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.
Peer up at the menu, and jump-start your morning with a breakfast pita, such as the morning glory, comprised of avocado, eggs, tomatoes, home fries, grilled green peppers, onions, and your choice of cheese and zesty sauces ($5.85). Don't feel ashamed if your morning happens to be what other people call the afternoon, since breakfast pitas are served all day.
Crowned the Best Irish Pub of 2010 by CityVoters, Brubaker's serves up an extensive menu of pub edibles alongside a lively atmosphere and TVs sporting the latest in athletic endeavors. Quiet nagging hunger mufflers with appetizers such as barbecue-chicken potato skins ($5.75) and the super pretzel with mustard, salsa, or nacho cheese ($2), or tongue-dive into a specialty dish, such as the chicken cordon "bru" ($6.75), the buffalo-chicken wrap ($5.50), or the mega dog ($4). Brubaker's burritos wrap various fillings in the fresh-baked arms of nine-inch tortillas and come in varietals such as the Popeye ($5.50), a hulkifying combination of spinach-artichoke dip, tomatoes, onions, shredded cheddar, and ranch dressing. Brubaker's also offers a wide-ranging beer selection to indulge the fermented fantasies of Prohibition-era taste buds.
To reach their table at Spaghetti Warehouse, guests commonly have to step through two doors: the front door of the restaurant and the door of the antique trolley parked inside. Since its inception in 1972, the Italian eatery has merged the functions of kitchen and museum. Artifacts such as grandfather clocks, factory flywheels, and circus billboards surround diners as they delve into signature plates of 15-Layer Lasagna or hand-rolled meatballs. Apart from the items they've amassed, each of the buildings also has a particular history, from the one-time ice-manufacturing plant in Columbus to Memphis's Civil War munitions depot. Given their storied pasts, it's no surprise that several of these venues house their own ghosts—at Houston's warehouse, for example, elevator lights have been known to flicker, objects are mysteriously found in new locations, and a lady in a white gown is said to roam the restaurant.
Yet the main attraction of the place is the delicious food. Like any great Italian meal, made-from-scratch dishes are created from family recipes passed down for generations via email. Guests devour the perfectly al dente pasta, crispy calamari, bottomless soups, and 12-layer chocolate cakes while dining with family and friends. It’s that feeling of togetherness that people love about Spaghetti Warehouse, a feeling that is only enhanced when the drinks start flowing and the air is punctuated by the sounds of laughter as kids play retro games, such as The Claw prize-grabbing machine.
A nonprofit, java-centric venture, Urbean Café brews and serves steaming cups of locally roasted coffee in order to support Urban Connection, a community-outreach program designed to provide employment training to disadvantaged members of the community. The café menu stars fresh, Akron-roasted beans in a stimulating selection of coffee concoctions ($1–$4), alongside a tasty supporting ensemble of seasonal sandwiches ($3.50), soups ($2), muffins ($1), and more. The eco-friendly café building boasts solar-power panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and a noticeable absence of stove-burning stoves. The mobile Urbun Cart makes it easier than ever to guzzle a tummy-warming drink while enjoying the all-over warmth that comes with helping others.