There's nothing even slightly metaphorical about the name of Beau's on the River. With a glassed-in dining room jutting out over the rapids on pillars, it's about as literally on the water as a place can get without being a boat.
This sister restaurant to Beau's Grille opened only in May 2013, and while the views may be all new, the cooking has been a long time coming. Akron native and executive chef Billy Thurman started working in the restaurant business at age 14, and by age 25, he attained his first position as executive chef at The Twilight Cafe in Florida. Eventually, he moved back home to be closer to his mother and sisters, and he brought his wife, children, and 18 years of experience along with him.
Chef Thurman puts that experience to work in the kitchen at Beau's on the River, where he helps craft an expansive menu of inventive fine dining. He coats ahi tuna with coconut sticky rice and pairs grilled chicken with lime cream and corn salsa. And of course, as guests dine, floor-to-ceiling windows frame the majesty of the tumbling falls and the hungry phalanx of fish fighting against the currents for fallen crumbs.
Deep down, owner Leslie Butler always wanted a job naming nail polish and lipstick shades. But her love of working with people, as well as her great affection for cake, led her to instead apply her naming skills to more than 100 cupcake flavors at The Lofty Cafe. Monikers like “The Devil Wears Raspberry” might need a bit of elaboration (chocolate cupcake with raspberry filling, topped with chocolate frosting and a raspberry candy speckled with brimstone), but others are deliciously self-explanatory: vanilla chai spice, maple bacon, and Boston cream. Many flavors are themed by season or occasion. A daily menu determines a few flavors that will be at hand, but customers can score any flavor if they order ahead.
Though it’s hard to imagine so many flavors fitting in Butler’s kitchen, that’s exactly where Butler and her daughter began their business. Unsurprisingly, they eventually expanded their space to offer a dining room and a full kitchen to suit their baking needs. Now they have the capacity to create many cupcake flavors that can be filled or topped with an array of sweets.