'Tis the season of shamrocks, leprechauns and ghosts.
Owners of the Square Scullery, an Akron food truck that has built a loyal following in its four years, are debuting what they say is Akron's first "ghost" restaurant this St. Patrick's Day weekend.
At least it's their spin on a ghost eatery. Typically, a ghost restaurant is delivery-only. Customers order online and never see the place, hence the "ghost" moniker.
Square Scullery owners Matthew and Heather Ulichney will also offer pickup out of the rented space in the back of Wendell L. Willkie American Legion Post 19 at 783 W. Market St., across from Trecaso's Mary Coyle restaurant and Aladdin's Eatery.
"People will be able to find us easier and year-round," Matthew Ulichney said, noting that customers won't have to find their food truck to get a Square Scullery fix.
The food truck — known for such items as deep-fried Brussels sprouts, poutine and macaroni and cheese with thick slab bacon or kimchi — will keep on rolling. The post's kitchen, which the Ulichneys renovated, will now serve as the truck's prep area, as well as the ghost eatery's kitchen.
This weekend's grand opening will run from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and just for those two nights, the post is allowing the Ulichneys to use the hall for guests.
"Think indoor food truck with seating and a cash bar!" the Ulichneys say on their website, akronfoodtruck.com.
The legion will set up a bar in the hall, and the Ulichneys will bring in high-top tables. First-come, first-served. Space will be limited, so while the Ulichneys want you to eat and enjoy, don't dawdle.
Reservations are requested. Go to akronfoodtruck.com for links to Facebook pages were you can RSVP.
The entrance is in the back. Parking also will be limited, so customers will need to find spaces on the street or in a nearby lot, or share a ride.
Beginning Sunday, customers will be able to use the online system for pickup orders, or order in person. There will be no phone orders, and no seating aside from chairs and a vintage-y couch in a waiting area.
Delivery options will be rolled out after this weekend. The plan is to use Uber Eats, Grubhub and Doordash for delivery.
Regular hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed on Sunday (except for this weekend) and Monday.
Enough of the hours and such. What's to eat?
Heather Ulichney, 29, calls the food truck's offerings "indie comfort food" and the ghost eatery will also serve creative eats with international influences. There's a Cubano sandwich with citrus-braised pork, Black Forest ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and house-made pickles served with chips ($12); and Chorizo + Grits, applewood-smoked cheese grits with spicy chorizo sausage, toasted pepitas (pumpkin or other squash seeds) and olive oil ($15).
Deep-fried Brussels sprouts and poutine are on the menu, of course. It has just 15 items to begin with. Matthew anticipates doubling that number in the near future.
The Ulichneys used to live near the parking lot of the American Legion post. At the time, they were paying to use a local church's kitchen and mused about using the post's. A carry-out spot closed there last year, and the rest is ghost history.
Eventually, the couple would like to open a full-service restaurant. The Ulichneys, who still live in Highland Square, "try to be really smart about what we do" and not rush plans, Matthew said.
"It took us a year and a half to pay off the food truck" to get it off the ground, he said.
Heather and Matthew are from the area, and Matt worked at Crave restaurant in downtown Akron. They lived for a while in Tennessee, where Matt worked for a catering operation, then moved back to Akron and launched the food truck.
"We should pay this off in the first two years," he said of the ghost eatery.
The couple made extensive renovations to the kitchen, installing some equipment they bought from a Cleveland restaurant.
"We're trying to help attract people for the legion post, too, get their numbers up," said Matthew, 32. Plans include the legion renting the hall for events, with the Square Scullery serving as caterer.
Wear the green
Sunday is St. Patrick's Day, but the big party will be Saturday at a local Irish club.
Irish Jack's Pub in the St. Brendan Hibernian Hall at 753 N. Main St. in Akron's North Hill neighborhood will open its doors at 10 a.m. with music beginning at 11. Corned beef and cabbage and shepherd's pie will join other Irish dishes on the menu. On Sunday, there will be an Irish Mass at 10 a.m. and Irish dancing at 2 p.m.
Irish Jack's phone is 330-434-1916.
