Marcus Harris is coming home — to cook chicken and waffles, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and more.

You may have read my story last week that Harris, owner of Marques restaurant in downtown Canton, is planning to open a second eatery in Akron’s new East End development.

Today, we bring you some more details. Also, we have information on West Point Market, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization this spring, trimming its hours.

Also, we bring you the scoop — swirl? — on Dairy Queen owners in our area who are connected to the 100-plus-year-old Warther Cutlery company in Dover. The Dairy Queen operators are getting ready to open their third location — in Copley Township on Restaurant Hill off state Route 18.

And there’s more — including a reminder that the Taste of Ireland fest is this weekend at Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron.

Let’s dive in. We’ll start with the Marques restaurant scheduled to open early next year in the East End, the mixed-use redevelopment of the former world headquarters campus of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. The restaurant will locate in the historic Goodyear Hall, home of the music venue called Goodyear Theater.

Harris, the chef as well as the owner of the Marques in Canton, which specializes in southern food, said he has long wanted to run a place in Akron, his hometown.

“I love the location [on East Market Street at East End], plus it’s 15 minutes from my house,” Harris, 56, said earlier this week, after a lunch rush at his Canton Marques restaurant.

In Akron, Harris plans to attract lots of residents of East End’s 100-plus apartments, as well as employees at nearby businesses, guests at the development’s Hilton Garden Inn and those going to concerts at Goodyear Theater.

Plus, he said, he has many Akron-area customers who will find it more convenient to drive to East End than to Canton.

Harris said he’d been looking for a place in the Akron area, and didn’t want to land in Fairlawn or the Montrose retail area. “Too saturated” with places to eat, he said.

Sam DeShazior, Akron’s deputy mayor for economic development, told him about available space at East End, and some months later Harris signed a lease.

“The potential and opportunity is there,” he said. “To be in on the ground floor, that’s where the excitement is.”

Harris said he initially was unsure of locating in East End.

“I’m a westsider [living in Northwest Akron],” Harris explained.

“But after I did the tour, the bug hit me [about the new development]. They’re trying to do make the East End an entity by itself,” providing services to businesses, as well as the apartment dwellers.

Harris had earlier in the day made four big pans of macaroni and cheese and was preparing to make his eatery’s signature dessert, sweet potato bars (sort of like sweet potato pie and with a secret recipe crust).

He opened the Canton Marques in 2015 in space at 111 Cleveland Ave. SW that had seen quite a few eateries come and go.

He’s drawn a following with his southern fare he said is influenced by Creole and Cajun eats.

He’s planning to offer all the items on the Canton menu. Customer favorite entrees include jambalaya, shrimp and grits, blackened fish, and blackened chicken and chicken and waffles.

The Akron location will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner as the Canton site does, he said.

East End owner Industrial Realty Group of Los Angeles revealed last week that Harris had signed a lease and that the development had landed two other new commercial tenants: Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt and Starbucks.

The Starbucks and Handel’s, meanwhile, will be in a three-tenant strip center that will be built by IRG at East Market and Cook streets, adjacent to Goodyear Hall and the Hilton Garden Inn.

Construction is to begin this week, and the center is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2019.

Leonard Fisher is the franchise owner of the planned East End Handel’s. The regional ice cream chain is based in Canfield, outside Youngstown. The Starbucks will be operated by AVI Food Systems Inc. of Warren.

Bob Ovesny, a vice president with IRG Realty Advisors, the property management arm of East End’s owners, told me he’s been busy marketing the space in the former bank space in Goodyear Hall to local restaurateurs as well as those involved with regional chains. He’s shown the space to potential users, but no one has yet signed a lease.

The East End apartments are more than 90 percent occupied, he said.

Earlier this month, husband and wife Chris and Stephanie Surak said they plan to open Eighty-Three Brewery, a production brewery, tasting room and eatery at East End, also at Goodyear Hall.

These businesses are not the first retail tenants at East End, as I said last week, but they are the first food/beverage spots to be announced. LaBelle’s Barber Parlor, offering hot towel shaves, opened more than six months ago at Goodyear Hall.

Store hours

Beginning this past Monday, West Point Market in Fairlawn is open five days a week, instead of seven.

Also, Killer Brownies are back.

New new hours for the family-owned specialty grocery at 33 Shiawassee Ave. in Fairlawn will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The store — and its Beside the Point wine/craft beer bar at one end of the building — will be closed Sunday and Monday.

And West Point owner Rick Vernon reminded me this week that West Point’s signature Killer Brownies are back with the completion of the grocery’s highly anticipated onsite bakery.

