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Issue Date: December 2009

News Bites

Asian Flair
Tremont’s La Tortilla Feliz will turn Asian-American bistro when it reopens as Bác, named after owner Bác Nguyen. The Cleveland native admits he has no formal culinary training — but owning a restaurant does run in his bloodline. He watched his mother and grandmother run popular eateries Min Anh and Chinese Village. “I just saw an opportunity for a concept that Cleveland doesn’t really have yet, which is a multi-ethnic Asian bistro,” Nguyen says. “I’m sort of pulling from some of the traditional things we had at my family’s restaurants and adding some of my own ideas as well.” An opening date has not been set.

A New Shade of Blue
Under new management once again, Boulevard Blue has closed its doors for renovations and conversion into an upscale prime steakhouse, says new owner Said Ouaddaadaa, who also runs Coventry’s Bodega. “I think the area needs it,” he says. “People who live in the area have to drive 20 or 25 minutes to get a decent steak or good seafood.” Purchased in November from chef and owner Kurt Steeber, who bought the restaurant a year ago, Ouaddaadaa is moving in a new direction in the kitchen, hiring chef Michael Herschman, former general manager at Melange. Barring setbacks, Ouaddaadaa hopes to reopen Boulevard Blue (he’s keeping the name for now) by the end of the year.

Hot Dog!
One week was all it took for Eric Williams, Momocho chef and owner, to revamp his newest acquisition, Happy Dog on Gordon Square. He fixed the floors, covered booths with black leather and added 1950s diner-style lights. “I wanted to keep the integrity of the Happy Dog and that cool, corner bar feel,” he says. To complete the makeover, Williams updated the menu to include only one item: $5 gourmet hot dogs. For no added cost, diners can load their quarter-pound, all-beef dog with 50 different toppings, including homemade pineapple sauce and ginger chutney, blue cheese cole slaw or smoked gouda with fried egg. “We’re in there making our own ketchup, and we’re in there making our own remoulades and our own chili,” Williams says.

Easy as ABC
When Randy Kelley and Linda Syrek, owners of West Side Market & Café, reopened ABC Tavern this fall, they kept the name but changed everything else. “We’re trying to do a twist on traditional bar food,” Syrek says. Although there’s no official menu yet, the pair is introducing new eats, such as hummus cucumber club sandwiches, Pabst Blue Ribbon mussels, calamari and a twist on a traditional hot dog called the atomic dog, which is stuffed with jalapeños and wrapped in bacon. But don’t be fooled — the cuisine may sound a little higher-end, but the duo says they’re keeping prices below $7 to maintain the bar’s neighborhood and friendly feel.

Happy Dog, 5801 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, (216) 651-9474
Ohio City Burrito, 1844 W. 25th St., Cleveland, (216) 664-0908

Boulevard Blue, 12718 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland
Maria’s Italian Restaurant, 11822 Detroit Ave., Lakewood

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