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benjamin rose set to open 6,000 s/f training center overlooking downtown

The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, a nationally-recognized research organization, service provider and policy advocate that works with older adults and caregivers, is set to open a new 6,000-square-foot administrative headquarters and training center.

"What's new about the facility is that we intend to broaden the scope of our training to a couple of new audiences," says CEO Richard Browdie of the building at Fairhill Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. "There are many professions that interface with older people and their families on a routine basis but may or may not have any training available to them."

The building also provides Benjamin Rose with the first permanent home for its training programs. Traditionally, such programs had been conducted at off-site locations. Browdie finds it poetic that the organization is building its home in the Shaker-Buckeye neighborhood of Cleveland where they've been for many years.

"The board just really came back to the conclusion that, no matter what they did, they wanted to remain here in the city," he says. "We have replications of our evidence-based practices all over the country, but our home is in Cleveland."

The building cost about $7.5 million and the project cost $11.4 million. Funds came from the sale of another facility to Kindred Hospital, New Markets Tax Credits and other sources. Browdie says the facility will also be available for rent for retreats and other events hosted by nonprofits organizations with compatible missions. The hilltop location offers sweeping views of downtown Cleveland.

Benjamin Rose will celebrate with a free afternoon celebration on Sunday, May 19th from 2-4 p.m. The new BRIA training center is located at 11890 Fairhill.

Source: Richard Browdie
Writer: Lee Chilcote

barroco brings latin american street food to the warehouse district

Barroco, a Colombian and Latin American restaurant with another location is in Lakewood, recently opened a small cafe on W. 6th Street to bring its signature Latin American street food to the Warehouse District.

The new eatery, which can seat about 40 inside and outside on its patio, offers the popular arepa -- thick corn tortillas that are split like English muffins and filled with a variety of meat and veggies -- as well as other favorites such as a Cuban sandwich, Colombian chicken and Barroco burger.

The joint truly will be jumping when the W. 6th Streetscape project wraps up later this summer, allowing Barroco's patio to flourish. Co-owner Juan David Vergara says the clientele includes downtown office workers, residents and late-night revelers.

"This is a faster version of our restaurant," he says. "We still specialize in arepas, but we're also throwing in a couple of new items such as a loaded baked potato."

Vergara is working on some new concepts, including collaborating with Bank Street Wine and Spirits next door to allow BYOB, adding a larger chef's menu for dinner, and displaying what he calls "Barroco TV" (viewers can watch their food being prepared). Barroco is open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

"Latin American street food is pretty much drinking food, bar food," he says. "People go out and stop by the street carts early or late. That's our concept."

Barroco makes its own arepas by hand, a three-day process that Vergara says is "like the ancients" -- they use hominy corn, not corn flour. The restaurant has been getting attention for its food and just won Best Latin Restaurant in Scene.

"So far it's been phenomenal," he says. "We're getting office people for lunch, people who live around here for dinner, and drunk people after the clubs let out."

Source: Juan David Vergara
Writer: Lee Chilcote

new korean-fusion eatery set to open in playhousesquare

PlayhouseSquare will soon add another delicious restaurant to the district, adding fuel to its quest to become a 24/7 neighborhood that encourages theater patrons to stick around long after the shows end. Entrepreneurs Jiyoung and John Sung will open Sung's House next month, adding a Korean and Japanese restaurant to the downtown scene.

"It's not traditional Korean food -- it's fusion style," says Jiyoung Sung, who moved from Michigan to be close to family. "We're also building a sushi bar."

John Sung worked as a sushi chef for 13 years before moving to Cleveland. The venue is a big leap for the couple. "We're happy and nervous at the same time. We're excited about having our own place, but it's kind of frightening, too."

The price range for lunch will be $8-10, while dinner items will be around $15, keeping the menu affordable for CSU students and downtown office workers.

