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.
La Mexicana Cantina and Grill’s chefs create a diverse menu of Mexican cuisine. From fajitas and burritos to loaded monterrey baked potatoes and chimichangas, the menu caters to any number of cravings as well as vegetarian lifestyles.
Much like the noble squirrel, Craft Beer Bar is proud to call Northeast Ohio home. And that pride is evident in both the gastropub's industrial-inspired decor and its craft-beer selection. The bar's 30 rotating taps have featured lagers and ales from Goose Island Beer Co., Sixpoint Brewery, and Epic and Green Flash Brewing Companies. However, Ohio-made options are always available in the form of Great Lakes Brewing Company's heavy hitters and lesser known beers from breweries such as Jackie O's Brewery, Cellar Rats Brewery, and MadCap Brew Co.
Although Craft Beer Bar's name implies otherwise, there's more to the public house than beer. An extensive wine selection and craft cocktails are available. Chef Aron Shreve prepares complementary modern casual cuisine, including jerk-chicken wontons with housemade chimichurri, hearty beef and bacon meatloaf, and housemade spinach pappardelle pasta with roasted vegetables. In addition to being filled with creative dishes, the menu recommends a beer pairing with each item.
Between the cherry-red walls of Near East Caffe, guests recline in leather lounge chairs or patterned couches, passing between them spooling hoses connected to ornate hookahs. From the metal and glass towers arrives delectable smoke, pulled from a selection of 100-plus flavors of shisha the lounge offers. Crackling coals burn flavors such as double apple, peach, strawberry, and ocean breeze, along with a variety of flavors from the Starbuzz brand. Customers can also pick and choose flavors to blend, creating concoctions such as lemon-mint or quadruple apple—named after the number of apples that fit in the average human mouth. As they sip on smoke, they can revel in conversation, take in sights from a couple of flat-screen televisions, or simply sit and enjoy the music-filled atmosphere.
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.
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 caf??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 caf? with unlabeled bottles of clam juice.