Al "Bubba" Baker is no stranger to awards. The former NFL lineman went to three pro bowls during his career and was named 1978's Defensive Rookie of the Year. Upon his retirement from the field, Bubba yearned for a return to his southern roots, and so he and his wife Sabrina decided to open a barbecue restaurant using secret family recipes stemming all the way back to the 1950s. Those time-honored techniques include marinating dry-rubbed pork, brisket, and ribs overnight, and then slow-smoking them for hours over smoldering piles of Ohio-grown applewood. It's a painstaking process, but it pays—today, Bubba's trophy case is filled with myriad awards for his succulent cuisine, including four Silver Spoon recognitions from Cleveland Magazine for Best Ribs and Best Barbecue Restaurant.
While many barbecue joints taut ribs that are boneless, Bubba's takes things a step further by de-boning baby back ribs through an patented process that leaves them easily mastered with a knife and fork or spare fencing sword. Bourbon adds an extra flair to boneless beef short ribs, which are sautéed in Bubba's signature barbecue sauce, splashed with bourbon, and set aflame before serving, and southern fried chicken owes its own crispy exterior to a secret batter invented by Bubba's momma, Ernestine. The kitchen also ladles its famous pulled meats onto baskets of fries and on sandwiches to create easy handheld eats, which may be enjoyed in the sports-themed dining room or out on the covered patio, where an inset fireplace keeps things warm and cozy in true down-homestyle.
Looking at Marty Velasco now, it's hard to believe that he once struggled with his weight. Though Marty may be muscular and slim today, his history gives him a unique understanding of the hardships faced by those trying to lose weight. This understanding fuels his determination to help others at his private fitness studio.
At Fitness Edge, Marty and his staff help clients on the road to health and weight loss with group fitness classes and personal training. Within the colorful studio, or at outdoor locations in Rocky River Park, the staff leads students of all fitness levels in full-body circuit-training workouts. Sessions might call upon strength-building kettlebell exercises, natural bodyweight resistance, and cardiovascular conditioning exercises, and trainers help their students continue the work at home with nutritional counseling and meal plans. The staff is committed to creating a friendly environment for their students; they welcome all newcomers with an orientation, where they demonstrate what to expect from the program, tour the facility, and ritualistically hand crochet students' names into their sweatbands.
**How did Vintage House Café begin?**
_As a family venture. We started as a restaurant, then added a patio, tearoom, and gift shop. Not only do we offer a large selection of loose-leaf tea, but my son is a glass artist and we sell his blown glass art work._ **Aside from owner, what role do you play in the restaurant?**
_I always enjoyed baking, so I create all the desserts._ **Tell us a little about the head chef.**
_Chef Grant Urmston is a native Clevelander, whose passion for culinary arts began at a young age. His passion grew over the years, and he further developed his skills at the renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. With career stops that included New York, Boston, and Las Vegas, Grant has brought a more traditional Italian and Mediterranean flair to the menu, all while trying to focus more on fresh and local products._ **What inspires you to take such a hands-on role in the restaurant?**
_I love being here and our customers make me smile._
Tan Pro USA has been compensating for the less-than-ideal latitudinal coordinates of Ohio since 1998. It was then that they opened their first tanning outpost furnished with 30 UV beds, and they have since expanded operations to 43 stores throughout the state. They stock each location with ample tanning units, rendering appointments an archaic formality equivalent to gifting a sheep to your defense lawyer. After customers stroll in, they can slide into an Ergoline 1100, which boasts four ultra-performance facial tanners and two high-pressure shoulder tanners. Staffers advise which lotions enhance traditional tanning results along with explaining the benefits of the UV-free VersaSpa spray-tan booths. Harnessing infrared heat, VersaSpa booths impart a glow to entire physiques or targeted trouble areas, such as the inside of the armpits.
SVS Vision Center?s founders opened their first shop in Sterling Heights, Michigan, in 1974 to help the community clear up its vision. But even these optical gurus never foresaw their humble business expanding to more than 60 locations sprawled across 8 states. Today, each shop continues the tradition of ensuring ocular health and crystalline sight, beginning with exams from seasoned optometrists. Afterward, patients head to the optical dispensary, where they try on frames by Coach, Tiffany, Nike, Versace, or Ray-Ban. The staff then fits the stylish selection with polarized and scratch-protected prescription lenses to help guests read books clearly or see a charging moose from a distance. Most of SVS Vision Center?s frames can also hold sunglass lenses as well, eliminating squinting during summer months and tropical vacations.
Colors & Bottles' founder Jessica Burley and her band of talented local artists are dedicated to supporting local emerging talent and businesses through art instruction held at nearby venues. Their resident artists travel to local eateries and art galleries, where they teach students of all skill levels to fashion dimensional masterpieces through step-by-step instruction. They also kindle creativity during private parties held at the location of your choice, asking only that the destination be outfitted with enough tables, chairs, and paint-by-numbers templates of the Sistine Chapel ceiling for all invitees. Colors & Bottles has received a nod for their engagingly creative events on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and within the pages of the Columbus Dispatch.