"We think those who live, work and visit here will appreciate having yet another great choice of where to eat," says Cindi Szymanski of PlayhouseSquare, which owns the building. "The planned Korean and Japanese menu choices, including sushi, will bring a currently unrepresented style of cuisine to PlayhouseSquare."

Why did the couple choose PlayhouseSquare? "My uncle is a professor at CSU, and he knows the area very well," says Jiyoung Sung. "He recommended it to us."

The restaurant will be located at 1507 Euclid Avenue, in the former China Sea Express space. It is expected to open in May.

Source: Jiyoung Sung
Writer: Lee Chilcote

community development leader says city's population can be stabilized, all neighborhoods can succeed

During a recent address at the City Club of Cleveland, Joel Ratner of Neighborhood Progress Inc. touted recent success stories that the nonprofit has invested in, including a new home for The Intergenerational School underway at the Saint Luke's campus.

Ratner believes that even though Cleveland has been hard hit by the foreclosure crisis, the city can stabilize its population and begin to grow again through promoting thoughtful, equitable, synergistic development that helps everyone succeed.

"For a long time, there was a debate over whether it makes sense to invest in people or place," said Ratner. "However, we believe it should be people and place."

Ratner cited Pittsburgh as an example of a city whose population has been right-sized and has even begun to grow again in recent years.

As examples of why community development matters, Ratner presented statistics showing that neighborhoods where NPI invested heavily over the past decade not only fell less steeply in the recession, but are also coming back more quickly than others. He also believes that every Cleveland neighborhood can be successful.

Ratner touted the recently-announced Slavic Village Reclaim Project, which leverages private investment by Safeco Properties and Forest City to help rehab 2,000+ properties on 440 acres, as one example of innovative best practices.

He also cited NPI's partnership with the Key Bank Financial Education Center to help low-income residents build wealth through savings and investment programs. Through a possible merger with Cleveland Neighborhood Development Coalition and LiveCleveland, Ratner hopes to begin serving additional neighborhoods.

Source: Joel Ratner
Writer: Lee Chilcote

new west park club paddyrock presents live music in concert setting

Two Cleveland families with deep Irish roots have teamed up to open an Irish bar and concert venue in Kamm's Corners. They say that Paddyrock Superpub will live up to its name, offering a range of live music, live sporting events on big-screen TVs and a full menu.

"What we're doing is original for a neighborhood bar on the west side, because there are no other concert-type venues like this one," says Sheila Sheehan, who opened Paddyrock with her husband Jimmy and West Park native Danny Riley and his family. "We love Irish music. We're excited to showcase the music."

But it won't just be Irish music, says Sheehan, who describes the style of bands as "just fun." They include country, lounge, and, soon, polka. Paddyrock is a large venue with two levels, including a sizeable bar area and a stage for live music.

Other amenities include a 15-foot high-definition superscreen for games, and an upper level with pool tables, dart boards and a balcony overlooking the stage.

Sheehan, who has owned two other West Park bars and lived in the neighborhood for over two decades before recently moving to North Ridgeville, says there's no interesting story behind the location. "They offered it to me and I said yes," she says of the former Stir Niteclub space.

Yet she lights up when talking about the Wolf Tones, an Irish band that is stopping by on Sunday night as part of their American tour. "They're legendary," says Sheehan excitedly. "We've been getting great crowds for the music."

Sheehan is also excited about the direction West Park is taking. "When I first moved here forever ago, the community businesses were good but they were closing up," she says. "Recently, it's become more of an entertainment district."

"This is one of the last communities where families really know each other," she continues. "It's all non-corporate businesses, actual mom-and-pops. There are deep community roots here, and we all stick together and help each other out."

If you stop by, there's a good chance you'll bump into a member of the Riley or Sheehan family -- many of them work here. It's a West Park tradition, after all.

Paddyrock Superpub is located at 16700 Lorain Avenue.

Source: Sheila Sheehan
Writer: Lee Chilcote

thai elephant adds to growing foodie scene in kamm's corners

Within the past five years, the Kamm's Corners commercial district at Lorain Avenue and Rocky River Drive has transformed itself. This once-faded stretch of Irish bars and half-empty storefronts has become a diverse foodie destination, where you can as easily order a gourmet burrito as a pint o' Guinness.

