Distinctly Downtown: The Coffee Pot

photo 5The owners of the Stew Pot Kitchen are proud to announce the opening of their new business called “The Coffee Pot” located inside the Akron-Summit Library near the Main Street entrance. Scott Malensek, the owner, thought it would be a wonderful idea to offer customers a quick, grab-and-go, breakfast that’s not offered at the Stew Pot. The main reason why Scott decided to open The Coffee Pot is because his customers kept asking him to serve breakfast. Since the Stew Pot Kitchen is only 180 paces from the library, he gets a lot of people and employees from the library come into the Stew Pot. The employees from the library told him about the empty space inside the first floor of the library and Scott thought it was the perfect place to serve breakfast to his customers. The Stew Pot Kitchen and The Coffee Pot are both family-owned; Scott works with his wife and kids which makes both restaurants family-friendly.

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The Coffee Pot has a very settled, calm, and quiet environment with veggie plants growing in the windows and new paintings and photos hung on the walls. The vegetable plants growing inside of the Coffee Pot are used in the recipes at both restaurants, which makes the food even better since the plants are homegrown! The plants consist of basil, (for the tomato basil soup), hot peppers, lettuce, cherry and yellow tomatoes, cucumbers and much more. Since the Coffee Pot just opened they are still doing renovations on the inside. Scott likes to feature local artist work and by the end of the year he wants to make the Coffee Pot an “urban jungle”. He wants it to be warm and a bright green space whenever it’s grey and nasty outside in the winter. “Next time we get seven months of winter, I want it to be summer in the Coffee Pot,” he said.

The Stew Pot Kitchen offers soups, salads, and sandwiches for lunch while the Coffee Pot offers grab-and-go food and drinks that are made to order. They serve a wide variety of coffee and tea that change daily.

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They offer Jamaican coffee that smells strong but taste light, kind of like tea, and it tastes amazing. Another coffee they offer is Kenya coffee, the smell is just what you would imagine Africa to smell like with a strong taste. The Coffee Pot also offers salami and American cheese, custom roast beef with homegrown lettuce sandwiches, basic salads, muffins, fresh fruit, and to-go snacks for when you’re in a hurry. In the near future, Scott plans to add more items to the Coffee Pot menu that includes more flavors of coffee and more sandwiches. He also wants to grow more varieties of plants in the Coffee Pot along with getting more artist work on the walls to give it that urban jungle feeling.

The Coffee Pot and The Stew Pot Kitchen have pretty much everything in common. Everyone who works at the Stew Pot Kitchen also works at The Coffee Pot. The customers that come into the Stew Pot for lunch also come into the Coffee Pot to grab a quick coffee and sandwich for breakfast. The Stew Pot offers a wide variety of soups, have you looked at their website? There are over 100 different kinds of soups, all from the customer’s feedback! Scott is the kind of person who loves customer input, every soup and sandwich on his menu has had some kind of customer feedback, like if they have suggestions on what he should add to it. He really values his customers and what they have to say about his recipes. If you don’t like the soup that you ordered, tell them and they will keep trying until they get it perfect just for your satisfaction. Most of the ingredients put into the soups are homegrown or they get them from a local homegrown market. They not only grow plants inside of the Coffee Pot, they also have their own garden at their home and that’s how the Tomato Basil soup is made.

The Coffee Pot is a unique addition to Downtown Akron with a homey, calm, and green photo 3 (1)environment that is always welcoming. He wants to make his customers happy by offering the best coffee and food in town. So stop by and have a cup of coffee before work or stop by the Stew Pot Kitchen and try their phenomenal tomato basil soup or their famous chili.

This year in July marks the 4th anniversary of the Stew Pot Kitchen and they are offering specials everyday and lots of awesome deals. Check their Facebook daily to catch the new specials offered the whole month of July.

