Portage Lakes folks have long lamented the lack of restaurants on the water.

Now, not one, but two new waterfront spots are opening — including the Ramp Restaurant at Sandy Beach Marina in Green.

It has the distinction of being the first new-construction restaurant in the Portage Lakes in years, co-owner Jim Genovese says. He and his wife, Zana, who have owned the marina for 35 years, hope to open sometime in July.

Passersby on South Main Street have been watching the building — concrete block covered in gray brick and with a blue metal roof — go up on the marina land overlooking Cottage Grove Lake.

“This will be all windows” overlooking the water, said Jim Genovese as he stood on the concrete, 190-foot long deck near the water’s edge, sweeping his hand in front of the lake side of the building.

Inside, the ceiling is 35 feet high.

“When you walk in, it gives you that wow factor,” Genovese said.

He hopes patrons also will ogle the six-person booth that will be made out of an old wooden Chris-Craft boat that also has lots of wood in its interior. They’ll keep the black seats, made from alligator skin, turning them into booth seats.

Antique engine motors and other boat-related items will decorate the dining room and adjacent bar area, “to give the place a Portage Lakes feel,” said Genovese, who grew up in the area, and whose first job was as a lifeguard at Sandy Beach.

“That way we can rid of all the junk we’ve got in our attic,” Zana Genovese mused.

Patrons won’t be able to see one big amenity, but they’ll feel it during colder weather: radiant floor heating.

“You can have the best food in town,” Genovese said, “but if people aren’t comfortable in here, they’re not going to come back.”

They will see the large overhead fan system, with palm-leaf blades. Genovese says if these don’t circulate enough air, he’ll fashion blades from paddles.

Booths with red vinyl seats and black-and-gray backs will line the walls of the dining room, with tables filling the rest of the floor on one side of the 6,400-square-foot space.

The other side will house the bar and the kitchen, which includes a walled-off dishwashing area. Granite tops the long bar, with a base covered in textured shiny metal.

Walls in the main-food preparation area are being finished with polished stainless-steel walls. In addition to being easy to clean, they’re sound-absorbent, Jim Genovese said. The building is constructed with fire-proof redwood and drywall.

“We’re just trying to build a facility that’s really nice for our lakes area,” Genovese said, calling the cost of the project “more than we anticipated.”

So what’s a couple with no hospitality experience doing opening an eatery?

“We must have lost our minds,” Zana Genovese deadpans.

Jim Genovese hasn’t operated a restaurant before, but he has some restaurant lineage.

His great uncle Ernie Genovese owned Art’s Place in Akron, one of the city’s most popular restaurants. It was at Waterloo Road and South Main Street, where a Sheetz gas station now stands. Ernie Genovese died in 1999.

As they prepared, they quizzed people they knew in the food business, including a friend who owns the Desert Inn in Canton.

Genovese, who was a machine repairman at Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in the 1960s and early 1970s, hired all union laborers to do the construction work. An illuminated Firestone sign from a tire store will be part of the decor.

The couple hired manager Holly Russell, who was at Prime 93 (now Bricco Prime) in nearby New Franklin, and earlier owned a sports bar in Barberton. She’s been busy hiring cooks and servers.

The Genoveses are reluctant to reveal too much about the menu right now.

Another waterfront eatery, Pick’s at PLX, will beat them to the punch: Pick’s plans to open Wednesday. Donnie Boyer, former owner of Legends Sports Pub and Grille, owns this bar and restaurant in the sprawling property at 530 Portage Lakes Drive on West Reservoir that was Nicoletti’s Park Place and Hook, Line and Drinkers.

But the Genoveses say they want a cozy place offering better-than-average bar food. There won’t be any live music; Jim Genovese says he wants a calm atmosphere.

They do plan to serve Art’s signature bean soup with cornbread, and its salad with bacon, a load of cheese, and sweet and sour dressing.

Ice cream at Waterloo

I was driving down Waterloo Road in Akron’s Firestone Park neighborhood the other day and spotted something curious: A temporary sign reading “W Creamery” on the side of Waterloo Restaurant & Catering.

I stopped for a scoop of ice cream and got the scoop.

Owner John Bahas II has turned a room on the east side of the building into an ice-cream stand. It opened about two weeks ago in what was once a drive-up window for the old Waterloo, preceding the sit-down restaurant. Shiny metal now lines the top of the exterior wall, drawing the eye.

Bahas’ parents, John and Kathy Bahas, took over the property in 1957 and began fashioning it into the family restaurant it is today. Pies were an early specialty and it has its own bakery.

W Creamery is being operated this summer by Bahas II’s sons, John, 22, and Alex, 20, and their friend Michael Mayle, 19.

Dyana Winkler, who works in accounts receivable at nearby Myers Industries Inc. in Akron, also discovered the place while driving by. Monday afternoon, she got a strawberry ice cream cone, saying it made a good lunch.

The sweet treats come from Ashby’s Sterling Ice Cream of Michigan, which has been making ice cream for restaurants since 1984. The company touts its 14 percent butterfat ice cream.

I can attest to the yumminess of the chocolate flavor. Rich and not too sweet.

New Medina spot

The 17 Public Square Restaurant and Bar, in the former Main Street Cafe, held a grand opening Friday on the Medina Square.

It quietly opened earlier this month, with a small but creative menu including steak frites ($34), a 12-ounce Ohio strip steak with compound butter and fresh cut garlic rosemary fries, and pork schnitzel ($16), panko breaded pork cutlet topped with apple compote and served with house mac and cheese.

There’s one non-meat entree, a Peruvian red quinoa pilaf with gold flaxseed, black beans and mushrooms served with seasonal veggies. Sandwiches include All Ohio Beef Burgers ($13).

Ingredients are being purchased from companies who tout natural foods, including chicken from Bell & Evans of Pennsylvania and pork from Beeler’s of Iowa. Food also is being sourced from Ohio and local purveyors, including Valley City Fungi (love that name) and Berlin Natural Bakery.

17 Public Square (the building’s address), is co-owned by Ryan Rose, CEO and president of Romeo’s Pizza, and his wife, Mia, whose father was the owner of the Main Street Cafe; it closed earlier this year after more than three decades.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.

Phone is 330-952-2330.

Eat, drink in Kent

Kent’s downtown will be dotted with tents for local artists, and Ohio wineries will set up for Main Street Kent’s Art & Wine Festival from noon to 10 p.m. June 2.

A stage will feature local musicians and trucks will offer street food. Entry is free; it’s $20 for a glass and 10 taste tickets.

Kent will also host its first Restaurant Week June 3-9. Each participating restaurant will have a special “prix fixe” offering — a three-course meal for one set price during the week. Prices will vary by restaurant.

Participating restaurants are: 157 Lounge, Belleria Italian Restaurant, Burnside Barbecue, Erie Street Kitchen, Franklin Hotel Bar, Laziza, Mr. Zub’s, Nineteen 10, Ray’s Place, Tree City Coffee, Treno Ristorante, and Twisted Meltz.

Diners will be randomly selected to receive prizes including $25 restaurant gift cards and items from Great Lakes Brewing Company.

For more information on either event, go to http://www.mainstreetkent.org or call 330-677-8000.

WVIZ wine weekend

WVIZ Grand Tastings and Seminars are returning to Ideastream in downtown Cleveland June 1-2.

Jacques Pepin, French chef, author and winner of the James Beard Award, will do a demonstration on June 2 and appear at a VIP dinner that evening.

Proceeds support public television station WVIZ/PBS and public radio stations WCPN (90.3-FM) and WCLV (104.9-FM). The Ideastream facility is at 1375 Euclid Ave.

Tasting sessions from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday are $75. For tickets and prices of other activities, go to the Ideastream Grand Tastings and Seminar Facebook page.

Small bites

• CoreLife Eatery opens adjacent to the new City Barbeque in Fairlawn on Thursday at 2858 W. Market St..

• The Akron Child Guidance weekly food truck event begins Wednesday in its parking lot at North Forge and East Market streets. A Twist of Leona, Flamingo Jack’s, Manna and Nom Nom Popcorn Company.

Food Truck Wednesdays will run 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to Sept. 5. Check the Akron Food Truck Wednesday Facebook page for updates.

Wine and gold

The television will remain — for the time being.

Susan Mozingo, owner of Regency wine bar and shop in Fairlawn, sent an e-mail to customers last week that said, “Well folks … I’ve succumbed. I bought a TV. Not to worry though, it will magically disappear after the playoffs.”

The Cavs will play the Celtics at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in Boston and 8:30 p.m. Friday in Cleveland. If the series goes to game seven, it will be at 8:30 p.m. Sunday in Boston.

“I’ve been going back and forth for a couple of years on the TV thing,” Mozingo said in an e-mail to me. “It’s just not what Regency is about,” she said. But she knows some customers will stay away if they can’t watch while they sip.

Regency is at 115 Ghent Road, across from Summit Mall. Phone is 330-836-3447.

Wine calendar

• Vaccaro’s Trattoria, 1000 Ghent Road, Bath, hosts a “Battle Italy” wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Four courses will be paired with wines from Sicily and mainland Italy. $60. 330-666-6158.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Wagner Family at 7 p.m. Thursday. $75. 330-899-9200.

• West Point Market, 33 Shiawassee Ave., Fairlawn, will host The Wines of Spring featuring 20 light-bodied reds, white and rosés from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday. $35 in advance, $40 at the door. 330-864-2151, Ext. 405.

• Papa Joe’s, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road, in the Merriman Valley, will feature wines from Mount Eden Vineyards in California for a dinner at 6:30 p.m. May 30.

Cost is $85. For reservations, call 330-923-7999.

• The Merchant Tavern at 1824 Merriman Road in Akron will feature eight wines from Owen Roe winery at a tasting from 6 to 8 p.m. May 31, with finger foods. $35, reservations a must at 330-865-9510.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or [email protected]. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter.

There’s a big wedding this weekend, and we’re not invited.

But you can still eat cake like the royals, this Saturday, the day Prince Harry and Meghan Markle say “I do.” Here are a few ways to pay homage to the royal nuptials:

• Enjoy a slice of lemon and elderflower cake, a nod to Prince Harry and Meghan’s cake, along with a pot of English tea, and a slice of chocolate biscuit cake — Queen Elizabeth’s favorite — in the Tea Room at this year’s Primavara! festival Saturday at Presentation of our Lord Orthodox Church in Fairlawn. More on this fun, foodcentric festival further down in this column.

• West Side Bakery is making small individual lemon sponge cakes (about 3 inches round) with elderflower cordial, also inspired by the royal wedding. The cakes will also feature lemon curd.

They’ll be available Thursday, Friday and Saturday for $10 at West Side’s two locations, 2303 W. Market St. in Akron (330-836-4101) and 1840 Town Park Blvd. in Green (330-899-9968). Orders are encouraged.

• Tea goodies and two varieties of cupcakes, each celebrating a royal wedding cake, will be available at the Royal Wedding Tea fundraiser at Christ Episcopal Church in Kent. Seatings are at noon, 1 and 2 p.m.

It features traditional tea treats like cucumber, salmon and other finger sandwiches, scones with lemon curd, clotted cream and jam and other baked goods. Cost is $20, $10 for children ages 12 or younger. The cupcakes will be sold separately.

For reservations, call 330-322-1236. The church is at 118 S. Mantua St. (state Route 43).

Guests can watch a replay of the wedding — which will be at 7 a.m. Akron time — on a big screen. Activities will include croquet on the lawn. A portion of the proceeds will go to Freedom House in Portage County and CANAPI (Community Aids Network/Akron Pride Initiative) in Akron.

It’s Primavara!

Here’s more on Saturday’s Primavara! festival from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Presentation of Our Lord Orthodox Church in Fairlawn. Primavara is Romanian for springtime.

Along with the Tea Room offering royal wedding cake, you can feast on cabbage rolls, mamaliga (the Romanian version of polenta, with sour cream and grated cheese), cucumber salad, mititei (caseless ground beef and pork sausages) and an array of pastries.

Instead of the evening wine tasting, this year’s festival has a 6:30 p.m. beer tasting, including homemade brews. The tasting with from-scratch food pairings will be held in the church’s pavilion. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Call 330-334-1616, the number of the Apropos gift store in Wadsworth whose owner is organizing the beer tasting.

Admission is free; you buy the food. Also available will be a gift market and children’s activities. The church is at 3365 Ridgewood Road, Fairlawn. For details, go to http://www.festivalofspring.org.

25 years at DeCheco’s

DeCheco’s Pizzeria at 2075 S. Main St. in Akron’s Firestone Park neighborhood is celebrating 25 years Saturday, and is partying like it’s 1993.

The shop will sell pizza that day at 1993 prices. The shop also sells subs, salads, wings and other food; the discount is on pizza only.

The shop is operated by Nathan DeCheco, 29, who graduated in 2012 from the University of Akron, where he studied sales and marketing. He’s the son of founders Jack and Shirley DeCheco. Jack continues to cut hair at DeCheco’s Barbershop that opened years earlier in the same building, and he and Shirley help out in the pizza shop occasionally.

Free burritos at Moe’s

Be among the first 50 people in line on Thursday outside the new Moe’s Southwest Grill on West Market Street in Akron and you’ll get free burritos for a year.

The prize entitles each winner to one burrito per week at the area’s newest Moe’s, which opens Thursday and is owned by franchisee Curt Shepherd. The chain, founded in 2000 and based in Atlanta, has nearly 700 locations nationwide.

The new Moe’s will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Phone is 330-958-9999.

