Voodoo Brewery to bring its magic to Lee Road

Lee Road in Cleveland Heights is starting to make its mark on the Northeast Ohio beer scene, as another brewery is preparing to open its doors in the Cedar-Lee District.

Meadville, PA-based Voodoo Brewery is slated to open its first tap house outside of Pennsylvania and its eighth location overall later this year in a storefront on Lee Road, and chief operating office Jake Voelker says they couldn’t be more excited.

Nestled between Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates and the Wine Spot, Voodoo will not brew at the Lee Road location but will bring its award-winning beers in from its Meadville brewing facility.

“It’s a great opportunity for us and we’re excited to be a part of it,” says Voelker. “We knew we wanted to be in the Northeast Ohio region, so we started looking, started doing research and looking at neighborhoods. We fell in love with the Cedar-Lee District.”

Voelker says they signed the lease at the beginning of the year and embarked on a total renovation of the 3,500-square-foot space. “It’s a total gut and remodel,” he explains. “The space has a lot of natural brick and we want to leave that. Our [decor] is relaxed, eclectic, and rustic.”

Voelker says they try to upcycle whenever they can, so seating will be crafted from old palettes used to ship Voodoo beer and the 30-foot bar will be poured concrete. “It’s a no-frills, but comfortable atmosphere,” he says.

Fourteen to 16 Voodoo beers will be on tap, including the popular Voodoo Love Child—a fruited Tripel style Belgian beer—with remaining selections being seasonal brews.

The same no-frills vibe goes with the food menu, Voelker says, which will offer “eclectic pub fare” selections such as pizza, sandwiches, and burgers.

All of Voodoo’s locations are independently owned and operated. The Cleveland Heights location will be run by local brewers Don Trivisonno and Cathy Zalocki, who Voelker says approached him about running the tap room.

Area businesses are equally excited about Voodoo’s arrival. “We love the fact that Voodoo is adding to what we see as the Cleveland Heights Craft District,” says Jason Sweet, owner of Boss Dog Brewing Company down the street. “With Voodoo, Wine Spot, CLE Urban Winery, Bottlehouse, and us there are a lot of new options.”

Sweet says the influx of the newer establishments only adds to the list of seasoned veterans in the Cedar-Lee District. “It's a cool combination of new places mixed in with great classic neighborhood spots like New Heights Grill, TavCo, and Rib Cage,” he says. “Lee Rd is once again becoming a thriving walkable destination.”

Directly next door, Elan Hoenig, general manager of the Wine Spot, says the Voodoo owners often stopped in for a drink when they were considering the new location. “We’re excited to have another brewery on the street,” he says.

Jason Hallaman, owner of Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates on the other neighboring side of Voodoo, is happy to see the empty storefronts on Lee filling up. “This is a wonderful thing for the street,” he says. “They can borrow anything they want, and I have a place to go get a beer.”

As Voodoo prepares to open—Voelker says he hopes to open the doors by late summer or early fall—they are looking for a local chef, kitchen manager, and are hiring for virtually all positions. To apply, email Voodoo Brewery.

Selections of Voodoo brews are already available around Northeast Ohio at some local retailers, including Heinen's stores.

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.
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