By: Hillary Walker
DAP Intern


Distinctly Downtown: Biking To Work

suzie biking 2Inspired by the Chicago 8-80 Doable Cities Forum in Chicago last week and AMATS’ Switching Gears Active Transportation Conference yesterday I rediscovered a love for my neighborhood this morning by biking to work! Only eight minutes slower than driving in (obeying speed limits) and far better for my health and sense of well-being, my 20 minute ride began by appreciating how my old Akron street is built at a beautiful human scale with porches and windows facing the street to encourage a watchful and engaged neighborhood.

Every pedestrian I passed, even on the four lane Market Street route that I took, smiled and said hello. I took the street versus the sidewalk and braved the traffic. Cycling is not just for the lycra people – stuff a blazer and change of shoes in your backpack ad enjoy the ride. Hooray for our old neighborhood streets, built close-in to the city center so we can take advantage of a better life.

Skip the suburbs, stay in Akron. Thanks to the Knight Foundation for inspiring us to think differently about modes of transit and their impact on quality of life. Hope to see you at the lunchtime University of Akron’s How We Roll bike tour today with the fabulous Christine Mayer, president of GAR Foundation! The lunchtime bike rides take place every Friday at 12:15 p.m. with the Market at Lock 3. Click here for a full schedule of rides and celebrity tour guides and be sure to join us.

By: Suzie Graham
President, Downtown Akron Partnership

Distinctly Downtown: Pronto Casual Italian

Are you Pronto?

Summer is finally here! The grass is green, the flowers are blooming, and the air is fresh. It’s the perfect time of year to explore Downtown Akron and to get familiar with the new venues opening up. Downtown Akron Partnership would like you to try Pronto, a casual homemade Italian restaurant.

20 E Exchange Street Akron, Ohio

20 E Exchange Street Akron, Ohio

Pronto opened in November of 2013 and is located on East Exchange Street in Downtown Akron. The owner Santino is 100% Italian and his family, along with his business partner Antonio, moved to America from Italy in the 1980s. Pronto is an authentic casual Italian restaurant that serves homemade Italian food for a reasonably low price. All of their food is fresh – NEVER FROZEN – and Santino even has the best pizza maker in the state of Ohio.

Different selection of homemade pizza

Different selection of homemade pizza

As a former Akron Zip, Santino was inspired to open a restaurant in Downtown Akron – to both support Akron and the students and to honor his Italian heritage. Santino grew up assisting his uncle with his restaurant business and wanted to satisfy the locals with the best homemade Italian food west of New York. He also said that Akron is a great city to live in with an excellent mayor, and he wants to support the city. Pronto’s restaurant is different from other casual Italian restaurants because it offers homemade food that is ready before you know it and available at a great price. The pepperoni pizza is absolutely amazing and one slice, priced at $3.49, is bigger than the average person’s head. You can’t find many Italian restaurants around here that make all their recipes from scratch; they even have some of their ingredients shipped here right from Italy.

Pepperoni Pizza

Pepperoni Pizza

Santino mentioned three tips in running a successful restaurant: 1) you must be versatile and willing to do different jobs including cooking, dishes, inventory and customer service; 2) Patience is the key; you must be patient with employees and customers in order to achieve satisfaction; and 3) You must be consistent in your work. These three tips have helped Santino achieve many goals in his business from managing employees to keeping customers satisfied 100% of the time.

Baked Ziti, Santino's favorite!

Baked Ziti, Santino’s Favorite!

Pronto offers a great selection of food on their menu including pizzas, Stromboli, salads, tiramisu, and the owner’s favorite, traditional baked ziti with homemade meatballs – sounds amazing! Pronto is also working on getting a beer and wine license. They also started delivering to students and residents in downtown Akron on June 2, and they are adding a front patio this summer so customers can enjoy the nice weather – while it lasts.

Customer feedback is positive. For instance, while visiting the restaurant and snapping a few pictures, one customer said, “I really love the food and its great service. Everyone is really friendly. I would give them an A+.” Their online rating on yelp.com was a five out of five, and one person commented, “Great food, great atmosphere, and conveniently located in Downtown Akron. Next time you are in the area I suggest you give this place a try.”

I highly recommend you stop by and try some homemade casual Italian food. They will have you in and out of there so quickly, leaving you satisfied and wanting to come back again.