Opening day also will feature $5 burritos and a prize wheel.

Moe’s is the latest business to open in West Market Street Station, home to the Whole Foods grocery that opened last year. Poke Fresh, an entrant in the growing poke trend, opened earlier this year.

Poke (pronounced PO-kay, Hawaiian for “to slice” or “to cut”) bowls typically feature ahi tuna and salmon; Poke Fresh offers other proteins, including shrimp, chicken and tofu. This place is not part of a chain. It’s owned by Jonathan Gotschall, who previously owned Caroline’s Cupcakes in Jackson Township.

CoreLife to open

CoreLife Eatery is opening adjacent to the new City Barbeque in Fairlawn on May 24. The location at 2858 W. Market St. will be one of more than 30 for the Binghamton, N.Y., chain.

CoreLife bills itself as a healthful chain. Customers go through a line and choose ingredients to build their own bowls, starting with a base of grains, greens or broth, and adding protein, such as chicken or beef.

The chain says its fresh ingredients are free of trans fats, artificial colors, sweeteners, artificial additives and GMOs. Customers can build vegan, gluten-free, soy-free or paleo bowls. No phone number available yet.

City Barbeque — which opened this week — and CoreLife are in a new complex that replaced the Wyant Buildings, across from Fairlawn Town Centre.

The Ramp is coming

Work is coming along on the Ramp Restaurant at Sandy Beach Marina in Green.

Jim Genovese and his wife, Zana, who own the longtime marina at 3719 S. Main St., hope to open sometime in July, serving well-executed pub fare.

The couple first revealed their plans in the fall of 2016. It took a while to get approvals from the city, and construction began earlier this year on the roughly 5,000-square-foot building with a long concrete deck overlooking Cottage Grove Lake.

Passers-by driving south on Main Street can see the deck. We’ll have more on it next week. Check out the progress at the Sandy Beach Marina Facebook page.

Pick’s at PLX

Speaking of Portage Lakes, the opening date for the new Pick’s at PLX has been pushed back to Monday.

Donnie Boyer, former owner of Legends Sports Pub and Grille, is opening the bar and restaurant at 530 Portage Lakes Drive, on West Reservoir in Coventry Township. Most recently, the sprawling 16,000-square-foot property was Nicoletti’s Park Place, which closed in 2015. Before that, it was Hook, Line and Drinkers.

Boyer has said on Pick’s Facebook page that it will include two kitchens and four bars.

Brothers Tom, Bob and Herb Hutchison purchased the art-deco-style brick structure in 2016. Parts of the building date to the 1940s, and Pick’s gets its name from the former Pick’s Boathouse at the property. See the Picks at PLX Facebook page for information.

Favorite outdoor spots

It’s (finally) patio season, and we want to know your favorite spots to dine or drink outdoors. Email [email protected] or leave a comment on this story on the Beacon Journal/Ohio.com Facebook page.

Food truck rally

Reminder: Sunday is the big food truck rally in Tallmadge. More than 25 trucks are on board.

The event, organized by the Tallmadge Parks and Recreation Department, will run from noon to 6 p.m. in the Tallmadge Recreation Center parking lot at 46 N. Munroe Road. Parking will be available at Tallmadge High School and Munroe Elementary School with a shuttle provided.

For information, go to https://tallmadge-ohio.org/320/Food-Truck-Festival.

Swiss steak dinner

Family of Faith United Methodist Church at 800 E. Market St. in Akron will offer made-from-scratch Swiss steak and creamed chicken dinners Saturday.

The fundraising dinner will run from 5 to 7 p.m. and will benefit the church Youth Group’s mission trip to Virginia. The women’s and men’s groups will help the youths prepare the meal.

The dinner is $9 for adults, $4.50 for children ages 4 to 10, free for children 3 or younger. It includes Swiss steak or creamed chicken over biscuit, green beans, coleslaw or applesauce, mashed potatoes, pie and a beverage. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

For information, call 330-376-2141.

Wine calendar

• Wise Guys Lounge & Grill, 1008 N. Main St., Akron, will host a “private wine tasting dinner” on Sunday. The restaurant normally is closed on Sundays.

The six-course dinner will feature wines from the Piedmont region in Italy. Reservations are a must. Call 330-922-3006 for information.

• The Merchant Tavern at 1824 Merriman Road in Akron will feature eight wines from Owen Roe winery at a tasting from 6 to 8 p.m. May 31.

Owen Roe sources grapes from Yakima Valley in Washington and Willamette Valley in Oregon.

The tasting will include finger foods. Cost is $35 and reservations are a must. Call 330-865-9510.

• Ken Stewart’s Grille, 1970 W. Market St., Akron, will host a five-course Stroll Through France wine tasting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Cost is $75. For reservations, call Terry Kemp at 330-697-6917.

• Vaccaro’s Trattoria, 1000 Ghent Road, Bath, hosts a “Battle Italy” wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. May 24. Four courses will be paired with two wines each, one from Sicily and one from mainland Italy. Cost is $60 plus tax and tip. For reservations, call 330-666-6158.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Wagner Family, owner of Caymus Vineyards in Napa Valley, at 7 p.m. May 24. Cost is $75 plus tax and tip. For reservations, call 330-899-9200.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or [email protected]. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com and read the Akron Dish blog at http://www.ohio.com/food.

A downtown Akron eatery went all the way to Belgium to make dining and drinking on its rooftop patio more pleasant.

And we also bring you news of an annual foodcentric event that helps usher in the spring/summer festival season: Primavara! on May 19 at Presentation of Our Lord Orthodox Church in Fairlawn. And we have more morsels.

First up, the snazzy patio at Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar, which has one of the best views of downtown.

With an airy Belgium-made enclosure — a black frame with adjustable louvers that offer shade, covering about half the area — the rooftop perch is much more hospitable on sunny days. With sidewalls that are also adjustable, you can even sit out there when it rains.

The enclosure — with built-in LED lights — was installed in August and makes it an even nicer spot from which to scope out the 28-story art-deco Huntington Tower (formerly the FirstMerit building) and other parts of the skyline.

Nuevo’s patio and deck are open now, and will officially kick off the season from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. May 22 — weather permitting, because Coup De Grace and Acid Cats are booked to play. Admission will be free, with half off house margaritas.

Nuevo opened more than four years ago in the 1903 Gothic Building, 54 E. Mill St. at the corner of High Street.

All this patio talk leads me to asking for your help: We want to know your favorite patio/deck dining spot. See the accompanying box for details.

Primavara! festival

This year, the annual Primavara! festival May 19 at Presentation of Our Lord Orthodox Church in Fairlawn — featuring Romanian food, dancing and more — is mixing it up a bit.

Instead of the evening wine tasting, this year the festival will feature a 6:30 p.m. beer tasting, including homemade brews.

Primavara is Romanian for springtime.

Church members have been busy cooking and baking for the 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. festival and the traditional goodies will be available, including cabbage rolls, mamaliga (the Romanian version of polenta, with sour cream and grated cheese), sausages, cucumber salad and an array of pastries.

There also will be one of my favorite Romanian dishes, mititei (pronounced meaty-TAY). I discovered these caseless sausages at the fest a few years ago. They feature seasoned ground beef and pork, and often lamb. I like to think of them as mini grilled meatloaves.

The beer tasting will be held in the church’s pavilion. Tickets will cost $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For tickets, call 330-334-1616. That’s the number of the Apropos gift store in Wadsworth, owned by Sally Shantz, who oversaw the wine tastings and is organizing the beer tasting.

She is promising an array of tasty food to accompany each brew. The menu includes a charcuterie (meat and cheese) plate, ham and cheese sandwiches topped with a fig stuffed with blue cheese (Shantz is using her own figs), and a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich that Shantz describes as “deconstructed.” Also included: cider-braised pork kabobs, Romanian sausage and a Gamekeeper’s Stew with lamb. Dessert will be a blackberry galette, similar to a freeform tart, and a double chocolate truffle.

Shantz’s friend, homebrewer David Serbin of Wadsworth, is providing some of the beer.

Along with ethnic foods, there will be dancing and music throughout the event, a gift market, kids activities, imported beers and wines and more. New this year is a tea room. (The church member who has made Ethiopian coffee in the past is not available this year.)

The church is at 3365 Ridgewood Road, Fairlawn. Admission is free. For details, go to http://www.festivalofspring.org.

Wine fans: Shantz said the wine tasting is being moved to Sept. 15. It proved to be so popular, church members wanted to separate it from the festival. More on this later.

Royal Wedding Tea

Windsor Castle is some 3,700 miles away, but that’s not stopping Christ Episcopal Church in Kent from doing it up big for the May 19 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The church will celebrate that day with a Royal Wedding Tea fundraiser with seatings at noon, 1 and 2 p.m.

Traditional tea goodies will be served, such as cucumber, salmon and other finger sandwiches; scones with lemon curd, clotted cream and jam; and other baked goods made by parishioners.

Cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and under. For reservations, call 330-322-1236. The church is at 118 S. Mantua St. (state Route 43).

Guests can watch a replay of the wedding — which will be at 7 a.m. Akron time — on a big screen.

Two varieties of cupcakes will be sold, each celebrating a royal wedding cake, made by the Rev. Julie Fisher, the church’s priest. One will be elderberry-lemon, a nod to Harry and Meghan’s cake, and the other will be a chocolate biscuit, which Prince William used as his groom’s cake when he married Kate Middleton.

The event will include croquet on the lawn, a basket raffle and children’s activities. Guests can even get a picture taken with a princess (a parishioner dressed in royal garb).

A portion of the proceeds will go to Freedom House in Portage County and CANAPI Community Aids Network/Akron Pride Initiative in Akron. Tea organizers note that Prince Harry and Meghan have requested donations to charities instead of gifts.

Mother’s Day cake

Children ages 12 and under can decorate a free heart-shaped Mother’s Day cake at all Acme Fresh Market locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday.

Seating will be limited. Pre-register at the customer service counter at the Acme location of your choice.

Cake decorators will be on hand to help. The Akron-based grocery chain says lots of icing colors, sprinkles and other toppings will be available.

Mother’s dinner

The Polish American Club in Akron will serve a Mother’s Day Swiss Steak Dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the club, 472 E. Glenwood Ave. Dinner includes mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, dessert and coffee.

Tickets, which can be purchased in advance or at the door, are $14 for adults and $7 for children 12 and younger. Call 330-253-0496.

Food truck rally

Reminder: One of the area’s biggest single-day food truck rallies will return to Tallmadge on May 20. More than 25 trucks are on board.

The event, organized by the Tallmadge Parks and Recreation Department, will run from noon to 6 p.m. in the Tallmadge Recreation Center parking lot at 46 N. Munroe Road. Parking will be available at Tallmadge High School (140 N. Munroe Road) and Munroe Elementary School (230 N. Munroe Road) with a shuttle provided.

For more information, go to https://tallmadge-ohio.org/320/Food-Truck-Festival.

McDonald’s gets fresh

McDonald’s fresh beef Quarter Pounders have come to our area and to participating locations across the state.

The change to using fresh rather than frozen beef was announced last year. The restaurant rolled out the fresh beef Quarter Pounders and other sandwiches to most of its U.S. locations this month.

The change follows other moves intended to appeal to customers wanting more healthful food. McDonald’s has removed artificial preservatives, colors and flavors from Chicken McNuggets, and it now serves sustainable fish on all Filet o’ Fish sandwiches.

The company has said it is committed to serving only cage-free eggs in the United States by 2025.

Wine calendar

• Ken Stewart’s Grille, 1970 W. Market St., Akron, will host a five-course Stroll Through France wine tasting at 6:30 p.m. May 17.

The menu includes oysters, Hudson Valley foie gras, baby greens with a cherry reduction sauce, peppered bacon lardon (cured meat) with truffled goat cheese risotto and pickled ramps, sliced venison Steak Diane and cinnamon apple creme brulee.

Cost is $75. For reservations, call Terry Kemp at 330-697-6917.

• Vaccaro’s Trattoria, 1000 Ghent Road, Bath, hosts a “Battle Italy” wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. May 24. Four courses will be paired with two wines each, one from Sicily and one from mainland Italy. Cost is $60 plus tax and tip. For reservations, call 330-666-6158.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Wagner Family, owner of Caymus Vineyards in Napa Valley, at 7 p.m. May 24. Cost is $75 plus tax and tip. For reservations, call 330-899-9200.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or [email protected]. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter.

Windsor Castle is some 3,700 miles away, but that’s not stopping Christ Episcopal Church in Kent from doing it up big for the Saturday, May 19, wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The church will celebrate that day with a Royal Wedding Tea fundraiser — with three seatings: noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. .

Eats will be traditional tea goodies: cucumber, salmon and other finger sandwiches, scones with lemon curd, clotted cream and jam, as well as other baked goods made by parishioners.

Cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and under. For reservations, call 330-322-1236. The church is at 118 S. Mantua St.. (state Route 43),

Guests can watch a replay of the wedding — which will be at 7 a.m. EST — on a big screen.

Also available for sale will be two varieties of cupcakes — each celebrating a royal wedding cake — made by the Rev. Julie Fisher, the church’s priest.

One variety will be elderberry-lemon, a nod to the Prince Harry and Markle’s cake, and the other will be a chocolate biscuit, which Prince William used as his grooms cake when he married Kate Middleton.

The event will include croquet on the lawn, a basket raffle and children’s activities. Guests can even get their picture taken with a royal princess — a parishioner dressed in princess garb.