The Original Killer Brownies are available for purchase in four varieties; original, no-nut, peanut butter and raspberry.

In filing for Chapter 11 reorganization in May, West Point cited financial problems exacerbated by delays in opening a critically needed in-store bakery.

By being open five days a week, store employees will have more time to prepare the foods and stock the store, West Point said in an email to customers and a post on its Facebook site. The grocery Point generates a significant amount of revenue from prepared foods.

On Tuesdays, Brownie Points card holders will get 10 percent off the purchase of freshly made items.

In May, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Russ Kendig in Canton approved West Point Market’s motions seeking orders that are allowing the business to stay open.

Those rulings included allowing the supermarket to continue paying wages and benefits to employees; using its bank accounts; using cash collateral; and operating customer programs.

The judge also approved a motion prohibiting utilities from cutting off services.

West Point Market closed in 2015 at its longtime Akron Wallhaven neighborhood location and reopened in late 2016 at the Fairlawn site.

West Point’s phone is 330-864-2151.

Ice cream treat

Kurt and Karl Warther, whose great-grandfather started Warther Cutlery in Dover, are going a different direction.

After working at the family business, they struck out on their own several years ago and together with a partner took over the Dairy Queen site at 715 Portage Trail in Cuyahoga Falls.

Then in 2015, the Warthers and their partner, Karl’s brother-in-law, Aaron Haller, took over the Dairy Queen at 3645 Fishcreek Road in Stow.

Now, the three plan to open a Dairy Queen at the Montrose site of the former Burger King on Restaurant Hill, home of the Outback Steakhouse, motels and other eateries. They hope to begin serving ice cream and other treats, along with savory items in late September or early October.

Kurt Warther, 30, said he’s been a Dairy Queen fan since he was growing up in Dover, where there was a shop. It later moved to a nearby town.

His favorite sweet DQ treat is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard.

Confession time: While traveling, I have been known to skip a highway exit, even though nature is calling, in favor of an exit with a Dairy Queen for a chocolate soft serve cone and a chili cheese dog.

Irish celebration

A Taste of Ireland will run Friday and Saturday at Lock 3 Park off South Main Street in downtown Akron.
It’s the first time area Hibernian clubs have teamed up to celebrate the motherland at the city-owned venue. Gates open at 6 p.m. Friday and at noon Saturday.

Serving Irish eats, including shepherd’s pie, will be Stray Dog Carts & Condiments and Fresche Catering. Spinelli’s menu will include onion rings and mozzarella sticks.

Jameson Irish Whiskey tastings will be available both days, along with language lessons, hurling demonstrations and history displays. Cigars will be available for sale. If you want to smoke ’em at the fest you’ll need to go to a designated area. Irish goods also will be sold. UPDATE Wednesday – Aug. 15 – a.m.: I just heard from a member of the festival’s organizing committee that there won’t be any cigars as the cigar vendor backed out at the last minute due to “family/staffing issues.”

Additionally, there is a website with the event’s complete schedule at irishinakron.com. The Akron Children’s Museum at Lock 3 will provide free children’s activities from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday. And here’s the beer lineup: Guinness, Harp, Irish Setter Red (made by Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. in Akron) and Miller products.

Music on Friday will include Desire: The International U2 Tribute Act. Entertainment on Saturday will include local Irish musicians (1 p.m. at Lock 3) and the MacConmara Irish Dance troupe (2 p.m. at Lock 4).

Admission is free. You pay for food and children’s inflatables. More information is at http://lock3live.com.

Subs for a year

Ohio-based Original Steaks & Hoagies will give away free cheesesteaks for a year to the first 50 people in line when it opens its new location in Jackson Township at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

The restaurant at 4460 Belden Village St. NW serves authentic Philly cheesesteaks and Italian specialty sandwiches.

Local co-owner is Jeff Wiseman.

Spaghetti dinner

Eat Italian at the Polish American Citizens Club of Akron from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The Polish spaghetti dinner will feature spaghetti, meatballs, bread, salad, dessert and coffee or tea. Cost is $9 for adults and $4 for children. Tickets will be available at the door. Call 330-253-0496. The club is at 472 E. Glenwood Ave. in Akron (entrance on Dan Street).

Calendar check

Oktoberfest news … yeah, Oktoberfest is celebrated in September.

• Members of the German Family Society in Brimfield Township already have been cooking and freezing eats for the organization’s annual Oktoberfest Sept. 7-9.

German fare such as schnitzel, cabbage rolls, rotisserie chicken German franks, hot pretzels, corn on the cob will be on the menu at the festival on the grounds of the German Family Society in Brimfield Township. The society’s complex is at 3871 Ranfield Road in Brimfield Township, south of Interstate 76.