Pronto is open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and street parking is available on Exchange, High and Main.



After you read this blog, print it out, show it to the employees at Pronto and you’ll receive 10% your meal.

By: Hillary Walker
DAP Intern

Distinctly Downtown: Towpath Trail

Spring has arrived, which means it’s time to get out and enjoy some sunshine. The blog Towpath_Downtown '04Towpath Trail runs through the city of Akron allowing residents and visitors to bike or walk when the weather is nice. The Towpath is great for any exercise or leisure activities around or in the city. The trail makes it easy to navigate to different attractions located throughout the city. “There are so many things to see via the Towpath Trail through downtown Akron,” said Lynn Williams, executive assistant/office manager of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition.

The final stretch of the Towpath Trail that allows users to stop at various attractions in downtown Akron was completed in October of 2011. This was a major step for the Towpath because Akron was the first city to be marked on the trails map. It made the city more accessible for users to explore all it has to offer. Residents and users have the options of getting off of the trail at Lock 1, Lock 2, Lock 3, State Street, and Bowery & Quaker Street, The Towpath Bridge at the Innerbelt (Route 59), Beech Street and the Mustill Store.

howe houseThe Richard Howe House Visitor Center, located at 47 West Exchange Street, serves as an information center, which has been restored to its original beauty. If you decide to cross over the bridge along the Towpath you will find yourself at Canal Park Stadium, home of the RubberDucks, or maybe catching a quick meal at Bricco, Cilantro or the Barley House. If you continue down the Towpath you will find yourself at Lock 2, an urban park that is the home of a reconstructed canal lock with a ghost frame of a life sized 1820s canal freighter boat. The next stop on the trail is Lock 3. Here you will find a large variety of entertainment. The area hosts live concerts, Akron festivals, a Farmers Market and the Holiday Market. If you decide to get off the trail at Lock 3 you will be among many restaurants such as The Lockview, the Peanut Shoppe, Baxter’s and Street Treats Grill. The Akron Civic Theatre is located here as well for more entertainment options. The next stop on the trail is Lock 4, home of the Lock Bottom Blues and Jazz Club. You can cross over Bowery Street and take the Towpath Connector Bridge over Route 59 to the Mustill Store and Visitor Center at Lock 15. The store opened in 2000 and offers the history of the Cascade Locks with the development of Akron.

blog Hikers & BikersThe Towpath Trail now provides access for those bikers or walkers who are not as experienced to still enjoy some good fun. The Bike Aboard program allows users to bike to a destination and take a short train ride back to their original destination for only $3 each way. “It allows you to take your bike on board the train, and ride one way on the train, and bike back,” said Lynn. Starting in May, Bike Aboard will be offered on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. In June it will begin being offered Wednesday through Sunday afternoons. The train can be easily flagged down by standing on the deck station 10 minutes prior to the train’s arrival schedule. The fee must be paid in exact when you first board.

The Towpath Trail gets you to numerous exciting destinations with just a short ride or walk. Downtown Akron is booming with live music, great food and the arts. The Towpath is a great way to explore the city. “It’s fun for all ages,” said Lynn. Come out and take a ride or stroll along the Towpath Trail to see what the city of Akron has to offer you.

By: Madeline Hartman
DAP Intern

Discovering Downtown: an Intern’s Perspective

The warmer weather is headed our way (hopefully) and high school and college students anticipate receiving their diploma. This can only mean one thing; my days as a Downtown Akron Partnership Public Relations intern are dwindling.

Bre at workI have lived in Downtown Akron since August of 2011 when I became a freshman at The University of Akron. As a student I made sure to take advantage of the city life by attending Akron RubberDucks games (previously Akron Aeros), eating at the beloved Diamond Deli, dancing the night away at various downtown bars and enjoying the sunshine on a stroll through Lock 3. Being a DAP intern for the past five months gave me an exclusive opportunity to explore the many aspects of downtown that I had not previously noticed.

