Distinctly Downtown: The Lockview

The Lockview – The Past, Present and Future

All throughout my college years thus far, one of my favorite weekend hangouts has always been The Lockview. There’s something about the relaxed and somewhat indie atmosphere that has always made for an enjoyable time and fits in seamlessly with the creative Downtown Akron vibe. I had the pleasure of sitting down with the owner, Danny Basone this week. We spoke of the past, present, and future of this Main Street treasure.

If we begin with the past, we would be referring not to The Lockview, but to a concert venue called Lime Spider. Before The Lockview was born, Basone opened this place in 2001 that has the bragging rights of being the venue of one of The Black Keys‘ first shows. A musician himself, Basone brought in any musical artist who wanted to play a show and also helped with the sound engineering. Unfortunately, the music scene in Akron just wasn’t giving enough business to the venue and Basone made the tough decision to close Lime Spider in 2008 and was forced to put use to his creative mind to rescue his place.

“As a business owner, you don’t want to walk away from a space. I’m going to make this work,” he told me. And he sure did. So he repainted, redesigned, and re-birthed this space that was to become The Lockview.

When brainstorming new ideas for the space, Basone thought of one of his friends who participated in grilled cheese competitions. This friend helped him build the grilled cheese menu that Basone’s customers enjoy today. He wanted a menu that was simple and kept people coming back.

As another rock to building this business, Basone’s family has always been a core support. His brothers and sister have helped him tremendously along the way, from being the restaurant’s food buyer to being day managers.

View of the Lockview from Main Street

When asked about thoughts of expanding outside of Akron, it’s definitely a thought but nothing is in the progress at the moment. He has considered the Cleveland area, but it remains an idea that will come to fruition when the time is right. Presently, Basone has his hands full with his latest project, taking place in the neighboring space to the right of The Lockview.

This new project is called El Gato Tacqueria. Formerly Hattie’s Cafe, this is something that will be very unique to Downtown Akron in the sense of it being a street taco type of place. El Gato will be a small restaurant, seating about 35 people and will offer quick service. It will have an eight item menu serving tacos, burritos, and salads, with vegetarian options as well. As far as drinks, it will serve beer and soda. El Gato is expected to open sometime this fall, with no concrete date set.

As a supporter of the arts, Basone will also bring in works from local artists to display in El Gato as he already does in the Lockview. Basone has always been a supporter of the arts and is proud to continue to give a place where artists can show their work. Recently, Akron has become a city that has allowed artists to express themselves more frequently, thanks to local business owners like Basone, and the rise of public art spaces such as the Summit Artspace and Ro3.

After hearing all that he had to say, I can tell that Basone is a practical and laid back sort of person that Akron should be proud to have raised. He says, “I’m also giving to the community in the sense that I am hiring people… There’s something cool about that.” Danny has definitely done his part to contribute to the city of Akron through his creative mind and optimistic spirit, and I for one cannot wait to see what new projects he will have in store for the future.

By: Audrey Fliegel, Downtown Akron Partnership Intern

Distinctly Downtown: Damascus Road Coffee

Damascus Road Coffee
106 S. Main St.
Hours: Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

www.damascusroadcoffee.com

For three years, Rob and Deb Stertz have served fresh roasted coffee, food and friendly service to Downtown Akron. Damascus Road Coffee provides a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere that many corporate employees enjoy during their breaks. All coffee is custom roasted, using only the finest quality coffee beans in their roasting process. Accessed both from the Arcade Level and Mill Street in the FirstMerit Tower in

Stop in for a variety of hot and cold drinks or a roasted coffee drink of your choice, and pair it with a sandwich or soup. All of the Damascus sandwiches are hearty and made to order to suit your favorite flavors. Try a Turkey Pastrami or an Angus Roast Beef with your choice of cheese, bread and condiments.  Damascus offers daily fresh baked cookies and brownies, as well as fruit cups of assorted fresh produce.  Specialty drinks include hot chocolate, chai tea latte, steamers and mocha. With over 10 a la carte flavors, Damascus provides plenty of variety to choose from.

Don’t be discouraged if you see a line already formed as you walk in, it’s just other regulars, ready to pick up their favorite items.  A woman who works in the Cascade building said that she is a frequent customer and always gets the egg salad. “It’s always fresh,” she explained. “It’s the best egg salad I’ve had other than my own!” An employee from FirstMerit declared that the cinnamon muffins were his favorite item, and said, “Damascus Road Coffee is always a friendly atmosphere.”