A portion of the proceeds will go to Freedom House in Portage County and CANAPI Community Aids Network/Akron Pride Initiative — in Akron. Tea organizers note that Prince Harry and Markle have requested donations to charities instead of gifts.

The first 500 people to drive through the parking lot of the soon-to-open City Barbeque in Fairlawn on Tuesday, May 8, will each get a free pulled pork sandwich, BBQ sauce and a side of macaroni and cheese.

The giveaway at 2870 W. Market St. will begin at noon and go until the food runs out.

The giveaway is in celebration of May being National BBQ Month and the opening next week of the new City Barbeque location.

The site will open Monday and grand-opening events May 19 include an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, then a “rib bone” cutting at 10:30 a.m. There will be live music, giveaways and family activities.

The chain plans to donate 10 percent of its sales that day to Weathervane Playhouse. Actors from the theater will be on hand and plan to perform around 5 p.m. Zippy and the University of Akron cheerleaders will be there from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The Dublin-based chain, which operates more than 30 restaurants, features smoked meats and handmade sides.

A tasty new chain is just about ready to set up shop in Fairlawn.

City Barbeque plans to open its first Northeast Ohio location at 2870 W. Market St. on May 14.

Grand-opening events on May 19 include an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, then a “rib bone” cutting at 10:30 a.m. There will be live music, giveaways and family activities.

The chain plans to donate 10 percent of its sales that day to Weathervane Playhouse. Actors from the theater will be on hand and plan to perform around 5 p.m. Zippy and the University of Akron cheerleaders will be there from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The Dublin-based chain, which operates more than 30 restaurants, features smoked meats and handmade sides.

Gourmet fundraiser

The annual Hail to the Chefs fundraiser will be 7 to 11 p.m. Friday at Lake Forest Country Club in Hudson.

This is a preview party for the annual Taste of Hudson over Labor Day weekend. Area chefs will showcase small plates along with cocktails. A silent auction will benefit Akron Children’s Hospital.

Restaurants include the Beachcomber Truck by Hudson’s; Don Patron Mexican Grill; Jaipur Junction of Hudson; Kepner’s Tavern; Laurel Lake; Nosh Eatery & Creative Catering; Oak & Embers Tavern and Rosewood Grill.

There will be appetizers by Adams Reserve New York Extra Sharp Cheddar, and chef Scott Tabor of Lake Forest Country Club will be serving up desserts.

Tickets are $100 at http://www.tasteofhudson.com, http://www.facebook.com/TasteOfHudson or at the door.

Summer smells

Saturdays in May at Kirbie’s Meats and Catering in Stow will feature a chance to check out and taste the shop’s variety of grilled meats, rubs and marinades along with sauces and sides. The samplings will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kirbie’s is at 4062 Fishcreek Road in the Oregon Trails Plaza at Graham Road in Stow.

Farm market news

Just a quick correction from last week’s column: The Haymaker Farmers Market in Kent, which celebrated 25 years last year, opens its outdoor season this Saturday. The market runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 27 at Franklin Avenue between Main and Summit streets, underneath the Haymaker Overpass.

Also, the first North Akron Market featuring fresh produce, crafts and artwork, hot food and music will be from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Exchange House at 760 Elma St. in Akron.

The market — which will run from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 29 — will move next week to 761 N. Main St., next to the Hibernian club and across from Family Groceries and Piscazzi Autobody.

Vegan alert

The Cleveland VegFest will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland. The event typically attracts some 10,000 visitors and is put on by the Cleveland Vegan Society.

It features a food court, samples and activities including yoga. Movies will be shown throughout the day in the Cleveland Cinemas Screening Room and speakers will cover topics from veganism to animal rights to social justice.

The center is at 300 Lakeside Ave. E. The event is free but donations are accepted. For more, visit clevelandvegansociety.org.

Wine calendar

• Vaccaro’s Trattoria, 1000 Ghent Road, Bath, hosts a “Battle Italy” wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. May 24. Four courses will be paired with two wines each, one from Sicily and one from mainland Italy. Cost is $60 plus tax and tip. For reservations, call 330-666-6158.

• Fishers Foods will have a tasting of wines from store owner Jeff Fisher’s latest Top 16 list from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday and May 25.

Friday’s tasting will be at the Fishers at 8100 Cleveland Ave. NW, Plain Township. The May 25 tasting will be at the Fishers at 5215 Fulton Road NW in Jackson Township. Wines will be paired with food samples. Cost is $10.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Wagner Family, owner of Caymus Vineyards in Napa Valley, at 7 p.m. May 24. Cost is $75 plus tax and tip. For reservations, call 330-899-9200.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or [email protected]. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com and read the Akron Dish blog at http://www.ohio.com/food.

A family is frying up crunchy, salty nostalgia in South Akron.

Ted Robb, who owned the O.K. Potato Chip company for nearly three decades, has teamed up with cousins Anthony and Paul LaGuardia to open a small, old-school, potato chip factory in an old building next to Klein’s Seafood on Grant Street.

They’ve dubbed it Hartville Potato Chips, and with production beginning earlier this month, the product already is showing up on store shelves and creating a buzz.

“It’s been amazing,” Anthony LaGuardia said. “We can’t keep them on the store shelves.”

Robb sold chips under the Hartville name, as well as the O.K. brand, when he owned the business, which he bought in 1972.

This week, a handful of Acme stores will begin selling the chips, including stores in Coventry, Akron’s Ellet neighborhood, Green, Jackson Township and North Canton. Other stores stocking them include Shaffer’s Market at 8 W. Turkeyfoot Lake Road (at Main Street) in Green; Beiler’s Penn Dutch Market at 13160 Cleveland Ave. in Lake Township; and Giant Eagle at 2275 Locust St. S. in Canal Fulton.

Robb and the LaGuardias can’t use the O.K. Potato Chip name because Robb sold the business — along with the name — in 1990 to an out-of-state company.

For now, a crew of family members is making chips two to three days a week. “As need grows, we’ll ramp up more,” Anthony LaGuardia said.

Beyond Robb’s connection to a brand that began in the Kenmore area of Akron in 1928, there’s another nostalgic element to the Hartville Potato Chips story.

Next-door neighbor Klein’s Seafood is in the building that housed the poultry business and corner market of Joe LaGuardia, grandfather of Anthony and Paul LaGuardia.

Farmers markets open

It’s hard to believe with the recent snow that farmers market season is getting underway.

I visited the opening day of the Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow in the Cuyahoga Valley last Saturday and found a surprising amount of produce — parsnips, carrots, radishes, kale and more.

I was thrilled to see Diamond Marcum of Akron, the owner of Big Fat Greek & Italian Pastries, selling her big spanakopita (spinach pie) and other treats. I first met her a couple of years ago at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Akron, where she and other members of the congregation were making braided Easter bread for the Spring Bake Sale.

The market will run 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 27 at Howe Meadow, 4040 Riverview Road. See http://www.cvcountryside.org for information.

• The Haymaker Farmers Market in Kent, which celebrated 25 years last year, opens its outdoor season May 5.

The market runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 27 at Franklin Avenue between Main and Summit streets, underneath the Haymaker Overpass. Each week, the market boasts about 40 vendors and features live music.

In winter, November through April, the market is at the United Methodist Church at 1435 E. Main St. in Kent.

• The first North Akron Market featuring fresh produce, crafts and artwork, hot food and music will be from 2 to 7 p.m. May 5 at the Exchange House at 760 Elma St. in Akron.

Exchange House, a refurbished home, is designed to be a cultural and civic hub in the North Hill neighborhood. A onetime hub for Italian immigrants, today it is home to many refugees from southeast Asia.

After May 5, the market — which will run from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 29 — will move to 761 N. Main St., next to the Hibernian club and across from Family Groceries and Piscazzi Autobody.

Vendors can apply for spots by going to the Exchange House or going to NorthAkronCDC.org. The market is being organized by the Shanti Community Farms, St. Brendan Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the nonprofit Exchange House and the North Akron Community Development Corp.

• Looking further ahead, the Anna Dean Farm Market in Barberton opens May 29 and runs 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Oct. 30. More than 40 vendors have signed up so far.

As I’ve said before, this market is worth checking out for its location alone, the historic O.C. Barber Piggery, 248 Robinson Ave. The former pig barn is one of several distinctive buildings from the onetime Anna Dean Farm, developed by town founder O.C. Barber.

The Barberton Historical Society, which owns the Piggery, oversees the market.

Grapes on the Lake

Here’s what looks to be a fun winecentric fundraiser. Six Northeast Ohio wineries are signed up — and organizers are hoping for more — for the third annual Grapes on the Lake from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

This may be a little confusing. The event will not be on a lake. It will be at Tadmor Shrine Center, 3000 Krebs Drive, Coventry Township.

A portion of the proceeds goes to Lake Anna Park in Barberton, Special Olympics and Barberton Masonic Temple.

Tickets are $20 presale and $25 at the door, including 10 tasting tickets a commemorative glass and a red rose (for women attendees). The evening will include a silent auction.

Wine by the glass and wine to go will be sold, along with food, including the Funky Truckeria food truck.

Wineries who have signed up so far are Sarah’s Vineyard of Cuyahoga Falls, Nauti Vine in Green, Filia Cellars outside Wadsworth, Barrel Run in Rootstown Township, Blue Barn outside Wooster and Lina Wines in Maple Heights.

Tickets are available at locations listed on the Barberton Parks and Recreation Department’s Facebook page, by phone at 330-620-9034, or at the door.

Ramp Up Peninsula

The sixth annual celebration of the wild leek, the Ramp Up Peninsula festival, runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the village’s downtown, where vendors will set up off state Route 303, and at Heritage Farms, 6050 Riverview Road.

It will feature ramps in all kinds of preparations, including candies (really), other foods, artists, crafters, live music, yoga, a scavenger hunt and a walk led by Don King, the Mushroom Hunter. For information, go to http://www.explorepeninsula.com. Information also is available at the Ramp Up Peninsula Facebook page.

The ramp is one of the first edible plants to pop up in spring. Some call them “little stinkers” because of their garlicky aroma. Fans of ramp fests in West Virginia started the Peninsula event in 2013.

Puzzling cookies

West Side Bakery is selling puzzle-shaped cookies designed to promote autism awareness and raise money for the Autism Society of Greater Akron. The cookies will be available through this month at West Side Bakery’s two locations, 2303 W. Market St. in Akron and 1840 Town Park Blvd. in Green.

The puzzle piece logo — used by autism groups nationwide — is intended to reflect the complexity of autism spectrum disorder.

Reminders

• The Food with Flair fundraiser for the Barberton Area Community Ministries Food Pantry is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Silver Run Winery, 376 Eastern Road, Doylestown. Tickets are $30 for wine and food pairings. Call 330-745-3693.

• Wayside Café will donate all proceeds from food sales to the Alzheimer’s Association on Saturday.

The café, featuring made-from-scratch daily specials, is inside the Red Brick Amish Shop in the Wayside Furniture complex at 1367 Canton Road, south of Waterloo Road, in Springfield Township. Other benefit dates are May 23 and June 21. The café will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wine calendar

• Fishers Foods will have a tasting of wines from store owner Jeff Fisher’s latest Top 16 list from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 4 and May 25.

The May 4 tasting will be at the Fishers at 8100 Cleveland Ave. NW, Plain Township. The May 25 tasting will be at the Fishers at 5215 Fulton Road NW in Jackson Township. Wines will be paired with food samples. Cost is $10.

• Wise Guys Lounge & Grill, 1008 N. Main St., Akron, will host a Napa Valley Wine Tasting from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. Cost is $60. For reservations, call 330-922-3006.

• Ken Stewart’s Grille, 1970 W. Market St., Akron, will host a five-course dinner featuring wines from Somerston Wine Co. of Napa Valley, Calif., at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Cost is $95. For reservations, call Terry Kemp at 330-697-6917.

• Blue Canyon, 8960 Wilcox Drive, Twinsburg, will host a five-course Highway 12 Wine Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Cost is $60. For reservations, call 330-486-2583.

• Wines of Spain and Portugal will be offered from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at West Point Market, 33 Shiawassee Ave., Fairlawn. Cost is $35 in advance and $40 at the door. For reservations, go to http://www.westpointmarket.com or call 330-864-2151, ext. 129.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Wagner Family, owner of Caymus Vineyards in Napa Valley, at 7 p.m. May 24. Cost is $75 plus tax and tip. For reservations, call 330-899-9200.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or [email protected]. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com and read the Akron Dish blog at http://www.ohio.com/food.

Yep, it’s hard to get your mind around warm-weather activities when the snow is flying in April.

But food truck season will be here with the thaw.

There are changes afoot for food trucks in downtown Akron. Hang on; this may get confusing.

Cascade Cucina, which brings trucks to Cascade Plaza in the center of downtown, is moving from Wednesdays to Fridays, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., beginning in June.

Food Truck Fridays, in the parking lot of Akron Child Guidance at North Forge and East Market streets, is now Food Truck Wednesdays. It will run 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 23 to Sept. 5.

Why the switch? The quick answer is that once the city, which launched Cascade Cucina last year, decided to move its food truck rally to Fridays, Child Guidance changed to Wednesdays.

The more involved answer is that the move is a response to brick-and-mortar restaurants’ concerns about competition from Cascade Cucina, as well as the JSK Café, the outdoor stand at the John S. Knight convention center that opens for lunch every Friday during the summer.

James Hardy, chief of staff to Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, said owners of downtown eateries essentially said, “If we’re going to have alternative lunchtime activities … could they be on one day?”

