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Akron Dish

Rockne's in West Akron turns 30

By Katie Byard Published: March 8, 2017

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Here's the lead item in this week's Wednesday Akron Dish wrap up. To read the complete Akron Dish wrap up go to http://bit.ly/2mkxIAV

 A favorite West Akron haunt, Rockne’s, is turning 30 — a remarkable feat for a locally owned restaurant — and a favorite place to grab an ice cream cone, Pav’s Creamery, is expanding again, this time to North Canton.

First the scoop on Rockne’s birthday. After all, it has survived three decades at 7 Merriman Road in Akron, and is continuing without its longtime owner and patriarch, Chris Hamad, who died in 2016.

“Celebrating 30 years without our dad and mentor will be hard, but what better way to honor him than pushing forward?” said his son Chris Hamad II, who’s the manager. (That's Chris Hamad II in the picture above taken last year by Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer.)

The celebration is being combined with St. Patrick’s Day festivities. This Thursday, the Callahan and O’Connor Irish band will play at 8 p.m. The restaurant will run its $8.99 corned beef and cabbage special from Thursday through St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. You can also get corned beef via the staple Reuben sandwiches.

The late Chris Hamad was hired to help manage the original Rockne’s on Hudson Drive in Cuyahoga Falls. He then bought a bar, Bobb-A-Louie’s, near the University of Akron.

He was asked to become a partner when the owners of the first Rockne’s decided to open a second place at Merriman and West Market Street in the late 1980s.

Eventually, he bought out the other stakeholders and became the location’s sole owner. His Rockne’s, with its old brick building and family feel, became an Akron institution and has long been a hangout of some area politicians.

He died in January 2016, about a year after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His wife, Sandy, continues to work there and his mother, “Grandma Peggy” Hamad, pulls hostess duty five days a week.

Hours for Rockne’s on Merriman are 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday (kitchen hours until 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). The restaurant phone is 330-762-7555

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