• Rockne’s Pub at 7 Merriman Road, which is normally closed on Sundays, will open at 11 a.m. on St. Patrick's Day to usher in the holiday. It's serving corned beef and cabbage this week. On Thursday, the Callahan & O’Connor Irish Band will play beginning at 8 p.m.
Rockne’s phone is 330-762-7555.
• D’Agnese’s, the Italian restaurant at 566 White Pond Drive in West Akron, will host a multicourse Jameson Dinner at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Irish foods will be paired with different kinds of the whiskey. Executive Chef Joe Gallagher was born in County Mayo, Ireland.
Cost is $70. Reservations are recommended. Call 234-678-3612.
• The Galaxy Restaurant, 201 Park Centre Drive, Wadsworth will host an Irish-themed brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Also, corned beef and cabbage will be on the menu all day, along with other Irish food and green beer. Call 330-334-3663 for more information or go to galaxyrestaurant.com.
Food, wine pairing
Beacon Journal wine columnist Phil Masturzo will host a food and wine pairing event from 6 to 8 p.m. March 22. It will be held in the Beau's on the River Overlook at the Sheraton Suites in Cuyahoga Falls.
The event starts out with a welcome glass of Bonfadini franciacorta, an Italian sparkling wine, and continues to four stations with seven tastings, each paired with a small plate prepared by Beau’s chefs. There will also be a blind tasting station so you can try to "Phil in the blanks."
All wines will be available for purchase.
Cost is $25, $40 for a couple. Room packages are available for an additional $99. Make reservations by calling 330-920-7530.
New Poke Fresh
Poke Fresh at Wallhaven is opening a sister restaurant this spring at the Portage Crossing development off State Road in Cuyahoga Falls.
Poke (pronounced PO-kay) is a Hawaiian dish that's something like deconstructed sushi. Poke (the word is Hawaiian for "to slice" or "to cut") bowls usually feature ahi tuna and salmon. Poke Fresh offers other proteins, including shrimp, chicken and tofu, starting with a base of rice or organic greens and adding toppings such as edamame, cucumber, pickled ginger and avocado.
The new Poke Fresh will open at 2022 Portage Trail in the space previously occupied by Planet Sub, which closed last week.
Poke Fresh's owner Jonathan Gotshall told me he's hoping for a May 1 opening, or earlier if everything goes according to plan.
He'll have a beer license at the new location. On tap will be brews from HiHO Brewing Co. of Cuyahoga Falls.
The Wallhaven Poke Fresh celebrated its first anniversary in January. It is at 46 N. Hawkins Ave., in the West Market Street Station complex anchored by Whole Foods 365. Call 330-860-7870 or see eatpokefresh.com.
• The United Methodist Church of Uniontown will host a Community Cabbage Roll Dinner from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Cost is $11 ($6 for children ages 4 to 12) for two cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes, salad, roll, beverage and homemade dessert. This isn't being billed as a St. Patrick's Day event, but I imagine wearin'-o'-the-green will be embraced.
Patrons can dine in or carry out; a six-pack of cabbage rolls is $15. To get a $1 off each meal, visit the church website at uniontownchurch.wordpress.com and print coupon or show it at the register.
The church is at 13370 Cleveland Ave. NW in Lake Township.
• The spring Cleveland Restaurant Week (actually more than a week) runs Monday through March 30.
Nearly all of the participating restaurants will offer $33 prix fixe menus. They are part of the Cleveland Independents group, which includes restaurants around the region.
Check out menus and make reservations at www.clevelandrestaurantweek.com.
• The Mustard Seed Market & Cafe in Montrose will host a California Dreamin’ wine tasting, featuring 20 wines from that state, from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday. Light appetizers, cheeses and "something sweet" will be included, Bill Krauss, Mustard Seed's wine, beer and cheese category manager, told me.
The Montrose Mustard Seed is at 3885 W. Market St. in Bath.
• Four wines from Frog’s Leap Winery in Napa County, California, will be featured at a five-course dinner at 6:30 p.m. March 22 at Fleming’s, 4000 Medina Road in the Montrose portion of Bath. Cost is $99. Call 330-670-5200 to reserve.
Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook.