ground breaking takes place on ambitious hansa house redevelopment in ohio city

Even in Ohio City's Market District, where monthly announcements of new businesses opening are not uncommon, this one is noteworthy. Boris Music, the Slovenian-born owner of the Hansa Import Haus at West 28th and Lorain, is set to break ground on a multi-million-dollar expansion that will transform a dated store into a restaurant and microbrewery.

For years, Hansa Import Haus has been a favorite of locals and those in-the-know -- its faded, faux-German exterior concealing the treasures of European chocolates, cheeses, meats and beer within. To outsiders, it was like: "That place? Is it even open?"

Yet Music, who owned eight other businesses in Cleveland but has shut them all down to start this project, says that the Ohio City neighborhood has finally been redeveloped to the point where he can jump in and pursue his dream project.

"The building was built as a fortress 30 years ago because we had to keep the vandals out," says the 56-year-old. "Now we're moving in the opposite direction. It will be much friendlier, with lots of windows that let the natural light in."

Although Music will roll out his new business in stages, the new Hansa House will hold an exclusive license to brew Pivovarna Lasko beer, Slovenia's largest beer producer, and also feature a European-style restaurant that offers lunch and dinner service. Later, Music plans to add a wine cellar and offer breakfast.

Designs for the new venue show the defensively-designed exterior opened up with large storefront-style windows and a new addition on the current parking lot. The design looks a bit like an Austrian ski lodge crossed with an ethnic beer garden.

As for the menu, Music says that he'll serve simple, high-quality food priced well. "Good ingredients, good quality," he says. "If you put something good in the pot, you get something good out. If you put garbage in the pot, you get garbage out."

More specifically, Music plans to bring in rotating chefs from Europe to deliver a menu that will focus on cuisine from a specific region for several months at a time. Cuisine from Hungary, Italy and Slovenia are likely options. Music says it's a concept he's seen work well in New York City that he wants to import here.

The Hansa Haus will also have a full bottling line. "This is nothing bombastic, it's not Great Lakes Brewery," he says. "We'll still be a microbrewery, and we want to help local breweries be more effective by offering them a cost-effective service."

Music intends to begin brewing beer in July and open the brewpub by October.

Source: Boris Music
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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