From the monthly Downtown Akron Artwalk to the unique monthly menus at Urban Eats Café, there is always something new to be uncovered in the city. I have discovered that there is no excuse for boredom as a resident of Downtown Akron. Managing DAP’s online event calendar gave me insight into all of the diverse events I can engage in downtown such as Free Thursdays at the Akron Art Museum, glassblowing workshops at Akron GlassWorks, live music at Jilly’s Music Room and free yoga classes at lululemon athletica.

WSL pick upSome of my other responsibilities as part of the DAP family included creating social media promotions via twitter, reaching out to downtown employees to write blogs and oversee the Do Downtown Blog, administering Discover Downtown Akron Passport e-mails and newsletters, conducting press releases regarding events in downtown Akron and promoting our non-profit organization throughout the city. One of my press releases was even published in the West Side Leader newspaper!

These obligations allowed me to participate in preparation for many popular occasions including the University of Akron Housing Fair, Kiss My Akron campaign, 7th Annual Green & Clean Day, 2014 Market at Lock 3 and more. I even attended the State of the County address and was ecstatic to introduce myself to many restaurant and bar owners, members of the Akron RubberDucks and Rubber City Rollergirls and the mayor of Akron himself, Don Plusquellic.

Working alongside other staff members at Downtown Akron Partnership has been an incredible experience. I am saddened to leave the organization but I am looking forward to utilizing my skills and experience in my future in communications; the exploring does not stop here.

Signing out:
Bre Koch, DAP Intern

Distinctly Downtown: Kelli Fetter

Kelli FetterHeadshot(2)The Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) welcomes our newest member, Kelli Fetter, to the team as the director of events. Kelli joined Downtown Akron Partnership  in March of 2014. As the director of events Kelli oversees the outreach efforts of DAP by planning innovative programs that bring community members to the downtown area and gets them involved with what the city has to offer.

Some of these outreach programs include First Night Akron, Akron Artwalk, Akron Art Prize, Green & Clean and many more.  “I have always loved putting on events and this is a much bigger scale than what I was doing before, which is really exciting as a growing professional,” said Kelli.

Kelli has had experience for several years in this area. She worked for the University of Akron as the event coordinator for the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering and as a board member for the Akron Alumnae of Delta Gamma. Kelli earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing management from the University of Akron as well as her master’s degree in higher education.

“I have been in the downtown area for a long time, but I am realizing there is a lot that I was not aware of and connected with before working here at DAP,” said Kelli. Being a student for six years at the University of Akron and then going on to working for the university, Kelli decided it was time to experience a different side of the professional world. “I really like what DAP does and what they stand for,” said Kelli.

When Kelli is not busy working she enjoys cooking, baking and anything creative. She likes that she can incorporate her love for creative activities into the work she does at DAP. Kelli brings a warm smile and positive attitude to the DAP office. The staff of DAP are excited to have her as a part of their team.

By: Madeline Hartman
DAP intern

Distinctly Downtown: Rubber City Rollergirls

Real Women – Pro Akron – Real Athletes

The Rubber City Rollergirls roller derby team has been “jamming” out in Akron for the past seven years. Although the non-profit organization is technically considered amateur, their team is anything but. The Rubber City Rollergirls team is made up of 23 passionate women who share a common enthusiasm for the aggressive sport of roller derby.Image

“Once you get into derby, you’re in it for life” says Rubber City Rollergirl Melissa Longfellow, also known on the team as Mae B. Hazardous. Melissa first fell in love with roller derby when she visited the John S. Knight Center on a cold winter afternoon. After witnessing a defeat against “that state up north” she immediately e-mailed the team in hopes for an audition. She has since been a crucial part of the “big crazy derby family” for five years.

Melissa is an avid fan of the professionalism of the Rubber City Rollergirls. She appreciates that the women of the team are “real professional athletic competitors” despite the outdated belief that roller derbies are simply choreographed performances. Melissa believes that there is a lot more to the sport than girl power and claims “we are real athletes, we really get hurt and we really give derby our all. We are a team that is crazy involved with the city of Akron and crazy involved with our fans.”