The presence of restaurants like the recently opened Thai Elephant have created a buzzed-about cuisine scene that's a far cry from the West Park of recent memory.

"It's really an exciting time to be a part of the Kamm's Corners commercial area," says Cindy Janis, Commercial Development Manager with Kamm's Corners Development Corporation. "I get calls quite frequently from businesses looking for new space in the area."

Thai Elephant, which opened in January, is the latest addition. Sirima Krabnoic, the Thailand native who also owns Thai Chili restaurant in Avon Lake, renovated a long-empty former Chinese restaurant at 16610 Lorain into a comfortable, colorful eatery with beautiful hand-woven Thai tapestries on the walls.

"We wanted to expand our business, and we thought that Kamm's Corners was not a bad area for a second location," says Krabnoic. "It's authentic Thai food."

Thai Elephant is open for lunch and dinner seven days per week. Most dishes range from $6 to $13, and the menu has an extensive list of traditional dishes.

Soon, the restaurant will be installing a striking new sign -- hint: It has an elephant in it -- with the help of the City of Cleveland's Storefront Renovation Program.

"They're a wonderful new addition to the neighborhood," adds Janis.

Among other new or recent openings on Lorain, Janis cites the Jasmine Bakery, Olive and Grape, Kamm's Closet and Cafe Falafel (slated to open in two weeks).

Source: Cindy Janis
Writer: Lee Chilcote

soul food dynasty warms downtown bellies with stonetown southern bistro

Downtown has lacked a soul food restaurant for years. That's changed now that Soul Republic, the successful restauranteurs behind Angie's Soul Cafe, Jezebel's Bayou and Zanzibar, have opened Stonetown Southern Bistro at 627 Prospect Avenue.

The casual venue, whose menu features "soul food with a twist" and is similar to Zanzibar at Shaker Square, aims to fill a gap in the marketplace. "This is one of those everyday locations, as opposed to a place you'd go as a treat on date night," says Adrian Lindsay, Stonetown's general manager. "That niche has been missing down here. It's something overdue for this area."

Lunch entree prices are in the $6 to $9 range, while dinner menu items are priced from $10 to $14. Stonetown is located in the former Nexus Coffeehouse space on the ground floor of the 668 Euclid Avenue apartment building (Prospect Ave. side).

Soul Republic has reconfigured the space so that it features a lounge and bar with hightop tables and a dining room. A homemade wine cabinet separates the two.

The menu is a "soul fusion" concept similar to Zanzibar, says Akin Alafin, general manager of Soul Republic, but it  includes many new items as well. These include buttermilk fried yardbird with red velvet waffle, lobster shrimp and grits, fried crawfish, lobster quesadilla with arugula sauce, and the Stone Rolls.

Stonetown has been getting a great reception so far, says Lindsay. The key to success for the company, which employs eight family members and has become something of a soul food dynasty, has been consistency, the incorporation of fresh ingredients from local farmers and the West Side Market, and not taking shortcuts. "They want soul food; it's gotta be cooked for the soul."

The restaurant, while still in the soft-open phase, does feature the full menu, says Alafin. Weekend brunch will start on Saturday, January 26th and run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. So far, Soul Republic has invested more than $200,00 into the space and has hired 11 people.

Stonetown Southern Bistro is Soul Republic's fifth restaurant in the Cleveland area.

Sources: Adrian Lindsay, Akin Alafin
Writer: Lee Chilcote

yellowcake inks deal to open brick-and-mortar store in gordon square

Valerie Mayen is both nervous and excited as she talks about taking Yellowcake, the independent clothing company she built from the ground up, from pop-up to permanent. In March, the 31-year-old Texas native, who came to Cleveland to study at the Cleveland Institute of Art and appeared on Season 8 of "Project Runway," will double her current retail space at W. 65th Street and Detroit Avenue in the Gordon Square Arts District.