Hardy said that owners of the brick-and-mortar places essentially said, “We know we might take a hit on one day, and it [the competition] is not spread out over the week.”

The food truck rally at Child Guidance will be celebrating its fifth year. The trucks give a percentage of their sales to the nonprofit. Karen Talbott, president, said that as in previous years, a handful of trucks will gather each week; updates will be posted on the Akron Food Truck Wednesdays Facebook page to let folks know which ones.

The Cascade Cucina Facebook page also will post updates.

Meanwhile, a city committee has been meeting to develop new food truck legislation, looking to Cleveland as a model. Last year, Cleveland began to allow food trucks to operate downtown, in Tremont and in Ohio City with a $370 permit.

In Akron, City Council passed a law in 2014 that operators consider restrictive. It requires operators to pay almost $2,000 per year, and it limits parking to Locust and Park streets. It permits trucks to gather in other spots during city-organized events, such as Cascade Cucina.

Ramp Up Peninsula

Want some eggplant fries topped with creamy ramp pesto?

An eclectic group of food vendors — many of them promising dishes featuring ramps — signed up for the sixth annual celebration of the wild leek, the Ramp Up Peninsula festival.

The fest will be from noon to 5 p.m. April 28 in the village’s downtown, where vendors will set up off state Route 303, and at Heritage Farms, 6050 Riverview Road.

Food trucks will include the Manna Truck of Westlake, with those eggplant fries, and the Smokin’ Rock N’ Roll truck out of Bay Village, which will serve pulled pork on a brioche bun and topped with slaw featuring ramps.

Returning will be Charley Murphy’s Stray Dog food enterprise, Autumn Johnston the Pierogi Lady, and Sweet Mary’s Bakery. Murphy is fond of adding ramps to the homemade relish that tops his sandwiches, Johnston makes potato and ramp pierogi and Mary Hospodarsky of Sweet Mary’s makes focaccia bread with ramps. She’ll also be selling pie and other foods without ramps.

Also back will be Grabham’s Candies, the 60-plus-year-old shop in Cuyahoga Falls. It will sell its Rampenstein Nougats, a fruit and nut nougat dipped in milk chocolate and topped with sea salt and dried ramps, among other treats.

The event also will feature vendors selling prepared food, artists, crafters, live music, yoga, a scavenger hunt and a walk led by Don King, the Mushroom Hunter. For information, including a list of vendors, go to http://www.explorepeninsula.com. Information also is available at the Ramp Up Peninsula Facebook page.

The ramp is one of the first edible plants to pop up in spring. Some call them “little stinkers” because of their garlicky aroma. Fans of ramp fests in West Virginia started the Peninsula event in 2013.

The costume for the new mascot is being created by Barbara Gedeon, who operates a flower farm in a hoop house at Spicy Lamb Farm in Peninsula. She makes period costumes for Hale Farm & Village in Bath, said Neal Franklin, a Peninsula resident who is organizing this year’s event, sponsored by the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

Gedeon will sell pottery bowls for ramp soup and other items at the festival, including flower bunches.

Taste of Ireland

The city has released dates for this summer’s festivals at Lock 3 Park off South Main Street in downtown, and new this year will be A Taste of Ireland, presented by area Hibernian clubs.

It’ll run Aug. 17-18 and include dancing, music and, of course, Irish food. Admission is free.

The National Hamburger Festival, as we previously reported, will not happen this year. It’s traditionally been in August, but is taking a one-year hiatus as Main Street undergoes major construction.

Other festivals are in the works, including the return of the Rib, White and Blue Festival — June 29 through July 4 — and the 68th Italian-American Festival July 12-14.

Note the Rib, White and Blue Festival will run a longer-than-usual period of six days. That’s because July 4 falls on a Wednesday and the festival incorporates the weekend leading up to the holiday.

Rib vendors from all over the United States will set up on South Main Street, with live music at Lock 3. The 122nd Army National Guard Band will play July 4, followed by fireworks. Admission is free. Go to http://lock3live.com.

For the Italian-American Festival, food vendors will set up and music at Lock 3 will include Lights Out, a Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons tribute band, and Avanti. Activities include the Andrea Rose Teodosio Memorial 5K and walk, and a homemade wine contest. The Council of Italian American Societies of Summit County organizes the event. More information is at http://it-am.org.

New wine

Sarah’s Vineyard in Cuyahoga Falls will release Double Trouble, its first new wine in four years, on Wednesday.

Named for the vineyard’s dogs, Stanley and Frontenac, Double Trouble is a dry, fruity white wine made from Vidal and Traminette grapes. Akron artist Chuck Ayers created the label.

The vineyard is at 1204 W. Steels Corners Road, across from Blossom Music Center, in the part of the Falls that extends into the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Phone is 330-929-8057.

Church fundraiser

Here are food-focused fundraisers: Family of Faith United Methodist Church at 800 E. Market St. in Akron offers Swiss steak and creamed chicken dinners Friday and May 19.

The dinner on Saturday will benefit the United Methodist Women’s missions, and the one on May 19 will help the Youth Group’s summer mission trip to Virginia.

Both dinners will run from 5 to 7 p.m. The dinner is $9 for adults, $4.50 for children ages 4 to 10 and free for children 3 and under. It includes made-from-scratch Swiss steak or creamed chicken over biscuit and green beans, coleslaw or applesauce, mashed potatoes, pie and a beverage. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

For information, call 330-376-2141.

Farmers markets

This Saturday is opening day at one of the largest farmers markets in the area, the Countryside market at Howe Meadow in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The market, at 4040 Riverview Road, will run 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 27, featuring local farmers, food entrepreneurs and artists. A list of its 72 vendors is at http://www.cvcountryside.org/eat-howe-meadow-vendors.

The Countryside Farmers Market at Highland Square, at Will Christy Park at 1175 W. Exchange St., will run from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays May 17 through Sept. 27.

Both markets are organized by the nonprofit Countryside Conservancy. For information, go to http://www.cvcountryside.org.

Mustard Seed event

Mustard Seed Market and Cafe, the family-owned organic/natural foods grocery, will celebrate 37 years on Saturday with giveaways of native saplings and lots of food samples.

The free “Taste Fair” will run from noon to 4 p.m. Mustard Seed has three locations: Highland Square in Akron, Bath in the Montrose area and Solon.

Mustard Seed folks figure that more than 750,000 saplings have been given to Northeast Ohio residents over nearly three decades.

This year, Mustard Seed is giving a group of area schools more than a thousand trees for their students. Mustard Seed is teaming up with students from the vocational program at Solon High School to prepare the trees.

Food, wine sampling

Here’s a morsel on a reasonably priced food and wine sampling event April 25 that will benefit the Barberton Area Community Ministries Food Pantry.

Tickets are $30 for the Food With Flair fundraiser that will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at Silver Run Winery, 376 Eastern Road, in Doylestown.

Featured will be samples of eats from the new Remarkable Diner in Barberton (chicken and shrimp paella); Redbeard’s Family Foods in Canal Fulton (mac and cheese with brisket); PLX Deli in New Franklin (sandwiches); Katy’s Kreations in Plain Township (chocolate desserts); and Erie Depot in the old train station in Barberton (cheddar cheese baked potatoes). All will be paired with Silver Run wine.

For tickets, call the food pantry at 330-745-3693.

Alzheimer’s benefit

The Wayside Café will donate all proceeds from food sales to the Alzheimer’s Association on three Saturdays — April 28, May 23 and June 21. The café will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. those days.

The café, featuring made-from-scratch daily specials, is inside the Red Brick Amish Shop in the Wayside Furniture complex at 1367 Canton Road, south of Waterloo Road, in Springfield Township.

The Alzheimer’s Association encouraged people to use their talents to raise money for the organization between Oct. 1, 2017, and the longest day of the year, June 21.

Events for wine lovers

• Wise Guys Lounge & Grill, 1008 N. Main St., Akron, will host a Napa Valley Wine Tasting from 6 to 9 p.m. April 25. Cost is $60. For reservations, call 330-922-3006.

• Ken Stewart’s Grille, 1970 W. Market St., Akron, will host a five-course dinner featuring wines from Somerston Wine Co. of Napa Valley, Calif., at 6:30 p.m. April 26. Cost is $95. For reservations, call Terry Kemp at 330-697-6917.

• Blue Canyon, 8960 Wilcox Drive, Twinsburg, will host a five-course Highway 12 Wine Dinner at 6:30 p.m. April 26. Cost is $60. For reservations, call 330-486-2583.

• Wines of Spain and Portugal will be offered from 7 to 9 p.m. April 27 at West Point Market, 33 Shiawassee Ave., Fairlawn. Cost is $35 in advance and $40 at the door. For reservations, go to http://www.westpointmarket.com or call 330-864-2151, ext. 129.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Wagner Family, owner of Caymus Vineyards in Napa Valley, at 7 p.m. May 24. Cost is $75 plus tax and tip. For reservations, call 330-899-9200.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or [email protected].

A glitch in a couple’s plans to open a coffee shop in downtown Akron led to something remarkable.

Dan Remark, a former longtime executive chef for Mustard Seed Market and Café, and his wife, Valeri, decided to open their own breakfast and lunch place.

Within months, they opened Magic City’s Remarkable Diner in Barberton. And business is going remarkably well.

“Our expectations have been blown out of the water … about three times the volume I anticipated,” Dan Remark said.

The couple opened the place Easter day in the old Magic City Diner in the small brick 1920s-era building at 451 Fairview Ave., off Fifth Street Northeast (state Route 619), north of Summa Barberton Hospital.

The Remarks are putting their stamp on the place, while keeping much of the prior menu, including fried chicken and waffles, pancakes, Belgian waffles and various salads, burgers, and sandwiches such as turkey club and fried bologna.

Items they’ve added include a loaded chili with cheese, sour cream, onions and Fritos.

Dan Remark, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., plans to also start offering a “secret menu” far different from a typical diner. It will feature dishes such as a boursin cheese omelet, and will only be available when the chef, Dan, is in the house. We’ll have more on this later.

The Remarks have added an espresso machine and are serving coffee drinks made with beans from Rowdy Beans Coffee Roasters of Stow, which began selling online a couple of years ago.

They’ve created an events calendar, and plan to offer a Mother’s Day brunch May 13, among other festivities.

They considerably brightened up the place, giving it less of a bar feel. (The previous owners operated the Sun Inn there before opening the Magic City Diner.)

Green artificial turf that covered some of the interior walls is gone and the paneling has been painted white. The faux red-brown brick wall covering also has been painted white.

A chalkboard that covered a glass-block window has been taken down to allow natural light in. Some of the booths have been removed to make room for small tables that servers can bring together for large groups.

The Remarks plan to rent the place out in the evenings, and they offer a catering menu for on-site and off-site events.

Most recently, Dan Remark taught culinary arts at the Maplewood Career Center in Portage County.

He left that job last year, planning to open a coffee shop in what was then the Akron Global Business Accelerator business incubator, in the old B.F. Goodrich Co. complex in downtown Akron. Valeri Remark was an administrative assistant at Canal Place at the complex.

The plan got pushed back amid the reformatting of the incubator, which is now called Bounce, Akron’s Innovation Hub.

That left the Remarks searching for something to do in the meantime. They saw online that the Magic City Diner was for sale last fall and closed on the place Feb. 1. They still plan to open the coffee shop at Bounce in the first half of next year.

The diner is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The phone is 330-983-9787. The website is https://remarkablediner.com.

Medina happenings

• Diner 42, which opened in the old Lantern restaurant space earlier this year, will have a grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. April 20.

City officials and representatives of the Medina Chamber of Commerce and the nonprofit Main Street Medina will welcome the new eatery, co-owned by Bill Adams, owner of Medina Salsa Co. Light refreshments will be served.

You can find the salsa at the eatery and at local groceries.

Diner 42, at 665 Lafayette Road (U.S. Route 42), is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Call 330-725-2777. The website is https://diner-42.com.

• The city, the chamber and Main Street Medina also are teaming up to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Sully’s Irish Pub at 2 p.m. April 20. The pub is at 117 W. Liberty St. and the phone is 330-764-3333.

• A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new 17 Public Square Restaurant & Bar has been pushed back to May. It initially was planned for April 20.

17 Public Square (the building’s address) will open in the former Main Street Cafe, which closed earlier this year after 31 years on Medina’s Square.

Ryan Rose, CEO and president of Romeo’s Pizza, will operate it. General Manager is Ryan Kasson, who spent the last 11 years with the Michael Symon Restaurant Group, holding positions at Lola Bistro, the original B Spot and Mabel’s BBQ in downtown Cleveland.

Food truck rally

One of the area’s biggest single-day food truck rallies will return to Tallmadge on May 20. So far, 26 trucks are on board.

The event, organized by the Tallmadge Parks and Recreation Department, will run from noon to 6 p.m. in the Tallmadge Recreation Center parking lot at 46 N. Munroe Road, off East Avenue, east of Tallmadge Circle.

Parking will be available at Tallmadge High School (140 N. Munroe Road) and Munroe Elementary School (230 N. Munroe Road) with a shuttle provided.

Sponsors are being sought. For information and a list of trucks, go to https://tallmadge-ohio.org/320/Food-Truck-Festival.

On Tap closing

The On Tap Grille & Bar in Montrose will shut down at the close of business Saturday after more than 21 years at 2736 Medina Road.

On Tap, in the Acme Plaza of state Route 18 (Medina Road) in Bath, opened in 1996, before a variety of other bar/eateries offering sandwiches, salads and the like came to the area.

It’s one of four On Taps in the area owned by Art Michaels and family members. The others are in Cuyahoga Falls (remodeled earlier this year), Stow and Montville Township, outside Medina.

Neil Mapel, manager of the Montrose On Tap, said the lease is expiring soon and the rent was going to go up. The combination of the increased competition as well as the planned rent hike led to the decision to shut down.

Employees are moving to other On Tap locations or have gotten other jobs.

Reminders

• Tickets are still available for Saturday’s “A Wild Appetite” at the Akron Zoo. The five-course dinner will feature dishes inspired by zoo animals’ diets. The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $65 for members and $70 for nonmembers at http://www.akronzoo.org/a-wild-appetite. Cost includes two drink vouchers good for beer, wine, soda or water. A cash bar will be available. For information, call 330-375-2550.

• The inaugural Hudson Restaurant Week continues through April 13. The Leadership Hudson Class of 2017 created the event, with restaurants donating a portion of sales to the Hudson Food Pantry. To see a list of participants, go to the event’s Facebook page.

• An April 21 dinner at the German Family Society’s facility in Brimfield Township called “Danube River Cruise” will feature sauerbraten (German stew) and other German goodies.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner is at 6 p.m. The evening will include a casino table and dancing. For reservations, call 330-633-3949 or 330-335-8985. The German Family Society is at 3871 Ranfield Road in Brimfield.

Wine calendar

• On Friday, 12 wines from Ohio wineries will be featured at a 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. tasting at Fishers Foods in Perry Township, outside Canton.

The store at 4401 W. Tuscarawas St. Cupcakes, cheese, dips other items from Fishers will be available. Cost is $10.

• Vaccaro’s Trattoria, 1000 Ghent Road, Bath, will host a Wallet Friendly Wines dinner, featuring five courses, each paired with a wine priced at $15 or under a bottle, at 6 p.m. April 19.

Cost is $55. For reservations, call 330-666-5158.

• Wise Guys Lounge & Grill, 1008 N. Main St., Akron, will host a Napa Valley Wine Tasting from 6 to 9 p.m. April 25. Seven wines with food pairings from Chef Dino Reed will be featured.

Cost is $60. For reservations, call 330-922-3006.

• Ken Stewart’s Grille, at 1970 W. Market St., Akron, will host a five-course dinner featuring wines from Somerston Wine Co. of Napa Valley, Calif. at 6:30 p.m. April 26.

The menu includes duck confit ravioli, lamb lollipops and baklava with almond mousse. Cost is $95 plus tax and gratuity. Reservations required; call Terry Kemp at 330-697-6917.

• Blue Canyon, 8960 Wilcox Drive, Twinsburg, will host a five-course Highway 12 Wine Dinner at 6:30 p.m. April 26. Cost is $60. Reservations are required. Call 330-486-2583.

• Wines of Spain and Portugal will be offered from 7 to 9 p.m. April 27 at West Point Market, 33 Shiawassee Ave., Fairlawn.

Twenty wines will be featured with appetizers and other eats. Cost is $35 in advance and $40 at the door. For reservations, go to http://www.westpointmarket.com or call 330-864-2151, ext. 129.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Wagner Family, owner of Caymus vineyards in Napa Valley, at 7 p.m. May 24. Cost is $75 plus tax and tip. Call 330-899-9200 to reserve.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or [email protected]. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com.

I have a full plate after a week off that included some feasting in Portland, Ore., considered one of the country’s best food cities.

I didn’t go there to graze; it was a trip with my hubby (retired Beacon Journal reporter Jim Carney) to see family. But ya gotta eat, and when in Portland, do what the Portlandians do — eat good food. More on this later.

This week, we bring you news about the May openings of City Barbeque in Fairlawn and Pick’s at PLX in the former Hook, Line and Drinkers in Coventry Township.

City Barbeque, based in Dublin, Ohio, which specializes in smoked-on-site brisket and other meat, says it will open in Fairlawn in May. It will be the chain’s first foray into Northeast Ohio.

I’ve eaten a whole lot of carryout from City Barbeque while visiting family in the Columbus area.

The “fast-casual” chain has a menu and feel similar to Stark County-based Old Carolina Barbecue Co., offering a host of sides, including collard greens, baked beans with brisket, green beans with bacon and potato salad. (Yes, the two chains spell barbecue differently.)

The new City Barbeque isn’t far from an Old Carolina location in Copley on Ridgewood Road, near Interstate 77, only 1.4 miles from the City Barbeque site via Miller Road.

City Barbeque’s phone number will be 330-800-2532. Hours will be 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

It has locations in six states, 20 in Ohio. Less than two years ago, the chain’s founders sold a large portion of the company to private equity firm Freeman, Spogli & Co. That’s the same outfit that earlier had a stake in First Watch restaurants, and currently is an investor in Arhaus furniture stores, based in Boston Heights.

Pick’s to open in May

Pick’s at PLX has revealed its grand opening date: May 9.

Donnie Boyer, owner of Legends Sports Pub and Grille, is opening the bar and restaurant at 530 Portage Lakes Drive, on the West Reservoir in Coventry Township. Most recently the 16,000 square-foot property was Nicoletti’s Park Place, which closed in 2015. Before that, it was Hook, Line and Drinkers.

A posting on the Pick’s Facebook page says the establishment, with two kitchens and four bars, will offer dining, live entertainment and a banquet hall for private events.

Brothers Tom, Bob and Herb Hutchison purchased the art-deco-style brick structure in 2016. Parts of the building date to the 1940s.

Grazing in Portland

Now for a brief culinary trip to Portland, Ore.

It was on foodies’ maps before the show Portlandia in 2011 began poking loving fun at the city and its denizens — including their appetites for food trends. The premiere of the series (on the IFC channel) featured a hilarious scene with a couple at a farm-to-table restaurant inquiring not only if the chicken is free range, but the name of the person who raised it, and the name of the chicken itself.

Here are some quick bites in case you are lucky enough to visit.

I’ll start with breakfast: a fluffy buttermilk pancake bigger than a dinner plate, appropriately called a “Quarter Acre,” at Cameo Cafe.

Along with supersize portions of breakfast staples, owner Sue Gee Lehn offers some Korean fare. I only ate half of my Quarter Acre so I had enough room for some spicy kimchi hash, a mound of hash browns and fermented cabbage topped with two eggs and bacon or sausage.

For dinner one evening, we shared a load of carryout from a hot place called the Screen Door, which touts “Traditional Southern Cooking With NW Food Values.”

Everything made you want more, save the hush puppies appetizer, which was pretty ordinary (maybe because it had cooled quite a bit before we ate it). My faves included the Low Country shrimp and grits and the crispy buttermilk-battered chicken that was oh so moist and tender.

Near the Screen Door is an ice cream place dubbed Fifty Licks. Specializing in nontraditional flavors, it touts that it makes its base for its ice creams in house. We picked up some banana pudding ice cream (with vanilla wafers) for dessert. Later in the week, a friend bought some “Chocolate as #$%&” with housemade ganache for us to try. The name works, for me anyway.

Other highlights included an iceberg wedge salad from Podnah’s Pit Barbecue. Why am I mentioning a salad at a barbecue joint? Well, it was that good. Topped with bacon and croutons. No egg. No tomatoes. The secret is the killer rich homemade blue cheese dressing. I tried to emulate this salad for Easter, making my croutons with day-old Italian bread from DeVitis Italian Market. It was good, but I need some of that dressing!

I’ll stop right there. You’re probably full of Portland eats by now.

Taste of West Africa

“A Taste of West Africa” will be the last Local to Global dinner at Crown Point Center in Bath on April 26.

Aida Quattera, a native of Burkina Faso and an experienced cook and baker, will prepare the food and give a presentation. The dinner begins at 6 p.m.

While Quattera’s background is in psychology, she has followed her passion for cooking through pastry workshops and a home baking business, according to Ellen Otto, advancement coordinator for Crown Point, a farmstead offering sustainable agriculture programs. Quattera plans to share her homeland’s cuisine, using such ingredients as millet, plantains and manioc, a plant cultivated for its edible tuberous root, also called cassava.

Cost is $45, including wine. For reservations, go to http://www.crownpointecology.org or call 330-668-8992, ext. 106. Crown Point is at 3220 Ira Road and is a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

Open on Sunday

Beginning April 22, Sweet Mary’s Bakery in downtown Akron will be open Sundays.

“Facts are facts, you want us open on Sundays and you shall have it!” owner Mary Hospodarsky says on the shop’s website, sweetmarysbakery.com. Sunday hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The full menu will be available, including quiche, biscuits and gravy, pie, pastries and cookies.

Sweet Mary’s arrived in late 2015, heralded as another bright spot in a downtown seeking to become more vibrant. The bakery is at 76 Mill St. in the Greystone building at Mill and High streets. Call 234-706-6088.

German dinner

An April 21 dinner at the German Family Society’s facility in Brimfield Township is called “Danube River Cruise.”

“We surely are stepping outside of the box this time around with the food choices,” said Sandy Clark of the society.

The menu features sauerbraten (German stew), semmelknodel (bread dumplings), bayrischekraut (shredded cabbage cooked in beef stock, with onion, apples and vinegar) and jaegerschnitzel (fried pork chops with gravy).

Doors open at 5:30 and dinner is at 6 p.m. The evening will include a casino table, scavenger hunt, games and dancing.

Reservations are required. Call 330-633-3949 or 330-335-8985. The German Family Society is at 3871 Ranfield Road in Brimfield.

Wine calendar

• The Kent Cheesemonger shop, 155 E. Erie St., Kent, will team up with Crafted Artisan Meadery of Suffield Township for an evening of meads — honey wine — and cheese from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Seating is limited; cost is $25. To register, go to http://www.kentcheesemonger.com.

• The Fishers Foods in Perry Township, outside Canton, is going local for its 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 13 wine tasting.

Taste 12 wines from three Ohio wineries — Maize Valley, Mon Ami and Raven’s Glenn — at the store at 4401 W. Tuscarawas St. Cupcakes, cheese, dips and crackers from Fishers deli and bakery will be available for noshing. Cost is $10.

• Wise Guys Lounge & Grill, 1008 N. Main St., Akron, will host a Napa valley Wine Tasting from 6 to 9 p.m. April 25. Seven wines with food pairings from Chef Dino Reed will be featured.

Cost is $60. For reservations, call 330-922-3006.

• Wines of Spain and Portugal will be offered from 7 to 9 p.m. April 27 at West Point Market, 33 Shiawassee Ave., Fairlawn.

Twenty wines from the Iberian Peninsula will be featured with appetizers, small plates, cheeses, breads and sweets. Cost is $35 in advance and $40 at the door. For reservations, go to http://www.westpointmarket.com or call 330-864-2151, ext. 129.

• Vaccaro’s Trattoria, 1000 Ghent Road, Bath, will host a Wallet Friendly Wines dinner, featuring five courses, each paired with a wine priced at $15 or under a bottle, at 6 p.m. April 19.

Cost is $55. For reservations, call 330-666-5158.

• Blue Canyon, 8960 Wilcox Drive, Twinsburg, will host a five-course Highway 12 Wine Dinner at 6:30 p.m. April 26.

It will feature dishes created by Executive Chef and Partner Brandt Evans and prepared by Executive Chef Scott Coffman. The winery’s national sales director Marko Fiorito, Amy Arida of Cutting Edge Selections distributing and Amy Malachin of Blue Canyon will discuss the wines.

Cost is $60. Reservations are required. Call 330-486-2583.

Reminders

• The Graduate Chef Dinner is Saturday, featuring food prepared by graduates of the University of Akron’s Hospitality Management Program.

Seven courses will be presented, each with a wine pairing, at the Crystal Room Bistro inside Gallucci Hall, 360 Grant St., on the UA campus. Cost is $50. Festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Phone 330-972-6615 for more information and reservations, which are required. It will benefit the UA Culinary Artists Club, which focuses on students learning and competing in fruit, vegetable and ice sculpting.

• The inaugural Hudson Restaurant Week begins Monday and runs through April 13. The Leadership Hudson Class of 2017 created the event, with participating restaurants donating a portion of sales to the Hudson Food Pantry.

To see a list of participating eateries, go to the event’s Facebook page. Restaurants have created their own promotions; some will surprise diners with $50 gift cards.

• Tickets are still available for the Akron Zoo’s April 14 “A Wild Appetite” five-course dinner featuring dishes inspired by the diets of zoo animals.

Zoo spokesman Vince Jeffries said the dishes will be “a gourmet representation of what the animals would eat.” Each course also is designed to highlight efforts to protect various species.

Courses include clam chowder, “Power Greens” salad, beef short ribs and shanks, and tarts with blueberry yogurt in puff pastry shells.

The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $65 for members and $70 for nonmembers. Go to http://www.akronzoo.org/a-wild-appetite. Cost includes two drink vouchers good for beer, wine, soda or water. A cash bar will be available. For information, call 330-375-2550.

The zoo is at 500 Edgewood Ave. Enter from Euclid Avenue.

• The sixth annual Ramp Up Peninsula festival, a celebration of the wild leek, will be from noon to 5 p.m. April 28, in the village’s downtown. Vendors with ramp-centric dishes and others will set up along state Route 303, and there will be fresh ramps for sale, musicians and a wine and beer bar.

The event is sponsored by Peninsula Area Chamber of Commerce, explorepeninsula.com.

We’ll have information on vendors later on.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or [email protected]. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com and read the Akron Dish blog at http://www.ohio.com/food.

The Akron RubberDucks are climbing to new meaty heights with their Extreme Foods Menu.