Damascus Road Coffee by the pound and tea by the stash is now available for purchase. Enjoy a premium tea like Fusion Green and White Tea or English Breakfast Black Tea at home. Coffees by the pound include the Ethiopian, bold in intensity with a sweet aftertaste, Organic Colombian, a smooth coffee with creamy chocolate tones, Breakfast Blend, a mild coffee with blends of chocolate and mild citrus, and many others!

Owners Rob and Deb intentionally pursue friendly relationships with their customers and know the majority of them by name. From noticing a new outfit, to asking how a project is coming along, the customers have an established relationship and seem happy to be there and catch up. A FirstMerit employee remarked that he comes in for “A dark roast coffee and good conversation.”

Distinctly Downtown: Totally Cooked To Go

Totally Cooked To Go
388 S. Main St. #202

http://totallycooked.publishpath.com

Located in the second floor atrium lobby of the AES building, Totally Cooked To Go is the latest hot spot to grab a tasty breakfast or lunch during your busy day! Totally Cooked To Go is easily accessible for employees on the south side of Downtown, but a guest parking lot at the AES building makes it accessible for everyone.

Totally Cooked To Go provides seasonally influenced menus and daily/weekly specials, ranging from healthy salads and sushi, to weekly specials such as pizza and mac and cheese! The variety includes:

  • A delicious assortment of hot and cold breakfast items
  • Handcrafted sandwiches made-to-order
  • A wide selection of fresh salads and wraps
  • Hearty homemade soups
  • Hot signature sandwiches, including four different Reubens
  • Features from the Totally Cooked BBQ Co.
  • An array of Totally Cooked side dishes
  • House made kettle cooked potato chips
  • Mouthwatering desserts

As you sit and enjoy your meal at one the tables dispersed throughout the lobby, take a moment to admire the AES building, once owned by the BF Goodrich tire company. Reclaimed by the City of Akron in the 1990s, the AES building is now known for revitalized office spaces, and serves as the new home of Totally Cooked To Go!

The chef-inspired creative cuisine at Totally Cooked To Go will have you coming back to try something new each time! Open Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

This spring, Totally Cooked To Go will venture outside with the mobile Totally Cooked BBQ Co. Chuck Wagon, allowing Downtown diners to experience live action cooking and the taste of authentic, hickory smoked barbecue. Starting in May, Friday celebrations will take place from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. under the Cedar Ave. bridge, on the AES Campus next to the Towpath trail. The celebrations will feature interactive BBQ cooking with live blues, support from 91.3 The Summit, and picnic style seating.

Join the Totally Cooked To Go email list and receive weekly menus and specials, including $5 lunch specials every Wednesday!

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Downtown Akron…Twice!

Parade and Festivities
Saturday, March 10, Noon

Bands, floats, drill teams and color guards, mascots, Irish dancers, horses and clowns! John Deere farm tractors, bicycles, Ohio Infantry Civil War Reenactors, girl scouts, the Akron Zoo and Buckeye Corvettes; this is just a fraction of what you will experience on Saturday, March 10 in Downtown Akron!

Get a head start on St. Patrick’s Day this Saturday with the 31st annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade that steps off at noon. The parade, which is organized by the Mark Heffernan Division and the Margaret Judge Ladies Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, will make its way down Main Street from Spaghetti Warehouse to Bowery Street. More than 100 units are expected to participate this year. Don’t miss Summit County’s Bicentennial Bell, weighing a staggering 250 pounds! After the parade, continue your festivities by visiting Downtown businesses serving “green” specials in the spirit of the holiday.

March 10 Specials:

Jimmy’s– Open at 9 a.m. and will serving green beer and Irish Style Coffee. Visit Jimmy’s after the parade to see Macconmara Academy of Irish Dance.

Brubaker’s– Open at 10 a.m.
Serving Specials with Coors Light: $3 Pints and $8 Pitchers
$5.50 Guinness
$4 Miller Lite Green Aluminum Pints

Paolo’s– Bloody Mary Bar
$5 20 oz. Imperial Pints
$4 Irish Car Bombs

3 Point
$ 3 Guinness
$4 Jameson

St. Patrick’s Day Festivities
Saturday, March 17

Downtown Akron’s second St. Patrick’s Day celebration happens on the actual holiday with specials throughout Downtown all day long!

