For Domenic Fragomeni and Chad Leek, the quest to open a restaurant began on a basketball court. The two met during a pickup game of hoops in 2008, during which they discovered that they both had a passion for entertaining guests and getting trounced by the Harlem Globetrotters. Their friendship eventually blossomed and led to the foundation of a casual fine-dining spot in downtown Akron—a place where busy professionals can grab a quick bite during lunch and diners can savor a gourmet meal for dinner.
The duo's menu of hand-cut steaks and fresh seafood springs from the sauté pan of Chef Josh Pere and the old-world recipes of Olympia Fragomeni; more than 20 inventive martinis flow from the shakers of a team of experienced bartenders.
First-time visitors to Chowder House Cafe often fixate on the dining room’s walls—or lack thereof, as every square inch has been painted over with electric flowers, guitar players, crowned kings, and other artistic testaments to the café’s funky and unconventional outlook. This same outlook makes its way onto the menu, which features the namesake clam chowder alongside salads, sandwiches, and dinner entrees similarly inspired by the sea. Aside from the Sunday brunch’s traditional omelets and buttermilk pancakes drenched in fresh Ohio maple syrup, a crab cake benedict celebrates the weekend atop a toasted ciabatta roll. Regardless of the time of day, a considerate BYOB policy accommodates the sailors who often stumble into the café with unlabeled bottles of clam juice.
Restaurant entrepreneur Ken Stewart traveled to Italy to gather the ingredients and recipes that he would use to build Tre Belle's illustrious menu of authentic Italian dishes. For appetizers, taste buds do tarantellas in anticipation of spicy stuffed peppers ($9.95), or the equally enticing artichoke with lemon aioli ($9.95). As aromatic as it is flavorful, the signature Tre Belle deluxe pizza ($14.99) is a circular tabletop of dough fixed with sausage, banana peppers, mushrooms, olives, mozzarella, and fresh basil––cooked over a wood fire for a distinctly delectable taste and instant pizza-based nostalgia. The Chicken Milanese ($15.95) is a sautéed and breaded bird adorned in a George Clinton style headdress of arugula, tomatoes, lemon, and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. A glass of Pinot Grigio ($7.95) makes a loving companion to an order of lamb ragu ($15.95), pappardelle pasta mingled with savory sauce and cooked in lamb stock.
At Club Beauty, wander up and down the cheetah-print stairs of the two-story salon and spa for a day of pampering. Head to the pedicure station, where guests relax on the cushioned-topped bench built into the gray tiled platform and soak their feet in the footbath below. Nearby, a purple velvet dining chair relaxes clients during standard and shellac manicures, and a white brick fireplace is the perfect spot for quickly melting off old polish. The vibrant red, modern chairs in the salon area host clients getting haircuts, extensions, and blowouts.
Recently revitalized under new management, Triple Crown Restaurant stocks stomach arsenals with an array of steak and seafood menu items that explode in a shower of meticulously crafted flavors. Juicy Atlantic salmon dart lithely between reefs of Cajun seasonings jutting into a sea of garlic butter ($18.99). Sic steak knives and gourmand guard dogs on a sizzling Angus Reserve beef filet mignon ($28.99 for an 8 oz.; $32.99 for a 10 oz.), or delve into the vegetable lasagna's multilayered strata of garden-torn sustenance ($12.99). Culinary designers pad chicken oscar pillows with downy crab-meat stuffing before nestling cuisine cushions atop sheets of béarnaise sauce ($16.99) and this season's hottest china pattern.
Stationed across from Kent Free Library, Wild Goats Café tramples hunger with its selection of homemade comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Inside the dining room, wood trim runs along the top of sand- and pistachio-shaded walls, creating a warm atmosphere often filled with the smell of fresh-roasted coffee. Friendly servers pirouette between booths and tables delivering omelets in the morning and sandwiches in the afternoon, such as The Goat—an open-faced fusion of melted cheddar, tangy hummus, and veggies stacked atop pita bread. For dinner, the cooks craft a handful of entrees featuring a variety of enticing ingredients, such as organic chicken breast, house roasted sirloin, and homemade tomato cream sauce. Throughout the week, specials reward diners for their visit, including Buck Buck Brinner Wednesday, when eight menu items cost just a dollar apiece, making it the ideal night to finally take your pet elephant out for dinner.