Beer, dancing and polka bands also are stars. An outdoor Biergarten and a Jäger tent (featuring the German liqueur) will be available for adults. Attractions and games for children will be offered Sunday, though each day is billed as family-friendly. The Kuchen Haus (cake house) will be stocked with German pastries.

Hours are 6 p.m. to midnight Sept. 7, 3 to 11 p.m. Sept. 8, and noon to 7 p.m. Sept. 9, when there will be activities for children. Admission is $5, ages 12 or younger free. Call 330-678-8229 or go to http://www.germanfamilysociety.com.

• The Ido Bar & Grill’s Oktoberfest menu will run Sept. 17 through Oct. 6.

The Ido is at 1537 S. Main St. at Ido Avenue. Call 330-773-1724 or go to http://www.idobar.com.

Homegrown festival

Ohio-produced arts, crafts and food will be showcased at Hale Farm & Village in Bath at the Made in Ohio Arts & Crafts Festival from noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 31 (a Friday) 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 1 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 2.

The $5 admission fee includes one day admission to the art festival as well as the grounds, buildings and period craft demonstrations at Hale Farm & Village, a collection of historic structures in Bath Township that helps visitors experience what life was like in Northeast Ohio in the 19th century. (Regular admission to Hale Farm is $10.)

Hale Farm & Village is at 2686 Oak Hill Road.

For information on the festival, go to http://www.madeinohiofestival.com.

Events

• Papa Joe’s, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road, in the Merriman Valley will host a five-course Burgess Wine Dinner at 7 p.m. Saturday. Steve Burgess will be on hand; his father, the late Tom Burgess, a native of Cuyahoga Falls, launched Burgess Cellars in Napa Valley in 1972. Reds and one white will be featured. Cost is $95. Call 330-923-7999 for reservations.

• The Akron Zoo’s second annual “Wild for Wine” tasting will run 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 25 with local wines and appetizers.

Cost is $45 for zoo members and $50 for nonmembers. Designated drivers are $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers. The zoo will be open and the event will go on rain or shine. Visit http://www.akronzoo.org or call 330-375-2550, ext. 7230, for tickets. This event sold out last year

Here’s the wineries who have signed up so far: Winery at Wolf Creek (Copley Township), Troutman Vineyards (outside Wooster), Gervasi Vineyard (Canton), Filia Cellars (outside Wadsworth), Naughty Vine (Green); Barrel Run Crossing Winery & Vineyard (Rootstown Township); and Hi & Low Winery in Sharon Township.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a six-course bourbon dinner at 7 p.m. Aug. 23.

The dinner will feature six “hard to come by bourbon pours,” paired with food. Cost is $79. Call 330-899-9200 for reservations. See the 35° Brix Facebook page for a listing of the bourbons.

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

Eat your vegetables!

In Bhutan, that could very well be an admonishment to eat hot peppers.

But the country, as a whole, needs no coaxing. The Bhutanese love their peppers, and for many, the hotter the better.

So what better way to celebrate the area’s Bhutanese community than with a hot pepper fest, thought Tom Crain and Bhakta Rizal, both of Akron. Rizal is originally from Bhutan and emigrated in the late 1990s from Nepal, where he was living in a refugee camp.

The Hot Summer Celebration will run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Patterson Park Community Center in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood. The event will feature appetizers from Everest Nepali and Indian Restaurant in Cuyahoga Falls, a pepper-eating contest and hottest pepper competition.

Have no fear, those of you not in love with hot peppers: The food will be on the milder side unless you choose to spice it up.

“Back in our country, every meal has peppers,” Rizal said last week as he stood in a garden off East Tallmadge Avenue in Akron planted with squash, okra, corn, other veggies and of course peppers. Lots of peppers, including cayenne, Anaheim and Naga Viper (a hot, hot pepper grown from seeds brought here by another immigrant).

Admission to the festival is free. You pay a suggested $20 donation to eat and participate in activities, including the pepper-eating or hottest-pepper contest.

Get tickets at https://bit.ly/2JOtvQo or at the door. Patterson Park is at 800 Patterson Ave., north of East Tallmadge Avenue. Proceeds go to the nonprofit Shanti Community Farms, which Rizal and Crain founded last year.

Important vegetable

Last week, Rizal showed off rows and rows of pepper plants in the garden, operated by Shanti, and noted, “In Bhutan, if you don’t have a pepper, that meal is incomplete,” Rizal said.

“Peppers are a main vegetable” in Bhutan, Crain said, “kind of like tomatoes are to us.”