Check out the festivities at Barley House where the street will be closed to accommodate heated outdoor tents with two beer trucks to kick start the festivities. Enjoy “Kegs and Eggs” from 6-11 a.m. with a $9.99 buffet breakfast including green eggs and green beer!

March 17 Specials:

The Lockview– Enjoy traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage paired with a large selection of Irish whiskeys and beer!

Brubaker’s– Tapping green beer at midnight starting March 17 and re-opening at 5:30 a.m.! Serving Specials with Coors Light: $3 Pints and $8 Pitchers
$5.50 Guinness
$4 Miller Lite Green Aluminum Pints

Wing Warehouse– Drink specials all day!
Serving “Kegs and Eggs” until 1 a.m.
Monster RC Car Charity Raffle

Paolo’s– Open at 9 a.m.
Bloody Mary Bar
$5 20 oz. Imperial Pints
$4 Irish Car Bombs

3 Point
$3 Guinness
$4 Jameson

Primo’s Deli and Club– Happy Hour Specials between 4-7 p.m.
$5 Pizzas
Special on corned beef reuben sandwiches!

Distinctly Downtown: Hattie’s Cafe & Gifts

Hattie’s Café & Gifts
60 S. High St. (Hattie’s Library Café is located on the Akron-Summit County Public Library first floor. Visitors can enter the café through the library gift shop or from High Street.)
www.hattiescafe.org

Located on the Main St. Level of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, Hattie’s Café & Gifts is easily accessible to library patrons as well as the general public Downtown.

Stop by Monday-Friday, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., to grab a quick, convenient and healthy lunch. Hattie’s offers a variety of health conscious, delicious options including hot soups, hummus and pita, fresh fruit, self serve salads and more!

Hattie’s demonstrates community consciousness by serving only fair trade coffee. Stop by for a cup of house blend coffee or splurge on a latte, cappuccino, espresso, mocha, americano or red eye (coffee mixed with espresso).

Need a mid-day pick-me-up that won’t haunt your conscience? How about a guilt-free smoothie? Many of Hattie’s smoothies are made with low fat products and can be made with soy milk at no extra charge. A few of the countless flavors to choose from are Blueberry Bomb made with green tea ice cream, blueberries and vanilla yogurt, or Citrus Twist made with raspberries, lime sherbet and lemon juice – yum!

Pair your health conscious beverage with a great sandwich or wrap. The menu changes each week, but you might find selections such as The Courthouse or The Library. The Courthouse is made on a wheat wrap with cherries, almonds, chicken strips, dried cranberries, parmesan cheese, almond slivers, lettuce and a sweet fruity dressing. In honor of the location of the café try The Library, a chicken fajita roll-up made with grilled chicken strips, grilled veggies, ranch salsa and cheddar cheese.

Hattie’s recently remodeled and added a brand new salad bar stocked with community conscious organic and locally-sourced vegetables and herbs that have been grown at Hattie’s very own garden and other local vendors! Grab a to-go container to create your perfect salad. If you’re still hungry, add a bowl of hot soup to your order.

Hattie’s Garden is a vocational training program for adults with developmental disabilities, located at Crown Point Ecology Center in Bath, Ohio. The garden grows organic produce year-round. According to a 2005 study by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, spinach can lose up to half its nutritional value just getting to your plate because it travels an average of 2,086 miles from farm to table in the U.S. The distance from Hattie’s Café and Hattie’s Garden is only 11 miles, ensuring a higher quality and concentration of the nutrients your body needs to lose weight and stay healthy!

Hattie’s provides both goods and services that connect us to our community in a meaningful way. Hattie’s Café & Gifts is a group of coffee and sandwich shops owned and operated by Hattie Larlham. Each café provides vocational training and employment to people with developmental disabilities. All proceeds benefit Hattie Larlham, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating opportunities and improving the lives of more than 1,500 children and adults with developmental disabilities in Northeast Ohio.

Distinctly Downtown: Cilantro

Cilantro
326 S. Main St
www.cilantrothai.com

Cilantro, located near the intersection of Main and Exchange, is recognized for its interesting menu, quality service and eclectic atmosphere. You’re likely to see Charlie Somtrakool, the energetic owner, greeting guests and managing the restaurant, dedicated to ensuring a wonderful experience for all.