Yellowcake's new 1,500-square-foot space will offer expanded clothing lines, more menswear and additional kids' clothing. Mayen also will teach classes and offer shared workspace. D-day will be in January when Mayen punches through the wall of the former podiatry office next door. When the dust settles, she'll outfit her shop with new lighting, flooring, paint, sewing equipment and shared work stations.

"We've been here for 18 months as a pop-up store, and we decided to stick it out because we love the neighborhood," says Mayen. Although sales of her higher-end, locally-made women's dresses, coats and clothing haven't been what she hoped, she inked a three-year lease out of confidence in the area's upswing. "We're working our asses off to make this corner spot look amazing," she says.

Mayen also benefited from a $10,000 grant from Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization's inaugural Best Business Plan Competition. She will receive free rent during the buildout followed by a graduated payment schedule. The competition was funded by Councilman Matt Zone and Charter One Bank.

Mayen's long-planned co-working space for entrepreneurs in the fashion industry, Buzz and Growl, will take up residence in Yellowcake's new headquarters. She will sell a handful of memberships initially and plans to offer classes and tours as well.

Mayen urged her fellow Clevelanders to shop local and independent businesses during the holiday season -- and beyond. "People are conditioned to think that Forever21 and H&M prices are the norm. I recognize that $98 for a cotton dress is a lot. Honestly, our prices should be about 20 percent higher. We don't put them higher because I understand that there's a price people are willing to pay."

While she's excited about her new permanent store, the ambitious designer, who has built Yellowcake with her own sweat equity and hard cash, is not one to rest. "I'm happy with who we are, what we are and where we're at... ish," she says.

Source: Valerie Mayen
Writer: Lee Chilcote

design-inspired helvetica juice bar and cafe opens in lakewood

Friends and colleagues Juan Vergara and Edward Padilla have opened Helvetica Juice Bar and Café in Lakewood, which offers authentic Latin American juices and cuisine with a Latin twist. The team hopes the space will become a gathering place for Cleveland’s graphic designers and creative class.

The café, which is named after a popular font used by designers, is located at 11823 Detroit Avenue across from Virginia Marti College of Art and Design.

“We’ve run out of food twice already,” says Vergara, who also co-owns Barroco Grill, a popular Columbian restaurant on Madison Avenue in Lakewood, with his father Carlos. “We got a huge turnout when we first opened. Now we know better!”

The café’s signature juices are made from pulp imported from Latin America. Other items include a plantain sandwich with beef and a vegan zucchini salad.

“What I did was take every juice from my childhood, very popular drinks in South America, that are different and people haven’t heard of up here,” says Vergara. “I put them all on the menu. We make them from ice, pulp, water and sugar. We also use agave syrup and soy milk. We make them so they’re almost like smoothies.”

Vergara and Padilla are both artists and graphic designers, so they designed the place as a hangout for creative types. “There’s really no place in Cleveland that’s designated for graphic designers,” says Vergara, who offers a library of graphic design books in the café and showcases successful local businesses on the walls.

Of the location near the Cleveland border, Vergara says, “The eastern end of Lakewood needs some love right now. With downtown becoming redeveloped, it is working its way out from the inside. So I thought, what better way to start?”

Source: Juan Vergara
Writer: Lee Chilcote

famicos renovates historic school into affordable, green apartments

The Famicos Foundation, a nonprofit community development group serving Glenville and Hough, recently completed a green renovation of the historic Doan School building into affordable apartments.

According to the Famicos Foundation website, "Originally constructed in 1904 and expanded in 1906 and 1950, Doan School, located at 1350 East 105th Street, is a national landmark that fell victim to the foreclosure epidemic.  The structure was designed by Frank Barnum, a prominent Cleveland architect who designed many early twentieth-century public schools.  In 1985 the building was converted to 45 units of low-income senior housing; in 2008 it became vacant and boarded."