Rizal added, “Bhutan is very, very cold [in the winter]. It’s at the foothills of the Himalayas. So that’s why people like hot peppers. They create heat [in the body].”

Chili peppers originated in South America and likely first were introduced in India hundreds of years ago, and then Bhutan, Rizal said.

The fest also will include a bamboo splitting contest and dart throwing, included in the $20 donation.

Dart-throwing is big at gatherings in Bhutan. (You can check out videos on YouTube.) On Friday, the target will be a snake gourd grown in the Shanti garden.

All of the peppers used in Friday’s food preparation will come from the garden. Dishes will include chicken curry with mild peppers; beans mixed with potatoes, cauliflower and mild peppers; and momo (Nepali dumplings) with mild, medium and hot sauces.

Attendees can tour the half-acre garden, planted on an empty lot that Rizal bought from the Summit County Land Bank. It’s near the International Institute, which serves the local refugee population, including many Bhutanese.

Shanti Community Farms is a way for Bhutanese who have settled in Akron to participate in community gardening, staying connected to their agrarian culture, Crain and Rizal explained.

Vegetables are sold at a farmers market. Earlier this summer, Rizal and Crain, with a grant from Akron Community Foundation, operated a summer camp in which children received tutoring and then visited the garden for more learning.

In addition to being a fundraiser for Shanti (“peace” in Nepali and Hindi), the fest is designed to bring awareness to the local Bhutanese population. Many came here through the federal refugee resettlement program after living for years in camps in Nepal.

Growing population

From 2007 to 2017, about 2,700 refugees from Bhutan came to Akron. Others who had settled elsewhere moved to Akron to be near family and friends. Crain estimates that as many as 6,000 Bhutanese live in the Akron area, many in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood.

Rizal, 46, was in his 20s when he moved from a refugee camp in Nepal to California to attend a teaching program. He later sought asylum and lived in Seattle, where he operated group homes, before moving to Akron in 2014 to be near family. Today he tutors at an area school.

Rizal met Crain at a Cuyahoga Falls Bhutanese festival. Crain is a lover of Asian cultures, having traveled to the continent frequently in his previous career in public relations.

Attendees to the festival can check out the bamboo fence that fronts the garden on Tallmadge Avenue, built by Bhutanese men. Crain and Rizal would like to involve the men in other bamboo-building projects in the area.

Rizal said some older Bhutanese men become depressed when they can’t pick up the language well enough to hold factory or warehouse jobs. Gardening and bamboo-building are outlets for them.

For information about Shanti Community Farms, go to https://shantifarms.org. The organization will host a soccer tournament Aug. 25-26 at Cascade Valley Metro Park in Akron. It will draw local Bhutanese as well as those from outside the area. Information will be available on the website.

More food trucks

Akron Child Guidance & Family Solutions continues its Wednesday food truck rallies in the parking lot at North Forge and East Market in downtown Akron.

This week, organizers will celebrate six years of the lunches with “Still Trucking” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There will be pop-up shops and live music along with the trucks A Movable Feast, Slop Truck, Sassy Dogs and Nom Nom Popcorn & Cupcakes.

The rallies, featuring a handful of trucks each week, began on Fridays in 2013 and moved to Wednesdays this year.

Wednesday’s event will mark the debut of A Movable Feast, a new venture of Shawn Sweeney, Mark Williams and Angela Kukla. The menu will feature Hawaiian poke bowls (deconstructed sushi of sorts), street corn, brisket and more.

Admission is free. You pay for food. The Wednesday rallies run through Sept. 5.

Child Guidance also hosts its ninth annual Growing Up Akron casual fundraising event from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Thirsty Dog’s brewery, 529 Grant St., Akron.

The fundraiser features beers, music by Roxxymoron and food from local favorites such as Swensons, Diamond Deli, Hartville Potato Chips, Mary Coyle Ice Cream, Tiffany’s Bakery, DiFeo’s Catering, Gino’s Pizza, Norka soda and the Pierogi Lady.

Earlier this year, Thirsty Dog opened a taproom, at 587 Grant St., a few doors down; Growing Up Akron will be in the brewery.

Tickets start at $60 at http://www.cgfs.org/events. Child Guidance & Family Solutions helps children and families with mental, emotional and behavioral health problems.

Taste of Ireland

The Irish are coming to Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron.

A Taste of Ireland will run Aug. 17-18 at the park off South Main Street. It’s the first time area Hibernian clubs have teamed up to celebrate the motherland at the city-owned venue. Gates open at 6 p.m. Aug. 17 and at noon Aug. 18.

Food vendors will be Stray Dog Carts & Condiments, Spinelli’s catering and Fresche Catering, all of Akron.

