James Bell, owner of Three Birds restaurant in Lakewood, has taken over executive chef duties after the departure of chef John Kolar. Bell says Kolar’s move to Ken Stewart’s Grille and Ken Stewart’s Lodge in the Akron area was a mutual decision and “a real good step for him.” Meanwhile, Bell, who had always anticipated returning to the dual role of chef/owner he held as a restaurateur in Wyoming, is excited to get into the kitchen at Three Birds.
boulevard blue has changed its hours of operation. The capitalization-free dining destination and jazz and blues club is now closed on Sundays but open Mondays, reports General Manager Ean Carroll. Many potential customers would call for reservations on Mondays past and be disappointed the restaurant was closed, Carroll says, leading to the switch. Sundays are now available for private bookings, he adds.
Nighttown has debuted new home-style plats du jour for the fall and winter season, including baby back ribs Mondays, Kobe beef stroganoff on Tuesdays, liver and onions Thursdays, Guinness-battered walleye Fridays and veal osso bucco Milanese on Saturdays. Other new offerings at the venerable Cleveland Heights restaurant include striped cheese ravioli, salmon horseradish and Mayo lamb stew.
Rob Stauch, formerly of the shuttered Grille Above the Valley and prior to that at Blue Pointe Grille, has been promoted to executive chef at Bricco in downtown Akron. Stauch calls his cuisine “French bistro style with an Italian flair.”
Haven’t decided yet what wines to feature at your holiday gatherings? Seek inspiration (and relaxation) at Debonné Vineyards, which is planning several holiday wine tastings this month. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served in the cellars of the Madison winery from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, 10 and 17. The cost is $7 a person or $10 including a sample of Grand River Valley ice wine. Call (440) 466-3485.
For fans of Ohio wines looking to get even closer to nature, Holden Arboretum is planning a wine and cheese night hike from 8 to 11 p.m. Dec. 16. Refreshments will be served after a leisurely hike along the arboretum’s wooded trails, with a chance to see owls, bats and other critters that haven’t gone into hibernation. Register at (440) 946-4400.
The annual Brunch with Santa at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will be held Dec. 3, 10 and 17 with seatings at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. each day. After a brunch of eggs, waffles, chicken Marsala, vegetables and fresh fruits, families can meet the jolly old elf himself, take a guided tour of the zoo’s Northern Trek including real reindeer, participate in crafts and animal encounters or warm up at the RainForest. Reservations required; call (216) 635-3391.
Maggiano’s Little Italy, 26300 Cedar Road #1103, Beachwood, (216) 755-3000; Crazy ’Ritas, 14810 Detroit Ave., Lakewood (216) 226-7482
Flo Café, 1213 W. Sixth St., Cleveland; Atria’s Restaurant and Tavern, Legacy Village, 24337 Cedar Road, Lyndhurst; Titanic Ristorante, 15315 Madison Ave., Lakewood