Last year, Famicos began the $7.4 million renovation of Doan Classroom using low-interest deferred Neighborhood Stabilization Program loans provided by the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. 

Famicos also contributed its own tax credit equity to the deal. This equity was provided by the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing through syndication of federal Historic Tax Credits as well as Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

The Doan Classroom Apartments project not only demonstrates the principles of historic renovation, but also shows that they can be married with green building.

"This was a large school building that was not built for residential use, yet we were able to renovate it so that it meets Enterprise Green Community standards," says Chuck Ackerman, Associate Director of the Famicos Foundation.

Source: Chuck Ackerman
Writer: Lee Chilcote

nature's bin acquires lakewood mcdonald's, plans catering expansion

When the McDonald’s on Sloane Avenue in Lakewood closes this fall, it will be replaced by a considerably healthier happy meal option. The natural foods store Nature’s Bin will purchase the building and expand its catering operations there, hiring up to six new workers.

These new employees will be placed at Nature’s Bin through its owner, Cornucopis Inc., a nonprofit that prepares disabled individuals for the workforce by giving them real world experiences where they can interact with customers. 

“This is an exciting time as we add additional space to expand our training program capacity, food services and catering,” stated Scott Duennes, Executive Director of Cornucopia/Nature’s Bin, in a news release. “It has always been part of our long-term vision to stay and grow in our local community.”

“Cornucopia provides a unique program that offers vocational training in a real-world environment,” said Terry Ryan, Superintendent of the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CCBDD). “CCBDD supports this endeavor and is excited about the prospect of the expansion of services to a greater number of individuals with disabilities.”

Nature’s Bin, a locally-owned Lakewood mainstay since 1975, faces intense competition from Earth Fare in Fairview Park and Heinen’s in Rocky River. A recent announcement that Whole Foods plans to open a store in Rocky River in 2014 will add to the surfeit of natural food options available on the west side.

The 8,000-square-foot store is smaller than its competitors, yet benefits from its loyal customer base and those who support its mission of training disabled adults. Nature’s Bin also offers a range of specialty products like gluten-free bread.

The Mcdonald’s in Lakewood  is relocating to the site of the former Detroit Theatre, a historic building that was torn down -- over the protests of many Lakewood residents -- to accommodate a new building for the fast food venue.

Source: Nature’s Bin
Writer: Lee Chilcote

lucy's sweet surrender opens new bakery and bakeshop in shaker heights

Cleveland's original artisan bakery, Lucy's Sweet Surrender, has finished its move from Buckeye Road to a larger, better situated space in the former Chandler and Rudd building in Shaker Heights.

The new, 3,500-square-foot space features a small retail storefront that opens up to a bakery where visitors can watch the scratch baking process. The traditional Hungarian bakery, a dying breed that once thrived in Cleveland neighborhoods, intends to ramp up its retail business. It will also continue to pop up at area farmers markets, make deliveries in Cleveland and ship orders by mail. 

Owner Michael Feigenbaum says Lucy's is busy at its new, well-trafficked location. "This week, we'll be at four farmers markets and we're already well into wedding cake season," he says. "The growth of new, artisan bakeries in Cleveland has helped us by raising the bar on what our customers are looking for."

Feigenbaum is already dreaming of Phase II of his expansion plans, which may include re-launching a prepared foods business, creating a small cafe, or partnering with other vendors. The Chandler and Rudd building has an additional 3,500 square feet that offer a blank canvas for the owner's next creation.

The long-awaited reconfiguration of the Warrensville/Van Aken/Chagrin intersection will only help him by creating a more vibrant urban district that can compete with Legacy Village and other lifestyle malls, says Feigenbaum.

Source: Michael Feigenbaum
Writer: Lee Chilcote

sculptures, 40-foot mural will celebrate year of the dragon in asiatown

This weekend, tens of thousands of visitors will descend on the St. Clair Superior neighborhood for the Cleveland Asian Festival. During their visit, they will be delighted by 25 colorful dragon sculptures painted by local artists and installed outside businesses to beautify the area and celebrate the arts and Asian culture.

