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: Urban Eats

058Urban Eats is a pop-art cafe owned by Elizabeth Tyran and Jason Scala, two creative geniuses, who turned their former order counter into a visual, compelling & fun place to eat! Jason and Liz both have a passion for food as well as art. Whether it’s local art, or a masterpiece from home, they acknowledge the beauty in each piece and showcase them in the restaurant. Liz is an UA alumnae while Jason has mastered the art of culinary. When you put their two minds together and you witness the talent this power couple posses, the outcomes are unlimited. They both strive to provide healthy and hearty meals to the people they appreciate most, the people in their community.

Urban Eats is the center of a live, 053 work and play environment. The owners of this cafe appreciate all the walks of life they encounter and the relationships they build while residing in the this community. Since their work and personal home live here; they especially know the importance of community and supporting one another. Liz says, although the occupants of the neighborhood may change over time, the community and the city constantly grows. Outside of their cafe, they support local artist in attending art shows and hosting a children’s “artwalk”.

Along with the fascinating and eye catching wall art, their food is definitely something worth discussing. Referring to the menu, Liz says “they have something for everyone”. What’s so unique and diverse about Urban Eats is the fact that they change their menu each month. Sometimes it’s a new and captivating item or it could be a familiar favorite that you love and crave. In order to balance the variety of meals they offer they have to work together. Liz considered herself the “dreamer’ and referred to Jason as the “doer”. She thinks and creates these thoughtful and balanced recipes while Jason creates magic in the kitchen to bring her ideas to life. They listen and accommodate to their customers to make sure every trip is special.

Creative, exceptional and inspiring are just a few words to describe their establishment. working alongside Musica, which is now open during the week, Urban Eats tries to integrate and encourage originality and creativity. With help051 from their small but mighty staff, Max, who is also multi-talented and artsy, they are able to achieve the motto of live, work and play. Whether you are vising for lunch during the rush, or stopping in after an event at Musica, Urban Eats is a place where art meets food and community is welcomed. You will quickly be inspired by Liz and Jason’s refreshing personalities, their fine food and the original atmosphere, they cherish. Urban Eats is located on East Market and they are open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday thru Friday and during any Musica events. You can always call ahead to order and delivery within downtown is available with a $25 minimum. Catering is also available for businesses and organizations upon request. Visit their website at www.urbaneatsmusica.com.

By: Chantel Burt
DAP intern

Distinctly Downtown: The Stew Pot Kitchen

The Stew Pot Kitchen
23 S. Main St.

Open 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. on weekdays this spring and summer, The Stew Pot Kitchen offers Downtowners sensational soups, delicious lunches and pleasing prices! Owner Scott Malensek made a personal goal when he opened this family-owned business to make it a place where everyone can afford a cup of soup and a drink to brighten up their day. He sees purpose in providing the best prices to everyone in the community.

The Stew Pot Kitchen offers a variety of different soups from subtle but savory flavors to powerful, spicy ones. These homemade soups and stews are full of flavor and taste superior in a bread bowl! The Stew Pot Kitchen also now offers a cup of soup and ½ a panini for only $5, a frequent request from regular customers.

The menu changes weekly, but during the week of April 30 you’ll find:

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Soup, Chicken Soup w pears in a homemade broth with ginger and white Zinfandel, Italian Meatball Sub Sandwiches, Chicken Noodle Soup, Blue Moon Wheat Ale Beer Cheese Soup, Civil Union (wedding) Soup, Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Spicy Beef n Bean Chili, paninis, the $5 soup/panini special, salads and more!

For the weekly menu, check out www.thestewpotkitchen.com.

The Stew Pot Kitchen, which has been open two years, moved to 23 S. Main St. this past fall where many new customers have access to the delicious food. Employees from First Energy say they are glad that business moved closer to them because they love the variety it provides during their lunch break. Malensek’s regular customers take a sense of pride and ownership in the restaurant when they introduce it to their friends. The new location is double the capacity of the old location and has a relaxing back room furnished with black leather seats and handsome woodwork that projects a homey feel. A large quilt hanging in the entrance signals the warm atmosphere you’ll experience while enjoying your steamy soup!

Malensek is sincere in maintaining his objective to provide great food at affordable prices! His vegetable garden, shopping at local farmers markets, and nine years of cooking experience on a budget, help make the food at The Stew Pot Kitchen affordable. The owner’s children (ages 7 and 9) love to learn and help out with the family business and are enthusiastic about making sure that their father’s customers are happy! “They get to see all the elements of the business,” Malensek explained.

At The Stew Pot Kitchen you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth. It’s the perfect place for students, Downtown visitors and employees, offering soups made with real ingredients at a price to fit any budget. Every soup is homemade and tastes like it! “The soups evolve over time which is what makes them so personal,” said Malensek.

Enjoy your favorite classics like chicken noodle or tomato, or try something new! Next time you’re in, be sure to ask about the story behind The Prisoner’s Plight Hot Soup!

Distinctly Downtown: Totally Cooked To Go

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


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!

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.)

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

326 S. Main St

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.