Bartleby supper club will embrace the indulgence of the 1920s with a modern take on giving back

Walking into the historic 1925 United Bank Building on Lorain Avenue in Ohio City is a reminder of the ages when banks promoted confidence and prosperity to their customers by creating lavish spaces rich with marble, bronze and gold accents, and plenty of natural light in tall, arched windows.

Morgan Yagi wants his customers to feel that same sense of wealth and prosperity when they walk into Bartleby supper club later this year. The club will fill the space left vacant by the former Crop Bistro. The multi-phase Bartleby project will include a restaurant and bar, as well as private dining and event spaces.

Bartleby restaurant-bar will be going into the space formerly occupied by Crop Bistro in Ohio City. “It’s a restaurant, first and foremost,” says Yagi, who also owns Hibachi Japan Steakhouse in Solon and Cuyahoga Falls, “There will be food by chef Dante Boccuzzi, so we’re in good hands.”

Spotted Owl owner Will Hollingsworth will handle the cocktails and Yagi’s support team is rounded out by Stephen Taylor and Ryan Britton.

The team says the Ohio City location is ideal, with the INTRO residential project underway across the street, and they say Bartleby will be the perfect place to gather with friends for cocktails, dinner, or late-night drinks.

While details are still being figured out, Yagi says Bartleby will have a “lounge atmosphere” with plenty of soft seating, music, and a cozy environment. “It’s a supper club, so people know the music is not going to be that loud,” he says. “People will have the opportunity after they finish their meals to hang out with their peers and enjoy their drinks.”

Designed by Frank Walker and Henry Weeks—known for works like Severance Hall, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, and Cleveland Public Library—the nine-story United Bank Building opened in 1925 as the tallest and largest commercial building on the West side of Cleveland.

“Obviously, Walker and Weeks did a great job 100 years ago,” says Yagi, adding that they plan to preserve the building’s history.

With about 18,000 square feet in the main area, 35-foot ceilings, and a subterranean vault, Yagi says they will warm up the space (and mitigate the acoustics) with bookcases and plush sofas and chairs. Plans also call for all new flooring and carpeting throughout the space. “It’s an expansive remodel but we will definitely stay [committed] to preserving the bones of the place.”

Yagi says they also plan to be good community members—buying all their produce locally and he says they are looking at starting some sort of outreach program with the thousands of books they plan to have on their bookshelves.

Yagi says additional details will be released in the next few months, but they plan on opening in the late fall or by the end of the year.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.