Lisa Abraham

Russ Mazzola has debuted his new concept at 491 E. Waterloo Road, where Ripper Owens Tap House used to be.

The Grille on Waterloo opened Sunday, serving up soups, burgers, sandwiches, wings and plenty of other pub fare, as well as a full bar with 34 draft beers.

Mazzola, of Bath Township, has been in the restaurant business for many years. His family owned several Wally Waffle restaurants, and Mazzola previously owned Parsley Place and Dakota’s Grille.

He has owned the Waterloo building since 1997 and ran a Scorchers franchise there, but had been leasing it since 2002, most recently to Owens. When new lease negotiations with Owens didn’t work out, Mazzola said he felt it was a good time to come back with a restaurant of his own.

“We’re changing it completely. We’re going more restaurant than bar and we’re concentrating on food as our feature item,” he said.

The Grille on Waterloo opens daily at 11 a.m. Closing time is 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Mardi Gras menu at Ido

Steve and Marcy Baker, owners of the Ido Bar and Grill, 1537 S. Main St., Akron, will be celebrating Mardi Gras through Feb. 12, with a special menu of New Orleans favorites, including gumbo, po’ boy sandwiches, catfish, jambalaya, red beans and rice and a whole lot more.

In addition, the Bakers recently hired a new chef at their Kevin O’Bryan’s Irish Pub, 1761 S. Main St., Akron.

Kevin Huntoon, who most recently worked at Firestone Country Club, has been introducing some new items on the menu and also will create Mardi Gras and Lenten specials for the pub.

Chocolate fest is Saturday

The Medina County Red Cross is hosting its 16th annual For the Love of Chocolate Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Medina Performing Arts Center, Medina High School, 851 Weymouth Road, Medina.

There will be items from more than 40 chocolatiers for sampling. Tickets are $12 (10 samples) and $7 (5 samples). Tickets are required for everyone age 5 and older.

Purchase tickets at the Medina County Red Cross, 780 E. Smith Road, Medina or at all Medina County Buehler’s Stores and Discount Drug Marts.

For information, phone 330-723-4565.

Food events at home show

The 2013 Great Big Home & Garden Show runs at the I-X Center in Cleveland Saturday through Feb. 10.

The show will offer plenty of food-related activities, including chef appearances and cooking demonstrations.

Ohio native Chris Crary, a season nine participant on the Bravo television show Top Chef, will offer a demonstration entitled “Kitchen Tips and Tricks to a Healthy Lifestyle” at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Feb. 9. Crary is currently the chef de cuisine for Whist restaurant at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif., and soon will be opening a new restaurant there called 41 Ocean.

Matt Fish, owner of the Cleveland restaurant chain Melt Bar and Grilled, will demonstrate “Classic Comfort Food at its Best” at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Feb. 10 and at 2 p.m. Feb. 9. He will also present a special Happy Hour session at 5 p.m. Feb. 8.

In addition, the show will feature daily cooking demonstrations by local experts.

Tickets are $14 for adults, $10 seniors, $5 children, and free for children ages 5 and younger. For information, visit www.greatbighomeandgarden.com.

Jewish Purim pastry on sale

The Women's Chavurah Sisterhood at Anshe Sfard Synagogue will be hosting its annual hamantashen sale in time for Purim.

The kosher pastries are homemade by Wendy Macher, and sell for $12 a dozen. The small triangle-shaped pastries are available in prune, apricot, raspberry, poppy seed, chocolate or assorted.

Prepaid orders must be placed by Feb. 13, and can be picked up at Anshe Sfard, 646 N. Revere Road, Bath Township, from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 17.

Mail orders and payment made out to Women’s Chavurah to Hamantashen c/o Sylvia Levinson, 1689 Brookwood Drive, Akron, OH 44313. For more information, phone Levinson at 330-867-3770.

Proceeds benefit the Women’s Chavurah Sisterhood community programs.

Hower House Valentine tea

Tea & Thyme and the University of Akron's Hower House will be hosting “Romantic Notions,” a Victorian Valentine's tea and program from 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 10 at Hower House, 60 Fir Hill, Akron.

Hower House will be celebrating a grand reopening with an expanded antique valentine exhibit.

The menu includes soup, salad, tea sandwiches, scones, tea breads, desserts and tea. The program will be presented by Sue Marocchino.

Prepaid reservations are required by Friday. The tea is $28 for adults, $18 for children ages 8 to 12. Call the Hower House at 330-972-6909 for information or to reserve.

Madigral dinner in Hudson

The Fine and Performing Arts Department of Western Reserve Academy in Hudson will present its Annual Madrigal Feaste on Feb. 15 and 16.

The event, which begins at 6:15 p.m. both nights, is held in the McCuskey Manor Ellsworth Dining Hall, and includes a Renaissance meal, music and entertainment.

Tickets are $45 and must be purchased in advance. For reservations, visit www.wra.net/madrigal-feaste-2013.

Proceeds benefit the school's music travel fund.

Free pancakes at IHOP

On Tuesday, National Pancake Day, area IHOP restaurants once again will offer customers a free short stack of pancakes in exchange for a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The giveaway is from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Locally, there are IHOP locations in Springfield Township, Jackson Township and Massillon. For information, visit www.ihoppancakeday.com .

Lisa Abraham can be reached at 330-996-3737 or at labraham@thebeaconjournal.com. Find me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @akronfoodie or visit my blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/lisa.