As a non-profit organization, the Rubber City Rollergirls frequently dedicate their free time to local philanthropies throughout Akron. The team even hosts their own annual charity event, Skate For Kids, where they raise money to allow underprivileged children in Akron to skate with their families (and the team) for free.

The typical roller derby season in Akron consists of five bouts between January and May. Derbies are family friendly and host anywhere between 800 and 1,000 dedicated fans per bout. The next upcoming bout will be held at the John S. Knight Center on May 10 where fans can also enjoy Oddmall, the “most unusual art, craft, and culture show” in Northeast Ohio. Come explore your new favorite sport! As Mae B. Hazardous says, “one game and you’ll be hooked.”

By: Bre Koch
DAP Intern

Distinctly Downtown: Magically modern Snow White at EJ Thomas Hall

snow whiteWho is the fairest in the land? Neos Dance Theatre and The University of Akron are partnering to present a magically modern version of Snow White and the Magic Mirror: A Grimm Tale on Saturday, April 19.

Featuring live music, dramatic multimedia and inspired costumes, performances of Snow White are at 2 and 8 p.m. at UA’s EJ Thomas Hall, 198 Hill St. Tickets range from $13-$28.  They are available at the door as long as seats remain, and also in advance at 330-972-7570, the Thomas Hall Ticket Office, and www.ticketmaster.com. To provide an intimate viewing experience for the audience, seats will only be sold in the orchestra section of the hall.

Robert Wesner, the artistic director and co-founder of Neos Dance Theatre, choreographed this full-length work for Neos and a cast of 36 students from The University of Akron’s Dance Program and Dance Institute.  Appealing to all ages, the production also features musicians from the UA School of Music and throughout the area.

Stow native and Neos dancer Jennifer Safonovs is Snow White. Ashland resident Brooke Wesner, co-founder of Neos, is the Wicked Stepmother. Ethan Michael Lee of North Canton is dancing the role of the Huntsman and Alec Guthrie of Palo Alto, California, has the role of Snow White’s Love. Neos dancers Erin Buck, Katie Edmonds, Mary-Elizabeth Fenn, Juliana Freude, Theresa Holland, and Anna Trumbo are cast as the Woodland Fairies. The Mirror design and multi-media effects are by Andy Gardner and Lindsay Mulhollen.

Snow White and the Magic Mirror, A Grimm Tale is presented with support from Dominion, Hire Family Foundation, The Findlay Arts Partnership, the UA School of Music’s Kulas Concert Series, UA’s EJ Thomas Hall, and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund for Dance in Summit County, a fund of Akron Community Foundation.

Neos Dance Theatre is a company of young artists who are classically trained in ballet and passionate about new and contemporary dance.  Its mission is to develop and serve audiences in Northern Ohio and become an ambassador of dance for the region and to a global dance community.

The Dance Program at The University of Akron prepares students for performing and teaching careers and graduate studies through traditional technical training imbedded within academic programs leading to B.F.A., B.A. and B.A. Dance Education degrees. The University of Akron is an institutionally accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Dance.

The University of Akron’s Dance Institute is a pre-professional program for children age 7 through high school. Founded in 1967, Dance Institute offers ballet-based training and prepares students for careers in dance performance and dance education, plus introductory dance classes for children ages 3-7 and recreational dance and conditioning classes for adults, teens, and children ages 7-12.

Distinctly Downtown: Spirits of the Civic – A Pirate’s Adventure

Ready to enjoy a fun themed party featuring Rum and Whiskey tastings, with entertainment from the Parrots of the Caribbean – The Ultimate Jimmy Buffet Tribute Band — and “spirits” that will show you a hauntingly good time?

ImageThe Akron Civic Theatre presents a themed Spirits of the Civic – A Pirate’s Adventure. The Civic will be transformed into a tropical paradise during the annual gala, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 12.

The night begins for guests as they enter into the mystical high seas on the Civic’s Mezzanine level, where they will enjoy hearty appetizers and dance the jig while listening to The University of Akron Steel Drum Band. The night continues to unfold with a special rum bar and whiskey tastings. Guests must be careful not to be lured away by the beauty of a mysterious mermaid waiting to captivate susceptible fellows. The scandalous pirate Davey Jones will be there to bedevil and amuse – but don’t cross him and end up in his locker!