When you enter you’ll notice the unique décor including Jigsaw Lights imported from Thailand, orchids that represent the origin of the authentic food that is served, and a wine cellar wall that gives the dining room a big city feel.

Cilantro’s menu features specialties from Thai and Japanese cuisines with a variety of exotic spices. A few popular selections include:

Panang Salmon

Fresh Grilled Salmon topped with Panang curry sauce, garnished with kaffir lime leaves and steamed asparagus.

Cilantro Special Sushi Role

Spicy tuna topped with tuna and crunchy flake and special sauce.

Chicken Teriyaki

Strips of chicken breast and vegetables dipped in tempura batter and fried. Served with tempura sauce on the side.

Spicy Fried Noodles: Pad Khlee Mao

These white rice noodles take their delectable flavor and aroma from fresh basil, along with egg, onion, and red & green peppers.

Crab Rangoon

Fresh wonton wrappers surrounding crab, cream cheese, onions and scallions. Fried and served with sweet and sour sauce.

The lunch menu provides generous portions and prices ranging from $7.50 to $15. Dinner prices range from $10.95 to $20. Lunch delivery is available in Downtown Akron with a minimum $15 order.

Enjoy the variety Cilantro offers with Vegetarian Flavors, Thai Noodles, Fried Rice, Stir Fry, Curry and The Cilantro House Specials. For an authentic sushi experience, take a seat at the Sushi Bar and watch the chef create your delicious meal!

Stop in for a drink at the end of your work day at Cilantro’s bar and enjoy a half price martini between 5-7 p.m., Monday – Friday! The bar also has a selection of beer, wine and flavored ice teas. Find a seat at one of the cheetah accented stools and admire the eagle emblem that is a throwback to the bank that once filled this repurposed storefront.

With a spacious dining room and banquet room that allow for business meetings as well as celebratory events, Cilantro is the perfect pick for exceptional dining on any occasion.

Downtown Akron is for Lovers

Looking for something special to do with your Valentine tomorrow night or still need to pick out a unique gift? Check out a few of the options available in Downtown Akron!

Dining Specials:

3 Point
www.3pointrestaurant.com

This Valentine’s Day, enjoy a 14 oz. Prime Rib for $25.99 and a bottle of House Chardonnay or Cabernet for only $10 (while supplies last)!

Cilantro
www.cilantrothai.com

Diners at Cilantro will enjoy a $40 Dinner for Two with the option to purchase any wine at 50% off. Live music will be performed by the Calvin & Hopp Jazz Project from 6-8 p.m.

Check out one of the many fabulous spots in Downtown Akron to have dinner with your Valentine: www.downtownakron.com/enjoy/dining/dinner

House of Hunan
www.houseofhunan.net

Valentine’s Day diners will enjoy dinner for two for $49.95! Each person gets a glass of wine or saki, an appetizer, choice of soup, salad or spicy crab salad, an entree and a dessert!

Unique Gift Options:

Akron Aeros Valentine’s Day Ticket Package
www.akronaeros.com

Looking for the perfect gift for the sports fan in your life? The Akron Aeros are offering a special ticket package complete with four tickets to Opening Night (April 12), a 10 ticket flex pack, an Aeros travel mug filled with candy, and the choice of a his or hers Aeros hat (pink or blue). This package, a $145 value, is only $95! Contact the Aeros at 330-253-5151 to place your order.

Akron Glass Works
www.akronglassworks.com

Give your sweetie something special for Valentine’s Day! Akron Glass Works has a great variety of hand made gifts such as blown glass, stained glass, jewelry, photography and more! There are also still a few spots left in the hands-on Heart Paperweight workshop on Sunday, February 19…a great date idea!

If sending flowers is more your style, you can order from Downtown businesses Akron CitiCenter Florist, Klaus Wildflower or Neil Lesson Floral!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Four Years of Grilled Cheese in Downtown Akron: The Most Appetizing Excuse for a Two-Night Party

Nov. 19: The Lockview hosts its fourth-anniversary fall formal.

Nov. 20: Northern soul band Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites pump up ’60s dance tunes.

This town’s favorite hangout for grilled cheese sandwiches and microbrews is turning up the class and music this weekend in celebration of its fourth year in business.

Everyone is welcome at The Lockview’s annual fall formal, Saturday, Nov. 19, as long as they’re dressed in their evening best. The event begins at 4 p.m., when doors open for dinner.

