one of my best friend's parents owned our hometown Culver's, which meant we spent a lot of time splitting family size boxes of cheese curds after sporting events and school dances.

Wisconsin cheese is otherworldly. Culver's cheese curds come with regular cheddar and white cheddar, and both are delicious enough to elicit non-human sounds from your body the second the heavenly goo melts out of its deep-fried shell. I'm probably 70 percent cheese curds at this point, and I'm not even mad.

Because the chain is from Wisconsin, they aren't afraid to lather up their toasted buns with the most delectable butter your mouth will ever be fortunate enough to taste. Their butter burgers are what made them famous, and it's easy to understand once you bite into one.

Culver's also has vegan and gluten-free options for those looking to be a little more health-conscious, which isn't easy to come by for eateries which also offer a drive-thru option.

All of Culver's meals are made-to-order, giving a fresher tasting meal than most fast-eating options. The menu is huge, giving an opportunity for a stomach-pleasing meal even the pickiest of eaters. If you've got the palate of a 6-year-old and prefer to order chicken strips and fries wherever you go, take solace knowing the chicken from Culver's is the crispiest and juiciest strip you'll ever taste.

It's not only the perfect "American" style dining, but it's also the hands-down best hangover cure I've ever had. Washing away last night's regrets with deep fried cheese is how I someday want to die.

But the crown jewel of Culver's is their custard. Holy Mother of God, the custard. Custard may look like ice cream, but don't be fooled. This is a thicker, creamier, smoother style of an iced dairy treat and Culver's offers 'Concrete Mixers,' which make Dairy Queen Blizzards look like the basic bitch of blended candy and cream desserts. You can mix flavor sauces, candies, cookies, fruit and whatever else your heart desires to create the perfect dessert to cap your dining experience.

Trust me, Culver's is worth the trek to the 'burbs. No need to thank me, just bring back some cheese curds.
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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Jammy Buggars in Lakewood Has Closed

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 10:59 AM

Jammy Buggars, the popular Lakewood pub with an odd name, has closed.

It opened seven years ago in the former Niko's spot and quickly found a niche in the city's crowded restaurant and bar scene thanks to better than average bar food at decent prices.

Owner Jim Sprenger didn't respond to requests for comment.

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Bigmouth Donuts Opens This Saturday in Hingetown

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 10:46 AM

Bigmouth Donuts, which already opened its production facility and donut shop at Hub 55, debuts its Hingetown home (1418 W 29th St.) this Saturday at 10 a.m.

Courtney Bonning, chef-owner of the former BonBon Cafe in Ohio City, and Kelly Brewer, formerly with the Cleveland Visitors Bureau and Ritz-Carlton, share a love of donuts and a simpatico philosophy that dictates that donuts should always be handcrafted from scratch using the finest ingredients and served hot and fresh. These particular confections, as the name implies, will be “a little fatter than the normal donut.”

“We believe that a great donut is not one that is dipped in chocolate and then topped with some candy,” Brewer told us last year. “We believe that a finely made donut has four distinct and recognizable components: the dough, the filling, the glaze or finish, and the toppings. All four of these components complement each other to bring a combined flavor that can’t be described until people try them.”
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Monday, July 2, 2018

Battery Park Pub to Open in Former Graffiti, Reddstone, Snickers… Space

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2018 at 3:01 PM

Graffiti Social Kitchen closed its doors in the Battery Park neighborhood this past October. On Wednesday August 1, Battery Park Pub (1261 W. 76th St.) will take its place. Prior to Graffiti, the iconic Detroit Shoreway property was home to Reddstone, a casual pub that was a frequent destination for the new owner.

“Reddstone used to be one of my favorite places, and now I get to host it, which is quite an honor,” says Garrett Moeller.

Moeller and his business partner Seung “Jay” Choi have decades of industry experience between the two of them, and their goal for the bar is a return to simpler times.

“Our concept is to bring an affordable approach to the neighborhood,” Moeller explains. “The feedback we’re getting from the neighborhood is that the previous restaurant was great but a little too pricey for them to go to on a regular basis. They want more of a pub atmosphere, so we’re going back to basics.”

All but a few craft cocktails and craft drafts will be replaced by domestics and popular imports like Guinness. In terms of food, diners can expect an approachable mix of chestnuts like burger melts, fried chicken, tacos and a nice variety of vegetarian options. What makes the menu unique, says Moeller, is that it will be 100-percent gluten-free.

“I figure if you can do it, why not,” he says.

The bulk of the action will be reserved to the main floor bar and patio, with events like karaoke, trivia and private events taking up residence in the second floor dining room. In winter, weekend brunches might take root up there as well.

Moeller says that the restaurant will undergo some cosmetic tweaks to better fit with their approach, with creative metal workers fabricating new décor, furnishings and signage.

“The look will be kind steampunk-ish; we’re tying in that whole battery theme,” he notes.
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