Guests then enjoy the music of Mo’ Mojo followed by The Parrots of the Caribbean on stage, all from their private “skybox” view in the balcony. A fun live auction will ensue. Desserts and coffee will round out the night.

Fifth Third Bank returns as this year’s presenting sponsor. Sponsors at the Admirals of the Black level are Akron Civic Theatre Women’s Guild, Hahn Loeser + Parks LLP and Rapid Restoration Response. At the Swashbucklers level are Akron General and Roetzel and Andress; at the Me Hearties level Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations; at the Scallywags level The Berroteran Group and Markham Machine Co. Inc.; and at the Maties level Levin Swedler Crum, Main Street Gourmet, MS Consultants and NEO Administration.

Ticket price is $150. Ticket includes valet parking, off Bowery St. You must be 21 to enter. Tickets are available by calling the Akron Civic Theatre at (330) 535-3179 or online at www.spiritsofthecivic.com.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds benefit the Akron Civic Theatre. 

Guests are encouraged to come dressed for the occasion. Mr. Fun’s Costumes and Magic Emporium is giving a 10% discount on costume rentals or product purchased for this event if mentioned at the time of purchase.

The full Akron Civic Theatre schedule is available at www.akroncivic.com.  Additional events will be added throughout the season.  Tickets and information are available in person at The Civic Box Office or by calling 330.253.2488.

Distinctly Downtown: Akron Glass Works

ImageWith the cold weather seeming to never end, Akron Glass Works invites all to join them for demos, workshops and shopping in their bright and warm studio. The studio makes it easy to forget about the winter blues with the combinations of beautiful handmade glass and live plants. Jack Baker, owner of Akron Glass Works and one of the artists, was inspired by a trip he took with the Akron Art Museum to Seattle. He took glassblowing classes in Kent, but soon decided he needed to open his own studio if he wanted to succeed as a glassblower. In 2006, Jack made the decision to expand his Architectural Greenery space to make room for a glassblowing studio. He combined his two passions into a creative and unique space that has a little something for everyone.

Each weekend the studio offers classes where community members can come and try glass blowing for themselves. Class sizes are limited to five people per class, but there are two sessions per weekend. “A lot of people end up loving the class and come back. They bring their friends back too, which helps the word get out about our studio,” said Sandy Holata, a glass fuse artist at the studio.  In February, the workshops made paperweight hearts to go along with the Valentine’s Day theme of the month. Glass Fusing classes are also offered in the evenings. The days vary between Wednesdays and Fridays depending on scheduling. This past month the glass fusing class had a date night where participants sampled wine and cheese while working on their homemade glass valentines. Future workshops will be making birds for the springtime and flowers for Mother’s Day. Image

The gift shop has a combination of all the glasswork that is created in the studio. The pieces make unique and beautiful gifts for the holidays or any special occasion. “People really appreciate buying unique and locally handmade gifts for the holidays,” said Sandy.

The studio is expanding not in size of space, but in knowledge and local support. This past year there were about 600 community members who participated in the weekend glassblowing workshops and 100 who took part in the glass fusing work shops. There are community members who come into the studio to watch a demo and stay until the piece is complete and then end up wanting to buy it from the artist. “It’s unique when someone can say they watched an art piece being made and then be able to purchase it. It is good for our artists and cool for the buyer to have such an experience,” said Sandy.

ImageThe artists love being in the Northside. They are close to the Akron Art Museum and other galleries as well. They often times see people who are waiting in line at Luigi’s and stop in saying they never knew the studio existed. The artists are also very excited about the opening of Jilly’s Music Room. Now that the studio is open on Saturday evenings again they are hoping the crowd of Jilly’s will bring more people into the studio as well.

Akron Glass Works is a great place to explore any day of the week. Whether you would like to try glass blowing or fusing for yourself or you just want to check out the gift shop, it is not a place to miss. The art will blow you away with its details and time it took to create such unique pieces.

By: Madeline Hartman
DAP intern