This year, the minor-league team has added the La Montagna — Italian for “the mountain.”

The double-decker sandwich features a pound of salami, pepperoni, two Italian sausages, melted provolone cheese, roasted red peppers and homemade balsamic onion relish on three pieces of garlic bread, stacked similar to a turkey club. It will be available at the Godfather’s Kitchen stand at Canal Park in downtown Akron and cost $12.

“We were definitely looking for a meat-centric offering,” said RubberDucks Executive Chef James Phillips, noting the sandwich has no lettuce or tomato.

La Montagna will join the “Thanks, Joe!” hoagie-roll sandwich, boasting two butterfly-sliced bratwursts covered in craft beer cheese, onions and peppers, on the Extreme Foods Menu.

The RubberDucks revealed this sandwich last month. It honors Browns icon and offensive lineman Joe Thomas, who retired in March.

The $10 “Thanks, Joe!” will be available only for the 2018 season at the Dog Pound stand, costing $10.

The two new sandwiches — featured at a news conference at Canal Park on Tuesday — bring the number of Extreme Foods for the 2018 season to nine. The team’s home opener is 6:35 p.m. April 13 against the Trenton Thunder of New Jersey.

Tradition of extremes

Dropped from the Extreme Foods Menu this year is the Yardbird, which had turkey, bacon and other ingredients served between two warm apple fritters. While popular, it took too long to prepare, Phillips said.

The team’s tradition of menu items out of left field — that for the most part are gut-busting — got started in 2011. That’s when then-chef Jason Kerton introduced the Nice 2 Meat U Burger, which includes a tower of three beef patties, two beef franks and bacon, and the Three Dog Night, a hot dog stuffed in a bratwurst wrapped in a kielbasa.

Both are still on the Extreme Foods Menu.

Buzz about the menu took off after comedian Lewis Black mentioned the Nice 2 Meat U on The Daily Show. Ken Babby, who purchased the then-Akron Aeros in October 2012, embraced the idea of unusual food at the ballpark that gets traction on social media, as have owners of other minor- and major-league teams.

Extra additions

The two new Extreme items weren’t the only new ballpark food items dreamed up during the offseason.

Tuesday, Brian Manning, RubberDucks food and beverage director, and Phillips, showed off the new concession cart: Sir Loin’s Steak Shoppe, which will be set up on the concourse behind home plate.

It will feature the Sir Loin’s traditional cheesesteak — shaved ribeye, peppers and onions, sharp cheddar sauce and a chili-molasses sauce that Phillips created. Like many of the sauces at the ballpark, it’s house made.

While not on the Extreme menu, “by the time we add the cheese, the sauce, the peppers and onion, that whole sandwich weighs close to a pound,” Phillips said.

Also available at Sir Loin’s will be a chicken Philly — fire-braised chicken, peppers and onions and mozzarella-provolone blend.

These sandwiches, as well as a build-your-own cheesesteak, will each cost $9.

Three of the new food items at the Game Grill + Bar at Canal Park were highlighted Tuesday.

They are Pierogies & Pot Roast ($11), Buffalo cheddar cauliflower ($8), and a veggie burger featuring a Beyond Meat patty ($10). Side options are coleslaw or kettle chips. The veggie burger also will be available at the Taters concession stand.

One of the juicy plant-based patty’s ingredients is beets, which gives it a red, meaty appearance.

The Beyond Meat patty, produced by a company in El Segundo, Calif., is a competitor to the Impossible Burger, available at various restaurants. Impossible patties are made by another California company.

The Game Grill + Bar opens two hours before each home game and closes about two hours afterward.

Also new this season is the souvenir Duck Mug, a duck head-shaped mug that will be available with Coca-Cola beverages for $12.50. Refills are $1, and you can bring it to other RubberDucks games and get $1 refills.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or [email protected].

Today we bring you news of a new downtown restaurant and the temporary shutdown of the iconic Krispy Kreme in Akron’s West Hill. And more morsels, including a reminder that Akron’s big fat Spring Bake Sale of Greek goodies is this week.

First off, the new Boiling House opened last week. Offering seafood a la carte and in combo platters, it’s unlike anything else in the city’s center. The small spot, just west of Bricco in the same 1 W. Exchange St. building, is a revival of the Boiling Crab that was on Romig Road in Akron.

Husband-and-wife owners Tiffany and Leo Chen, wanting a more lively spot for their business, last fall set about redoing the interior of the space that had been vacant for a while. As is typical with new restaurants, opening preparations took longer than anticipated.

The menu is similar to that at the old restaurant, seafood served with choice of four sauces: Cajun Heat, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Butter and House Juicy. A la carte orders (shrimp $14, mussels $12, king crab $36, and more) come with corn on the cob and potato; combo platters also include beef and pork sausages. Fried seafood and chicken wings also will be offered, along with po’ boy sandwiches.

Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. The couple is hoping to soon get a liquor license and set up a full bar.

The Chens came to Ohio several years ago when Leo was cooking for the Wasabi Japanese steakhouse chain.

Before opening Boiling Crab, the couple operated Katana in Dover, a Japanese restaurant that is now run by a family member.

The phone number for the Boiling House is 234-716-8715.

Krispy Kreme hiatus

Here’s the news on the temporary hole in Akron’s doughnut market:

The lone Krispy Kreme store in Akron at 354 S. Maple St. has closed for about 30 days so the production area can get a makeover.

Many local fans know the place as the oldest Krispy Kreme in the country.

The “back-of-the-house,” or the production area where the “Original Glazed” and other doughnuts are made, will get stainless-steel wall covering, along with epoxy flooring, said Mary Adams, assistant manager of the shop in Akron’s West Hill neighborhood.

Epoxy flooring also will be installed in the retail area of the store, which is owned by the Krispy Kreme company in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Regular customers are asking, “What am I going to do for four weeks?” Adams said. “Many of our customers come every week, some every day.”

Existing orders will be filled from the Krispy Kreme in Middleburg Heights and delivered to the local store. Regular deliveries to Giant Eagle stores and other places that sell the doughnuts will continue, with the doughnuts being made at a Krispy Kreme production facility in Monroe, between Dayton and Cincinnati.

Aside from the new flooring, the retail area will not be remodeled. The exterior — which was updated some years ago — also will not be part of the redo. The decades-old neon sign that says “Hot Do-Nuts” will remain.

The Maple Street Krispy Kreme opened in the mid-1950s, replacing one on the same block that opened in 1939. That store was one of the first Krispy Kremes outside Winston-Salem, N.C., where the company started in 1937.

Ohio food contest

Ohioans who have a food item they are serious about trying to get to market can enter the Ohio Signature Food Contest through May 31.

The annual contest is sponsored by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) in Toledo and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and is designed to showcase new products from across the state.

Contestants must complete an online form outlining the basic details of their product, and food industry experts will judge each based on the viability of the product, commercial potential, business strategy, marketability and overall appeal to the marketplace, according to CIFT. Emphasis is placed on products using Ohio ingredients.

Finalists will be invited to present their business concept and product to a panel of judges.

The winner will be revealed in late July at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus, and will receive technical and business development assistance to help advance the product to the marketplace, as well as samples of the product to be used for consumer feedback.

Products do not need to be fully designed or ready for market. The technical assistance aspect of the award will provide guidance toward a finished product, CIFT said.

Deadline to submit an application is May 31 (one product per application, although contestants may enter more than one product).

The entry form and rules are available at ciftinnovation.org. Call 419-535-6000, ext. 117, for information.

Greek bake sale

The Spring Bake Sale at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Akron will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

For decades, church members have sold hundreds of loaves of braided Easter bread and Greek goodies galore the week before Western Easter.

Pastries include baklava, galaktoboureko (phyllo filled with custard), kourambiethes (butter cookies coated with powdered sugar), spanakopita (spinach and feta in phyllo) and tiropita (feta and other cheese in phyllo). The bake sale is a major fundraiser for the Ladies Philoptochos Society, which raises money for charities. The church, adjacent to the University of Akron, is at 129 S. Union St.

On Thursday, you can buy lunch at the church’s weekly Gyro Thursdays lunch beginning at 11 a.m. Phone 330-434-0000 for more information.

Easter reminders

Cleveland Independents, a group that promotes Northeast Ohio restaurants, lists members who will be open for Easter on its website. They include 111 Bistro in Montville Township and the Blue Canyon restaurant in Twinsburg. Go to: http://www.clevelandindependents.com/events.

Other locally owned places offering Easter brunch buffets or specials include: Beau’s On the River in Cuyahoga Falls; Beau’s Grille in Fairlawn; Kent State Hotel and Conference Center; Ken Stewart’s Grille in Akron; Ken Stewart’s Lodge in Bath; Corkscrew Saloon in Medina; the Blue Heron Event Center in Montville Township; the Galaxy Banquet Center in Wadsworth; 35˚ Brix in Green; Bricco Prime in New Franklin; and Tangier in Akron.

Graduates plan feast

Oysters Rockefeller, Caribbean curried lobster bisque, seared scallop and Korean glazed pork loin. Oh, my! On April 7, graduates of the University of Akron’s Hospitality Management Program will prepare this and more for the Graduate Chef Dinner. Seven courses will be presented, each with a wine pairing from Gervasi Vineyard of Canton.

It will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Crystal Room Bistro inside Gallucci Hall, 360 Grant St. Cost is $50.

Phone 330-972-6615 for reservations, which are required. It will benefit the Culinary Artists Club, which focuses on students learning and competing in fruit, vegetable and ice sculpting.

Chefs will be: Brad Smith, a visiting professor in the hospitality management program; Aaron Hervey, chef/owner of Crave in downtown Akron and Crave Cantina in Cuyahoga Falls; Anthony Scolaro, chef and co-owner of Bistro 111 in Montville Township; Claudia Diaz de Machado, café supervisor with America Dining Creations in downtown Akron; Mark Wagner; Erik Freay, sous chef with Aramark at UA; and Dan Johnson, executive chef at a Westin resort in Michigan.

Mead and cheese

The Kent Cheesemonger shop will team up with Crafted Artisan Meadery of Suffield Township for an evening of mead and cheese from 6 to 9 p.m. April 6.

Crafted owner Kent Waldeck will talk about his meads — honey wines — and the Cheesemonger will pair them with some of its cheeses. Seating is limited; cost is $25. To register, go to http://www.kentcheesemonger.com.

Kent Cheesemonger’s Tim Sahr has carried various Crafted meads since he opened his shop at 155 E. Erie St. in the Acorn Alley shopping area of downtown Kent in 2015.

Crafted Mead, which works with distributors in about 10 states, including Ohio, and sells online, has a production and tasting facility at 330-593-5619. The website is craftedmead.com.

Hudson restaurants

A total of 25 Hudson-area eateries have signed up for the inaugural Hudson Restaurant Week April 9-13.

Each restaurant has created its own promotion, all donating a percentage of sales to the Hudson Food Pantry. Go to http://bit.ly/HudsonOhioEats for a list of the 25 participating restaurants and the sponsors.

Buckeye Hotcakes

I can’t believe these haven’t been cooked up before. The nearly 65-year-old Ohio-based chain Bob Evans has debuted Buckeye Hotcakes, an homage to the celebrated candies.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups dot the pancake, which is topped with chocolate and peanut butter sauces. For dessert, add a scoop of made-in-Ohio vanilla ice cream and whipped topping.

Bob Evans is encouraging patrons to tout their love of the Buckeye State with the hashtag #TheOhioWay.

Interesting that all this Buckeye love comes after the Bob Evans restaurant division was purchased by a San Francisco private equity firm last year. Bob Evans continues to be based in New Albany.

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or [email protected]. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com and http://www.ohio.com/food.

There will be a temporary hole in Akron’s doughnut market.

The lone Krispy Kreme store in Akron, at 354 S. Maple St., is closing after business Sunday — at 10 p.m. — for about 30 days so the production area can get a makeover.

Many local fans know the place as the oldest Krispy Kreme in the country.

The “back-of-the-house,” or the production area where the “Original Glazed” and other doughnuts are made, will get stainless steel wall covering, along with epoxy flooring, said Mary Adams, assistant manager of the shop in Akron’s West Hill neighborhood.

Epoxy flooring also will be installed in the retail area of the store, which is owned by the Krispy Kreme company in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Regular customers are asking, “What am I going to do for four weeks?” Adams said. “Many of our customers come every week, some every day.”

Outstanding orders will be filled from the Krispy Kreme in Middleburg Heights and delivered to the local store.

Regular deliveries to Giant Eagle and other places that sell the doughnuts will continue, with the doughnuts being made at a Krispy Kreme production facility in Monroe, between Dayton and Cincinnati.

Aside from the new flooring, the retail area will not be remodeled. The exterior — which was updated some years ago — also will not be part of the redo.

The decades-old neon sign that says “Hot Do-Nuts” will remain.

The Maple Street Krispy Kreme opened in the mid-1950s, replacing one on the same block of Maple that opened in 1939. That store was one of the first Krispy Kremes outside Winston-Salem, N.C., where the company started in 1937.

To read more on the Akron area’s local food scene, see Akron Dish on Wednesdays.

Michael Bruno was an active Marine in Quantico, Va., when he cooked up his Cuyahoga Falls cafe and bakery strategy.

Bruno, a Marine infantry officer who studied pastry arts in the evenings, wrote an “Operation Order” outlining his plan, as one would in the military.

He retired from the Marine Corps and began executing the plan in 2009 at what is now called the Blue Door Cafe & Bakery.

