Developer Joel Testa is teaming up with Anthony Piscazzi, owner of Akron’s Merchant Tavern, and restaurateur Dave Sharp to take over the Cuyahoga Falls spot that housed The Office.

“We don’t quite know 100 percent what we’re doing” in terms of concept, Testa said, adding that “since the three of us are Italian” the new restaurant will undoubtably have “an Italian influence.”

The Office bar and restaurant at 1846 Front St. closed last week, surprising Testa, who had been talking with the owner about taking over the business. Testa had hoped for a “seamless transition” in which no one would be thrown out of work.

“The timing of the closing of The Office was as much a surprise to us as anybody else,” Testa said in an interview this week. “Our biggest concern was employees not losing paychecks, their jobs.”

The space is on the ground floor of Testa Cos.’ Watermark apartment/condominium building. The Watermark, on the west side of Front Street south of the Sheraton Suites, also houses Craft Beer Bar.

Testa, who is president of Testa Cos., said he’d envisioned having time, while The Office remained open, to figure out a new “concept and brand.”

Sharp is reaching out to Office staff to see if they’d be interested in working at the new restaurant. “Our big concern is the employees,” he said.

The partners have been brainstorming, trying to come up with a niche and a name.

“It might be even that it’s American casual with a Mediterranean flair,” Testa said. In other words, they’re thinking beyond Italian offerings.

This is the second restaurant partnership in which Testa and Sharp are involved. The two also are partners in Byte LLC, along with chef Dante Boccuzzi and Morgan Yagi, who owns Hibachi Japan in Cuyahoga Falls. Byte owns and operates DBA (Dante Boccuzzi Akron) in Testa Cos.’ Northside Lofts in downtown Akron, and the Speakeasy, in the Northside Courtyard by Marriott. Byte also owns Local Brew and the Belle Vie wine bar in the Northside Marketplace in the Northside Lofts.

Whew … got that???

And there’s more. In talking with Testa, I also found out:

• A Clean Eatz is coming to the Falls, on the east side of Front Street in Riverwalk, a residential/retail project being developed by Testa Cos. that includes the Hibachi Japan.

The Falls Clean Eatz is a franchise of the Wilmington, N.C., chain that is part of the growing healthful fast-food category. Clean Eatz specializes in “properly portion-sized” protein bowls, flatbreads and other eats, as well as weekly meal plans (five meals for $38).

It will be the second Clean Eatz for co-owners Jamie Piero and Jackie Rothman. They opened one in Perry Township in Stark County (5139 Tuscarawas St. W.) in 2016.

• Testa is planning to fill some of the remaining retail space in the Riverwalk complex with a coffee shop and a get-one-give-one book library in the space.

Raising Cane’s

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, the Louisiana-based chain, has opened its first Northeast Ohio site in Jackson Township.

Its simple menu offers just chicken fingers, in four meal options and a kids combo. Fans say that by focusing on just one food, the restaurant is able to offer speedy service and chicken that rivals competitors’ offerings.

Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. This is the 24th Raising Cane’s in Ohio and the 368th systemwide.

“We’re excited to expand into Northeast Ohio,” said Eric Ongaro, president of the Ohio franchise group, in a prepared statement.

The restaurant, which opened last week at 5455 Dressler Road NW, is less than a mile away from Kent State University at Stark and Stark State College.

Todd Graves founded the chain in 1996, naming it for his yellow Labrador. It is headquartered in Baton Rouge.

The Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier reported this month that a Raising Cane’s is scheduled to be part of a new business development planned for state Route 59 in Franklin Township, east of Kent. That restaurant is expected to open in the fall, according to the newspaper.

Middlebury Mixer

Akron Honey Co., which sells honey and related products generated from its local apiary, will join other local vendors at the Middlebury Mixer from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Compass Coffee shop in Akron’s Middlebury neighborhood.

Compass Coffee is in the Well Community Development Corp. building, the former First Presbyterian church at 647 E. Market St., east of Summa Health System.

Middlebury Mixer, being billed as a “family friendly event,” will feature DJ Ill Will.

Compass Coffee is affiliated with Well Community Development Corp., which seeks to revitalize the Middlebury area and other Akron neighborhoods. Well was founded by Zac Kohl. His father Doug Kohl, the former longtime CEO of the Akron Area YMCA, is on the board. See www.facebook.com/thewellakron for information.

St. Patrick’s menu

Morsels about St. Patrick’s Day events are coming in.

One of the quirky food things I like about Akron is that D’Agnese’s, the Italian restaurant in West Akron, serves up some serious Irish food for St. Patrick’s Day each year. Co-owner and executive chef Joe Gallagher is from County Mayo, Ireland.

On March 14, D’Agnese’s will offer a four-course meal featuring Gallagher’s signature Irish dishes paired with Irish whiskey. Courses include carrot and parsnip soup, Jameson corned filet mignon with celery root puree, and apple crisp with vanilla oat crisp and Jameson custard. The event will begin at 6 p.m. Cost is $49.99 plus tax and tip.

Also, an Irish menu (along with D’Agnese’s regular menu) will be offered March 10-18.

D’Agnese’s is at 566 White Pond Drive. Call 234-678-3612 to reserve.

Cabbage roll dinner

You can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with cabbage rolls.

The United Methodist Church of Uniontown will host its Community Cabbage Roll Dinner from 4 to 6:30 p.m. March 17.

A dinner of two cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes, salad, roll, beverage and homemade dessert will run $11 for adults and $6 for children ages four through 12. An alternate “child-friendly” meal will be offered. Patrons can dine in or carry out.

Cabbage roll six-packs will be sold for $15. Patrons can bring in freezer containers if they want to stock up.

The church is at 13370 Cleveland Ave. NW, just north of Beiler’s Market and is handicap accessible. For information, call 330-699-3587. The church is offering coupons for $1 off each meal at www.uniontownchurch.com or www.facebook.com/umcuucla.

Baked goods sale

Stock up on Main Street Gourmet cookie dough and baked goods while helping out the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank at the No Muffin Left Behind sale set for 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. March 24.

It’ll be at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank at 350 Opportunity Parkway, near downtown Akron.

The sale — offered twice a year — offers what the company calls “slightly off spec” bakery items for $1.25 a pound.

For more information, go to mainstreetgourmet.com.

Reminders

• Firestone High School’s Soup Fest will run from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday. The annual event, which raises money for the Firestone High School Instrumental Music Association, will feature soups from various establishments.

The fest will be in the cafeteria of the high school, 470 Castle Blvd., in northwest Akron. Patrons get unlimited portions, a dessert and beverage. Tickets, $9 for adults and $5 for children under 10, are available at the door. Bring a mug, or bowls will be available.

• The annual spring brunch hosted by University of Akron students studying hospitality management will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Crystal Room Bistro, 360 Grant St. (Gallucci Hall).

Cost is $22.95; $18.95 for ages 60 or older and UA students, $11.95 for children ages 3 to 12, free for children 3 or younger. Phone 330-972-6615 for reservations.

• Restaurateur Beau Schmidt will host the Showcase of Chefs at 6:30 p.m. March 7 to celebrate the memory of his daughter, Halle Schmidt, who died in a car crash in 2016, and raise scholarships for Copley High School seniors.

The event will feature food from his Beau’s Grille and Beau’s On the River, and other area establishments. It will be at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn at 3180 W. Market St., across from Summit Mall.

Cost is $50 for adults and $25 for students. Tickets are available at 330TIX.com. Call Kim Hurray at 330-835-5983 for information.

• The Maple Sugar Festival at Hale Farm & Village in Bath runs March 10-11 and 17-18. Enjoy a pancake breakfast at the 19th century village/museum in Bath. Crafts and trades will be demonstrated.

Admission for breakfast and activities is $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 3 to 12, $5 for members of Hale Farm. Pancake breakfast only is $5. Breakfast will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hale Farm closes at 4 p.m.

Reservations are not necessary. For more information, call 330-666-3711 or visit www.halefarm.org.

Have a sip or two

• Fishers will host a Perfect Pairing Wine Tasting from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at its store at 8100 Cleveland Ave. NW in Plain Township. Cost is $10.

Wines will be paired with such goodies as Fishers house-made cheese bacon dip, beer cheese soup, teriyaki chicken and brownie.

• Chop & Swizzle, 3700 Massillon Road, Green, will host its first Whiskey Cocktail Dinner, featuring five courses and five cocktails, at 6:30 p.m. Monday. Chop & Swizzle is teaming up with Cleveland Whiskey. Cost is $60, plus tax and tip. Call 330-563-4840 to reserve.

• Papa Joe’s, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road, in the Merriman Valley, will host Rocky Ruggiero for a wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. March 19. Ruggiero, who has appeared on PBS and History Channel television shows, will talk about the Medici family of Italy. Cost is $75. Call 330-923-7999 to reserve.

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com.