The public art project commemorates the Chinese Year of the Dragon, which began with the new moon in January and continues for a full 12 months.

Each one of these fantastic creatures will be completely unique. For example, Cleveland tattoo artist Sean Kelly painted a dragon featuring butterflies flying out of its chest, the kind of glittering eyes used in stuffed animals, and real antlers.

The dragons will be displayed through the end of August. They will be auctioned off at a special benefit on Saturday, September 29th, the proceeds of which will support arts and culture programming in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood.

On Thursday, May 31st, the St. Clair Superior Development Corporation and artist Anna Arnold will also unveil a huge, 40- foot mural on the side of the Consolidated Graphics building at E. 39th and Payne Avenue. The project was created with the help of neighborhood schoolchildren and Asian seniors.

Source: Becca Britton
Writer: Lee Chilcote

glenville high school students organize sustainability awareness day

Recently, an artistically-minded student at Glenville High School was so inspired by his school's first-ever Sustainability Awareness Day that he painted a rain barrel with the school's signature "G" logo and displayed it at last week's inaugural event.

"It was kind of like a small-scale science fair," says Anthony Body, Community Organizer with the Famicos Foundation, a nonprofit community development organization that serves the neighborhood and hosted the event at its Community Service Center on Ansel Rd. "Each student created a display," which included hydroponics, aeroponics and rain barrel displays.

The program is part of an effort to imbue sustainability practices into Glenville in partnership with residents. The goal is to teach people about sustainability, help them grow and access healthy, local food and make them more self-sufficient. Famicos has partnered with the NEO Restoration Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes community gardening and green jobs, to create the program.

"At first, it was like pulling teeth," says Body of his experience working with high school students. "Then they bit into it more and had more hands-on experiences. We went on field trips to the Rockefeller Greenhouse and Galleria and they learned vermicomposting. They saw how it could relate to their homes."

Although most of the students do not have gardens at home, Body says that two students have started gardens at their homes and one actually now has a hydroponics system. "It opened their eyes," he says.

Body says the area is a "food desert," and that most of the local corner stores do not sell fresh produce. He touts the Circle105 Farmers Market, which is now in its second year and kicks off June 15th, as a viable alternative. The farmers market will accept food stamps and offer additional specials for residents this year.

"I see a lot of people who leave Glenville and never come back and engage the youth," says Body, a graduate of Glenville High School as well as Malone University in Canton, Ohio. "The youth need to be educated on how to do this."

Source: Anthony Body
Writer: Lee Chilcote

italian cultural garden to celebrate installation of new dante statue in june

After three years of fundraising -- and a generous last-minute gift from an anonymous donor -- a bronze statue of Dante Alighieri is now being crafted at Studio Foundry in Cleveland. It will be installed in the Italian Cultural Gardens in Rockefeller Park in June.

"I view this as a Cleveland project," says Joyce Mariani, Executive Director of the Italian Cultural Gardens Foundation, who championed the project after discovering unfinished plans for the Italian Garden that included the Dante sculpture. "It brings back an urban space, and reflects the greatness of what Italy has given the world. We're all beneficiaries of what the Italians have done."

The statue, which costs $135,000, was designed by Italian sculptor Sandro Bonaiuto, who was originally born in Cleveland. It presents Dante in his 30s, around the time he wrote the Divine Comedy.

In the statue, Dante gazes out from where he sits in a Renaissance chair with the Divine Comedy in one hand and a pen in the other. The base of the statue portrays heaven, hell and purgatory, and a scroll located beside the statue includes the epic poem's most famous canto in Italian and English.

The Dante statue will be dedicated on June 29th, and Mariani will host Opera in the Garden, a free performance, on Sunday, July 29th beginning at 6 pm.

Source: Joyce Mariani
Writer: Lee Chilcote
64 Diversity Articles | Page: | Show All
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