These days, Bruno is modifying the Operation Order, tweaking the menu and making other changes in hopes of boosting his weekday clientele.

The restaurant, in an unassuming building at 1970 State Road, specializes in European classics such as croissants, scones and tortes, as well as breads and adventurous fare that celebrates fresh and local food.

“On Saturday and Sunday, we’re jammed,” Bruno said, as people drive a half-hour or more to enjoy a leisurely meal. “But we’re still struggling [with getting breakfast traffic] Monday through Friday.”

He wants people to know they’re embracing their roots as a breakfast and lunch place; Blue Door discontinued dinner service last spring after less than three years.

With his modest drive-thru, he’s seeking to attract folks who don’t want to take the time to step inside and peruse the glass bakery case that is kept filled with croissants, scones, enormous sticky buns and other treats. The restaurateur, known for his exacting standards — he can spend months or years perfecting a recipe — installed the drive-thru less than two years ago, mimicking fast-food places.

Around the same time, the Blue Door began staying open seven days a week. The restaurant kept its beer-and-wine license, obtained when it was offering dinner service, so it can serve mimosas and Bloody Marys, along with German beers — a nod to Bruno’s heritage.

“Operation Croissant” is the name of a fairly small tweak involving the drive-thru. Earlier this year, Bruno began offering a cup of Angel Falls coffee and a croissant for $5 to drive-thru customers only.

Efficient service

Bruno is well aware that the Blue Door, where made-from-scratch is the rule, had a reputation for longish waits. He’s worked with David Drumm, front of the house manager since August 2016, to reduce the time from when the order hits the kitchen to when it is served.

Drumm’s experience includes being regional manager for Wooster-based The Rail burger restaurants.

“Our ticket times are usually no more than 15 minutes now — and that’s when we’re insanely busy,” Bruno said.

With Drumm running the front of the house, he said, “I can’t remember the last time we got a poor service review.”

In the cramped kitchen, he has also made changes to the cooking line for efficiency.

As for the menu, changes include three newish “Classics” — items that are always available, such as the Olympian, which he introduced in time for the Winter Olympics last month.

“I wanted to put something on the menu for you if you wanted to eat gluten-free and be healthy doing it,” Bruno said.

The Olympian ($15) is a riff on the egg whites, turkey and avocado that LeBron James once requested during a visit. Bruno added sun-dried tomatoes, organic corn and a hash of Yukon Gold potatoes, beets, caramelized onions and preserved radishes. The eggs are cage-free and the turkey is antibiotic-free.

Another Classic is Bruno’s rethinking of crepes with salmon. Instead of crepes, the wild-caught sockeye salmon is served on a toasted croissant and topped with creamy scrambled eggs, red onion and capers ($16). The plate is garnished with microgreens, which at first seem superfluous, but they add a nice tart crunch.

Steak and eggs

Also joining the Classics is Steak and Eggs ($19), featuring grass-fed hanger steak with bordelaise sauce, two eggs, a potato hash with candied bacon and choice of toast (bread is baked daily) and preserves.

Bruno continues to offer specials that reflect his German heritage. Current specials include sauerbraten — made with beef short ribs — and served with potato dumplings.

In the kitchen, Bruno proudly points out the sous vide machine, which is used to cook the steak.

With the sous vide method, vacuum-sealed food is cooked and held at a specific temperature in a water bath. It eliminates the risk of overcooking and the food is essentially ready when the order comes in to the kitchen. The steak is then finished on the grill.

A remnant of the Blue Door’s dinner service, the machine had not seen much use until Steak and Eggs was added to the menu.

“This is an unbelievable piece of machinery … I thought, ‘Let’s use it,’ ” Bruno said, adding that Chef Mitch Firis “has really adapted to it.”

Cuyahoga Falls residents Gina Williams, a retired schoolteacher, and her daughter Angela Williams, a librarian, enjoyed lunch recently, sharing a sweet dish (Ricotta Cheese Pancakes) and a savory one (Bacon and Egg Croissant).

Blue Door is priced higher than other breakfast-and-lunch spots, said Gina, who works part-time as an educational assistant.

“But,” she said, “it’s just a different quality of food. It’s better. It’s just really good … It’s so fresh.”

Megan Vance, who also lives in the Falls and owns Suzanne Jardin Garden Design, said she and her husband, Kim DeGiralomo, began frequenting the place in 2011.

That was the year that Bruno reopened the Golden Goose coffee shop as the Blue Door. He had been operating a bakery inside the shop since 2009.

Bruno, Vance said, “loves perfecting things … you cannot duplicate the food at home.”

There’s still no sign, as Bruno lets the blue door of the restaurant beckon customers. (A small sandwich sign promotes the drive-thru special.)

The Blue Door is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The drive-thru opens at 6 a.m. Monday through Sunday. Call 330-926-9774. Bruno posts hungry-making pictures of specials on the Facebook page. Visit http://www.bluedoorcafebakery.com/

Dine out for Easter

Cleveland Independents, a group that promotes Northeast Ohio restaurants, lists members who will be open for Easter, April 1, on its website. They include 111 Bistro in Montville Township and the Blue Canyon restaurant in Twinsburg. Go to: http://www.clevelandindependents.com/events.

Tangier in Akron will serve a Grand Easter Buffet from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Easter. For information, go to http://www.thetangier.com, pull down the “Banquets” tab and then click on “Upcoming Events.” For reservations, call 330-376-7171.

New name, closing

• Creo’s Cajun Steakhouse in North Akron has been renamed Bar One. It’s in the space that previously housed Gus’ Chalet at 938 E. Tallmadge Ave.

Owner Nadia Outkidout began operating Creo’s there in 2015.

• Donnie Boyer, owner of Legends Sports Pub & Grille, posted on his Facebook page that he will be opening Pick’s bar and restaurant this spring at 530 Portage Lakes Drive in Coventry Township.

Most recently, the four-story lakefront building housed Nicoletti’s Park Place, which closed in 2015. Previously, it was the home of Hook, Line & Drinkers.

Brothers Tom, Bob and Herb Hutchison purchased the art-deco-style brick structure in 2016 and set about repairing it. Parts of the building date to the 1940s.

UA chef dinner

It’s time again to enjoy a creative multicourse meal prepared by area chefs and restaurant owners thanks to the University of Akron’s hospitality management program.

The Spring Graduate Chef Dinner at the Crystal Room Bistro inside Gallucci Hall at 360 Grant St., will be April 7. The event brings graduates back to campus to cook for the public.

Festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. and a cash bar will offer wine and beer. Tickets are $50.

Phone 330-972-6615 for reservations, which are required. It will benefit the Culinary Artists Club, which focuses on students learning and competing in fruit, vegetable and ice sculpting.

No hamburger fest

Two in-case-you-missed-it items:

• The National Hamburger Festival, which has attracted thousands to downtown Akron, will not happen this year.

Drew Cerza, founder and coordinator of the two-day festival, told me this week the big makeover of Main Street — including the festival’s staging area — likely would be too much of a disruption.

He said he had thought about moving the festival to Canal Park, home of the Akron RubberDucks minor-league baseball team, but there were no available weekends.

The plan is to bring it back next year, using the hiatus to work on improvements, Cerza said. The festival celebrated its 12th anniversary last year.

To read my story from last week, go to: http://bit.ly/2HMd8TS.

• The Akron RubberDucks are adding the supersize “Thanks, Joe” bratwurst hoagie to the 2018 Extreme Foods Menu at Canal Park.

The sandwich, honoring Cleveland Browns icon and offensive lineman Joe Thomas, who retired last week, will feature two butterfly-sliced bratwursts covered in craft beer cheese, onions and peppers, on a hoagie roll. It will be sold at the Dog Pound stand for $10.

The RubberDucks will reveal the complete Extreme Foods Menu on April 3. Their Opening Day is April 13.

Read more at http://bit.ly/2IGdjRW.

Ramp Up Peninsula

Organizers are doing some things differently for this year’s Ramp Up Peninsula Festival, the sixth annual celebration of the wild leek.

This year, the fest — set for noon to 5 p.m. April 28 — is moving to the village’s downtown. Vendors with ramp-centric dishes and others will set up along state Route 303, and there will be fresh ramps for sale, musicians and a wine and beer bar.

The fest had been held at various spots away from the main drag, such as Heritage Farms. The event is sponsored by Peninsula Area Chamber of Commerce, explorepeninsula.com.

Reminders

• On Sunday, the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church in Akron’s Firestone Park will sell Easter goodies at its Palm Sunday Bazaar from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The bazaar will begin after divine liturgy at the church, 1866 Brown St. A dine-in lunch also will be available.

• The Spring Bake Sale at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Akron will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 28 and 29, offering Easter bread and various pastries.

On March 29, you can buy lunch at the church’s weekly Gyro Thursdays lunch beginning at 11 a.m. The church is at 129 S. Union St., adjacent to the University of Akron.

Wine calendar

• 111 Bistro will host a Private Reserve Wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Cost is $75. 111 Bistro is at 2736 Medina Road (state Route 18), in Montville Township. Phone is 330-952-1122.

• Galaxy Restaurant in Wadsworth will highlight the wines of the Piedmont region at a seven-course dinner at 7 p.m. Thursday. Cost is $85, plus tax and tip. For reservations, go to galaxyrestaurant.com or call 330-334-3663. The Galaxy is at 201 Park Centre Drive.

• West Point Market will host a Tour of Europe wine tasting featuring 20 wines, appetizers, cheeses, bread and “something sweet” at 7 p.m. Friday. Cost is $40. Call 330-864-2151, ext. 405, to sign up. West Point is at 33 Shiawassee Ave., Fairlawn.

• Two workshops with wine are coming up at Graf’s, 1015 White Pond Drive, Copley.

The Spring Centerpiece Workshop with Wine will run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, $24.99 plus cost of plants. A Pussy Willow Planter Workshop with Wine is 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, $20 plus cost of plants and container.

Prepayment is required for both. To sign up, go to http://bit.ly/grafsworkshops or call 330-836-2727.

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or [email protected]. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com and http://www.ohio.com/food.

Celebrate the first day of spring Tuesday — March 20 — with a free small vanilla ice cream cone at participating non-mall Dairy Queen stores.

It’s Dairy Queen’s Fourth Free Cone Day Tuesday.

“We’re excited for our fourth annual Free Cone Day,” said Maria Hokanson, executive vice president of marketing for American Dairy Queen Corp., in a prepared statement.

“This day has become a spring tradition and a sign that warmer weather is upon us.”

Dairy Queen, headquartered in Minneapolis, won’t be charging for the cones, but it will be soliciting donations for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including Akron Children’s Hospital.

Last year, the Dairy Queen system of franchisees raised $300,000 in one day for local hospitals.

Dairy Queen has 6,800 locations worldwide. Dairy Queen has been owned since 1998 by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., led by Warren Buffett.

The National Hamburger Festival, which has attracted thousands to downtown Akron, is taking a break and will not happen this year.

Drew Cerza, founder and coordinator of the two-day festival, said on the event’s website that the “reconstruction project” downtown “would be a major disruption to the festival. … I don’t feel we can execute the National Hamburger Festival at the same level we have the last 12 years.”

The festival, which began in 2006, played off the contested claim that two locals, Frank and Charles Menches, invented the hamburger at the Erie County Fair in the 1880s.

Each year, a variety of food establishments threw down their best burgers, competing for such awards as Best Traditional Burger, Best Cheeseburger and Most Creative.

Attendees, after paying the $5 admission to help pay for festival costs and a donation to Akron Children’s Hospital, could feast on myriad versions of the All-American treat.

Cerza could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

The “reconstruction project” he referred to likely is the city’s planned makeover of Main Street downtown.

Later this year, the city will begin work on the first phase, which focuses on the section between Mill and State streets.

The festival set up on this portion of Main and the adjacent Lock 3 Park, which serves as a venue for concerts, festivals and other gatherings in the warmer months.

The city’s Main Street project includes a new State Street bridge, adjacent to the parking deck behind the former O’Neil’s department store building, as well as a roundabout at Mill and Main. The city also plans to widen sidewalks.

Chance to restructure

Cerza said on the website ([https://hamburgerfestival.com) that while this news “is immensely disappointing, it presents an opportunity to re-examine the event’s structure and direction.”

He continued saying that he “looked forward to reinventing the festival for 2019, so it can evolve into an event that aligns with Akron’s exciting future.”

In his note, Cerza thanked restaurants and other vendors who participated in the festival, as well as sponsors and city employees who helped out. He also thanked festival staff members and attendees, among others.

Cerza also is a founder of the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, N.Y.

City officials and Cerza were brought together more than a dozen years ago by Dave “Coondog” O’Karma, a competitive eater from Northeast Ohio who competed in a wing-eating contest in Buffalo.

From the beginning, city officials put the festival’s coordination in the hands of Cerza. He paid for festival costs by charging admission and concessionaires who set up shop at the event. Each year, a donation was made to Akron Children’s Hospital.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or [email protected]. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com and read the Akron Dish blog at http://www.ohio.com/food.

The longtime Mulligan’s Pub in the Belden Village area of northern Stark County, closed since the end of January, has a new owner, according to a Canton Repository report.

Joanna Swallen and her husband Thomas Swallen, owner of Windsor Medical Center, have purchased the Jackson Township business, the newspaper said.

The restaurant will honor gift certificates sold by the prior owners.

Previous owners Ron Briggs and his sister, Joycelyn, closed the eatery because of health issues, the newspaper reported.

Mulligan’s is at 4118 Belden Village St. NW.

