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: Life as a DAP Intern

I discovered that the city of Akron is blooming with new restaurants such as Italian Casual Dining Pronto and Mexican cuisine Nuevo, and attracting the community to different events such as Restaurant Week and Wednesday Hump Day. In effort to keep Akron a vibrant and an attractive city, it takes a lot of work, and such a small staff completes it. I had the privilege to intern with the non-profit organization that makes all of the magic happen for Downtown Akron and that is Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP).

My internship experience with DAP was beyond incredible. I discovered that there is not enough time in one day to accomplish the type of activities the team completes on a daily basis. Going into the internship I was not sure what to expect, but I assumed it was going to be a fast paced environment. DAP welcomed me into their office family with open arms and I could not imagine being anywhere else.

Throughout the last couple months I have worked on projects to prepare for First Night Akron. You might have seen me volunteering at Metro Traffic Jam, Akron Art Prize in

IG DAP at Ocasek Fair blog

conjunction with the Downtown Akron Artwalk or working inside of the DAP office. I received the opportunity to learn more about the terrific city of Akron and a chance to meet people in the community. At the community events, I handed out items such as DAP Band-Aids, First Night tattoos, DAP pens and Do Downtown saving cards.

My internship experience gave me the opportunity to dine at the downtown Akron restaurants such as Baxter’s and The Lockview. I enjoyed a tasty gourmet grilled cheese sandwich from The Lockview.
Rosheeda FN artist kits blogI formed long-lasting friendships and I learned a great deal of information at DAP that will prepare me for my future. I learned the importance of proper planning, organization and community involvement I am extremely excited for First Night Akron and I cannot wait to help with the event. I look forward to bringing in the New Year with the Akron community.