To mark the occasion, The Lockview will tap a Founders Brewing Co. specialty keg – the 10.2 ABV “Backwoods Bastard,” a bourbon barrel aged ale – likely the only keg of its kind in town. Also, a photographer will be on hand to capture the night’s opulence with free prom-style photographs.

Extending the anniversary party into Sunday, Nov. 20, The Lockview presents Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites, a kinetic Northern soul band that covers the likes of Otis Redding and James Brown, but dishes out a few highly danceable originals, too.

The Lockview opens at 5 p.m. on Sunday, and the dinner options will include – what else? – soul food. The two-set show starts at 8:30 p.m., and it’s free for anyone who drops by, but it’s freeing for anyone who dances.

Revelers  may indulge any of The Lockview’s more than 160 microbrew beers, including some of our newest seasonal additions: Christmas ales from the Breckenridge, Thirsty Dog and Troegs breweries.

And when hunger replaces thirst, The Lockview has 13 gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, along with burgers, chicken sandwiches, a vegetarian pita, salads and more.

The Lockview opened its doors four years ago, on Nov. 19, 2007, in a renovated space formerly occupied by Mr. Bilbo’s and then The Lime Spider. Since then, the restaurant has gone from quiet to riot, as patrons fawn over the grilled cheese sandwiches and beer selection, the occasional live band, a relaxed atmosphere and seasonal rooftop patio.

Grand Opening of The Creperie on Friday, May 20

This morning I had the pleasure of getting a sneak preview of Downtown Akron’s newest breakfast eatery, The Creperie, with a few of the DAP staff members. The restaurant officially opens its doors to the public tomorrow, Friday, May 20.

The Creperie will be open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and is located at Greystone Hall, 76 E. Mill Street in Downtown Akron.

The Creperie offers a variety of tasty crepes to choose from. If you’re craving something sweet there are choices such as Strawberry & Nutella® and Baked Apple. If you’re craving something more savory, you can choose from Mushroom & Spinach, the Grecian or Ham & Gouda, just to name a few!

I decided to go with the Grecian crepe, which includes fresh spinach, roasted tomatoes, scrambled eggs and feta cheese. As soon as I took my first bite I fell in love. My coworkers ordered the 3 Cheese & Raspberry and the Raspberry & Peach crepes, which I also got to sample and would highly recommend.

If crepes aren’t really your thing, The Creperie also offers a variety of breakfast sandwiches, fresh fruit, yogurt parfaits, coffee and juice.

Overall, I had an enjoyable experience at The Creperie. The food was delicious and the staff was helpful. Next time you’re looking to grab breakfast on the go or step out of the office for a morning meeting, I recommend you try The Creperie!

For more information and full menu, visit http://www.downtownakron.com/go/the-creperie.

Katelyn Gainer, Intern

Meeting the Creative Minds Behind Urban Eats

One of my assignments as an intern at DAP is to interview some local business owners and craft stories for the DAP website.  This task gave me the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Liz Tyran and Jason Scala, a couple who lives in Downtown Akron and owns Urban Eats, the gourmet concession counter inside Musica.  I won’t lie, I was pretty nervous because this was the first professional interview that I’ve ever done.  I’ve interviewed plenty of people before for school projects, especially in my journalism courses, but I’ve never had to interview people for something work-related.

When I walked in to interview the couple at Mocha Maiden where Liz runs the coffee shop and Urban Eats during the day, I had all of my questions prepared, but felt anxious.  However, I was very surprised at my abilities.  I was calm, conversational and immediately felt comfortable.  Liz and Jason are extremely kind people with great senses of humor.  They answered every question with thought and enthusiasm. 

Liz offered me some of Jason’s Jalapeno Popper Soup, which was amazing!  She said it was a little spicier than normal, but I like spicy things.  Last week my coworker Kimberly Beckett ordered lunch from Urban Eats and I helped her pick the French toast ham and cheese panini with a side of maple syrup.  I tried a bite and it was delicious!  I highly recommend stopping in for lunch to try out their dishes soon!  Each month the menu changes, so some of these items might not be available, however February’s menu features the most popular dishes from the last year.  I have no doubt that every item on the menu is unique and appetizing!

I have whipped up the first rough draft for my story on Urban Eats and am currently editing, adding some finishing touches and putting in a little more information that Liz has e-mailed me.  Look for the story to be up on the main page of DAP’s website at www.downtownakron.com soon!

Cliff Moore, DAP Intern