Read the full Canton Repository report here.

Call it block-wurst.

The Akron RubberDucks are rolling out the artery-blocking “Thanks, Joe!” sandwich to honor Cleveland Browns icon and blocker Joe Thomas, who retired Wednesday.

The sandwich — part of the RubberDucks Extreme Foods Menu of supersize eats — will be available only for the 2018 season, the RubberDucks said Thursday.

“Thanks, Joe” will feature two butterfly-sliced bratwursts covered in craft beer cheese, onions and peppers, on a hoagie roll. The sandwich will feature Five-Star Brand bratwurst, made by Storer Meat Co. of Cleveland.

It will be sold at the Dog Pound concession stand for $10, in honor of the offensive lineman’s 10 NFL Pro Bowl seasons.

“Canal Park’s Extreme Foods Menu is one of the highlights of coming to a RubberDucks game,” RubberDucks General Manager Jim Pfander said in a news release.

“For a larger-than-life offensive lineman, we thought there was no better way to honor him than with a larger-than-life sandwich. The ‘Thanks, Joe!’ will be available every game, just like Joe,” Pfander said.

Brian Manning, director of food and beverage for the RubberDucks, and James Phillips, executive chef for the team, came up with the sandwich. That was after Pfander and Adam Liberman, the RubberDucks marketing director, came up with the idea of honoring Thomas with an extreme food item.

Thomas “being a big guy, an offensive lineman, it just played right into the Extreme Foods Menu,” Liberman said

The RubberDucks will reveal the complete Extreme Foods Menu on April 3.

The RubberDucks Opening Day is April 13 and features a magnet schedule giveaway for the first 5,000 fans and fireworks set to music by Gloria Estefan, along with a Main Street Festival from 4 to 6 p.m.

Also Thursday, Thomas got a big hug from the city of Cleveland. The city said it has proclaimed July 3, as Joe Thomas Day! Thomas wore jersey No. 73.

Beacon Journal reporter Amanda Garrett contributed to this report. Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or [email protected]. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com and read the Akron Dish blog at http://www.ohio.com/food.

You can party with a local Irish enclave Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day.

Irish Jack’s Pub in the St. Brendan Hibernian Hall at 753 N. Main St. will host at St. Patrick’s Day party that begins with a “kegs and eggs” breakfast at 9 a.m.

The lunch and dinner menu begins at 11:30 a.m. and features corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie and Reuben sandwiches.

Music and Irish dancers will be featured all day, along with Irish dancers.

Cover charge is $5. Food is extra.

There are two Hibernian clubs in Akron: the St. Brendan Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Mark Heffernan Division of the Ancient Orders of Hibernians.

So I’m telling a friend about an upcoming food event in which the Akron Zoo will serve dishes inspired by the diets of zoo animals, and she asks: “Will they be serving smelts?”

They’re the small fish that the zoo’s Humboldt penguins eat raw.

No worries, there won’t be any smelts, or any raw meat for that matter.

“A Wild Appetite” is the name of the April 14 five-course dinner featuring what zoo spokesman Vince Jeffries says will be “a gourmet representation of what the animals would eat.” Each course also is designed to highlight efforts to protect various species.

The Akron Zoo may be a pioneer in serving up this unusual dinner, which will be served in the Komodo Kingdom and include keeper talks about the animals, their diets and conservation.

“I have done thorough research,” said Carli Molinelli, events and marketing coordinator. “Other zoos have done five-course dinners, but they haven’t done this.”

The fare “will be a little less raw food” than in the animals’ diets, said Dr. Kim Cook, chuckling. Cook is director of animal health and conservation.

Tickets are on sale now at $65 for members and $70 for nonmembers. The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.

The entree will be braised beef short ribs and shanks prepared with red wine and beef stock, inspired by the zoo’s meat-eating Sumatran tigers.

The conservation link: The tigers’ habitat is being destroyed by the expansion of the palm oil crop. Palm trees are cultivated on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and a significant portion of the deforestation in Sumatran forests is due to palm oil, scientists say.

“The whole ecosystem gets disrupted,” Cook said.

The Humboldt penguins, native to South America, do serve as inspiration for the first course of clam chowder. Penguins don’t eat clams — they don’t dive deep enough, explains Cook. But who wants smelt chowder?

This course will include information about sustainable fishing. The seafood the penguins eat is threatened by overfishing. Zoo officials want to let people know about the Seafood Watch app and site of the Monterey Bay Aquarium that includes information on what stores and restaurants serve ocean-friendly seafood.

Next up will be the “Power Greens” salad, a nod to the Galapagos tortoises’ diet.

The tortoises have been threatened by feral goats on the Galapagos Islands, an example of the disruption that can be caused by invasive species, Cook notes.

An appetizer of fried veggie chips — made with thinly sliced sweet potatoes and beets — will be served right before the short ribs.

They’re a nod to the kinkajous, mammals with woolly fur and long tails native to Central and South America. Kinkajous are an example of an animal that descended from meat-eating ancestors, but has adapted to be primarily omnivorous, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables.

The finale: Tarts, featuring blueberry yogurt in puff pastry shells and topped with fresh berries, inspired by fruit-eating birds.

Cook said patrons will learn about an Audubon Society program called Lights Out, which encourages builders and managers to turn off excessive lighting when birds are migrating. Most fly at night and can become confused by bright lights, crashing into windows or becoming exhausted from circling and falling to the ground.

Libby Busnick, food service operations supervisor, who helped come up with the menu, said the experience inspired her. She’s envisioning incorporating food with ties to conservation at other zoo events.

To order tickets, go to http://www.akronzoo.org/a-wild-appetite. It includes two drink vouchers good for beer, wine, soda or water. A cash bar also will be available.

The zoo is at 500 Edgewood Ave. Enter from Euclid Avenue.

Happy Pi Day

The American Pie Council encourages you to observe Pi Day on Wednesday. March 14 is a celebration of the mathematical constant that the ratio of any circle’s circumference divided by its diameter is always 3.14.

The council even includes a family-friendly activity kit on its website. Go to piecouncil.org/Events/NationalPieDay.

Sweet Mary’s Bakery in downtown Akron does Pi Day up big. They’ll have pie slices for $3.14 all day Wednesday, and owner Mary Hospodarsky will stock a variety of whole pies. Spinach mushroom hand pies will be the lunch special.

Sweet Mary’s also is going all out for St. Patrick’s Day, offering items like Irish soda bread, scones, lamb stew and Guinness cupcakes. One that caught my eye is a roll stuffed with colcannon, the traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes and cabbage.

The bakery is at 76 Mill St. in the Greystone building at Mill and High streets. Call 234-706-6088.

Eatin’ o’ the green

• The Blue Door Bakery & Cafe in Cuyahoga Falls whips up Irish eats all the time. The bakery/cafe makes scones (big ones) daily, which are available in the cafe and the drive-through, where patrons can get a scone and Angel Falls coffee special for $5. Owner Michael Bruno makes scones with heavy cream, which he says makes them lighter.

Another staple at Blue Door is hash made with cabbage and nitrate-free corned beef. Blue Door is at 1970 State Road, 330-926-9774.

• Joe Gallagher, chef and co-owner of D’Agnese’s Trattoria & Cafe in West Akron and an authentic Irishman, is offering his special Irish week menu through Sunday. It features shepherd’s pie, smoked salmon on potato pancake, corned beef sandwiches and dinners, boxty (potato pancake stuffed with savory goodies) and more. D’Agnese’s is at 566 White Pond Drive, 234-678-3612.

• 35° Brix in Green has an Irish menu through Sunday, with corned beef poutine, corned beef and cabbage sliders, cabbage rolls and smoked sausage and Irish beef stew. 35° Brix is at 3875 Massillon Road in Green, 330-899-9200.

• The Ido Bar & Grill will feature specials through Saturday, including baked potato soup, boxty, shepherd’s pie and corned beef and cabbage. The Ido is at 1537 S. Main St. in Akron’s Firestone Park, 330-773-1724.

• Ken Stewart’s Grille in Akron will feature the band Callahan and O’Connor from 1 to 5 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. The menu will include Guinness cheese soup, fish and chips, corned beef hash, and Guinness glazed salmon. The restaurant is at 1970 W. Market St., 330-867-2555.

• Brubaker’s Pub is offering a free shuttle Saturday between all six of its locations. Each will have bagpipes and Irish dancers at some point in the day. For information, go to the Brubaker’s Pub Facebook page.

• The United Methodist Church of Uniontown will host its Community Cabbage Roll Dinner from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. Dinner is $11 for adults, $6 for children ages 4 through 12, $15 for cabbage roll six-packs.

The church is at 13370 Cleveland Ave. NW, 330-699-3587. Find a coupon at http://www.uniontownchurch.com or http://www.facebook.com/umcuucla.

New at Stan Hywet

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron is adding a culinary garden this season near the Corbin Conservatory. Stan Hywet said in a release about its 2018 plans that the garden will feature plants used for cooking and medicinal purposes.

The season begins April 3, though there is an egg hunt for children on the grounds March 31. Breakfast with Bunny & Friends that day is sold out. For information, go to http://www.stanhywet.org. Stan Hywet is at 714 N. Portage Path in Akron.

Rustic Barrel closes

The Rustic Barrel, 5075 Dressler Road NW in the Belden Village area of Jackson Township, has closed. The sports bar had only been open since last fall, taking the place of the Tilted Kilt.

There’s no official word on the company’s website, though there is no answer at the phone number listed at the establishment. Rustic Barrel locations in Columbus and Florence, Ky., also appear to have closed.

I don’t have any information concerning gift cards. When restaurants close, those with gift certificates often are left in the lurch.

Coming to Medina

In case you missed it, the Main Street Cafe has closed after 31 years on Medina’s square.

Taking its place this spring will be 17 Public Square (the building’s address), according to https://17publicsquare.com and its Facebook site.

The Medina Gazette reported that Ryan Rose, CEO and president of Romeo’s Pizza, will operate it. Rose could not be reached for comment at press time.

Sam Livingston wrote on his Funky Cold Medina Ohio Facebook page: “The new owner is a Medina guy … well versed in the restaurant business and has some great plans ahead. He is going to source food locally looking to purchase produce from the farmers market on the square … he wants to pair a really diverse menu with affordability.”

Livingston said Rose is the son-in-law of Main Street Cafe owner Gary Quesada.

Greek bake sale

It’s baaaaaack.

The Spring Bake Sale at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Akron runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 28 and 29; it wasn’t held last year because of kitchen renovations.

The sale is held the Wednesday and Thursday before Western Easter, which this year is April 1.

Church members have been baking up a storm and will offer popular Greek pastries including baklava, galaktoboureko, Easter bread and ready-to-bake spinach pies and cheese pies.

The sale is organized by the Ladies’ Philoptochos (lovers of the poor) Society of Annunciation, which donates proceeds to charities.

On March 29, you can buy lunch at the church’s weekly Gyro Thursdays lunch beginning at 11 a.m. The church is at 129 S. Union St., Akron, adjacent to the University of Akron.

Palm Sunday Bazaar

But wait, there’s more made-from-scratch food for sale, at the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church in Akron’s Firestone Park.

On March 25, Easter goodies such as Paska bread, kielbasa, ham, butter lambs, beet/horseradish relish and various kolatchi rolls will be offered at the Palm Sunday Bazaar from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The bazaar will begin after divine liturgy at the church, 1866 Brown St., one block north of Waterloo Road.

Watch a demonstration of the wax-resist method of decorating pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs), which will be offered for sale. A dine-in lunch of kielbasa sandwiches with sauerkraut, pierogi and baked goods also will be available.

Meal at Crown Point

You can still get in on Thursday’s installment of the Local to Global healthy dinner series at Crown Point Ecology Center in Bath.

The 6 p.m. dinner will feature vegetarian dishes prepared by Lina AlDuroobi and Rasha Wahbi, sisters-in-law and Iraq refugees who are associated with the nonprofit Local Abundance Kitchen, which works with refugees and other immigrants to offer cooking classes and workshops.

They will share stories about growing up in Iraq, their early cooking experiences and moving to America.

Cost is $45, including wine. Call 330-668-8992, ext. 106, for reservations. Crown Point is at 3220 Ira Road and is a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, http://www.crownpt.org.

Samples, sips

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

• 111 Bistro will host a Private Reserve Wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. March 22. Cost is $75. 111 Bistro is at 2736 Medina Road (state Route 18), in Montville Township. Phone is 330-952-1122.

• Galaxy Restaurant in Wadsworth will highlight the wines of the Piedmont region in northwest Italy at a seven-course dinner at 7 p.m. March 22.

Wine director Anthony Quinn will present wines paired with courses including a salad featuring burrata (a fresh Italian cheese) and heirloom tomatoes, antipasto with chevre, pan-seared halibut and ribeye steak.

Cost is $85, plus tax and tip. For reservations, go to galaxyrestaurant.com or call 330-334-3663. The Galaxy is at 201 Park Centre Drive, off state Route 94 and Interstate 76.

• West Point Market will host a Tour of Europe wine tasting featuring 20 wines, light appetizers, cheeses, bread and “something sweet” at 7 p.m. March 23. Cost is $40. Call 330-864-2151, ext. 405, to sign up. Space is limited. West Point is at 33 Shiawassee Ave., north of West Market Street in Fairlawn.

• Seven Courses of Kent on April 22 is sold out. Looking ahead, Main Street Kent’s Art & Wine Festival, featuring food trucks, vendors and Ohio wine, will run from noon to 9 p.m. June 2.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or [email protected].