Stray Dog will serve shepherd’s pie and corned beef and cabbage. Fresche will also offer shepherd’s pie, plus Irish mac and cheese. Spinelli’s menu will include onion rings and mozzarella sticks.

Jameson Irish Whiskey tastings will be available both days, along with language lessons, hurling demonstrations and history displays. Apparently cigars go with Jameson, so an area will be designated for cigars, which will be available for sale, along with Irish goods.

Music on Friday will include the International U2 Tribute Act. Entertainment on Saturday will include local Irish musicians (1 p.m. at Lock 3) and the MacConmara Irish Dance troupe (2 p.m. at Lock 4).

Admission is free. You pay for food and children’s inflatables. More information is at http://lock3live.com.

Coffee contest

Muggswigz Coffee and Tea Co. will host one of 10 preliminary rounds of the U.S. Coffee Championships this weekend in Canton.

The competition takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at 137 Walnut Ave. NE. Baristas will serve espresso beverages for judges to review.

For more, go to http://www.uscoffeechampionships.org. Also Saturday and Sunday, the shop will host “Celebrating the Craft,” with crafts and live music. Helping with the event are Visit Canton, Arts in Stark, Hartzler Family Dairy in Wooster and Brioso Roastery and Coffee Bar in Columbus.

Phone for the Canton store is 330-452-6336.

Alexander Haas opened the Canton site in 2003, when he was just 24. It’s a coffee shop, roaster and wholesaler. Other locations are in the Portage Lakes and Jackson Township.

Tomato sandwiches

It’s time for tomato sandwiches.

That’s the word from Dan Julian, of Julian’s cafe in Akron’s Goodyear Heights.

The cafe is celebrating its 20th year, and tomato sandwiches have long been a staple this time of year. They’re far from fancy: sliced tomatoes, lettuce and a squirt of mayo on white bread. They cost $5.50, up slightly from last year, with chips and a pickle. Bacon or cheese are extra.

The cafe is at 314 Pioneer St. Call 330-798-0043. Hours are 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Hot dog eatery

Edd Pritchard of GateHouse Media’s Canton Repository wrote this week about the new Hartville location of Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe, a popular regional franchise in the Pittsburgh area.

Jerry Phillis brought the chain to Hartville earlier this year at 808 W. Maple St. in the Edison Park Plaza.

Brighton hot dogs are a favorite of Indians manager Terry Francona. He grew up in New Brighton, Pa., where the first shop opened in 1959.

To read Pritchard’s report, go to https://bit.ly/2OjaW9r.

Medina Fest

The Medina Fest will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 25 on Public Square with food, live music, a business showcase, the farmers market, the PNC Bank Mobile Learning Adventure and more.

It replaces the Medina International Fest and is one of many events marking the city’s 200th birthday. Go to http://www.mainstreetmedina.com.

Local events

• Papa Joe’s, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road, will host a five-course Burgess Wine Dinner at 7 p.m. Aug. 18. Cost is $95. Call 330-923-7999 for reservations.

• The Akron Zoo’s second annual “Wild for Wine” tasting will run 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 25. Cost is $45 for zoo members and $50 for nonmembers. Designated drivers are $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Visit http://www.akronzoo.org or call 330-375-2550, ext. 7230, for tickets.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a six-course bourbon dinner at 7 p.m. Aug. 23. Cost is $79. Call 330-899-9200 for reservations.

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.

Lebanese flags — red and white with a green Lebanon cedar tree — lined the church driveway.

Inside, parishioners were preparing more than 700 bunches of curly-leaf parsley for washing and chopping later this week. Some will end up in tabbouleh (parsley, bulgur wheat and tomato salad), some in other dishes.

It’s almost time for the big Lebanese Festival, a celebration of food and culture now in its 30th year, at Our Lady of the Cedars Maronite Catholic Church at 507 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road in Fairlawn.

This year’s event, running 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, features an expanded food lineup, dancing, music and more, including an outdoor hookah bar. Earlier this week, the hookah water pipes (used to smoke tobacco) were lined up on a table in the church hall, ready for action.

“We do this to bring our culture here … the food, the music, the working together as a community,” festival chairwoman Violette Shamatta said.

Shamatta, 46, of Medina, immigrated to the United States when she was 6 years old.

“Many of our children have not been to Lebanon. … I have not gone back to Lebanon” to visit, she said.

Helping to overseeing the food is parishioner Fares Jasser, who owns The Boulevard in Cuyahoga Falls.

Lamb shish kabobs will join beef kabobs on the menu. Roasted lamb shanks are back. They made their first appearance last year and were a big hit.

Also new this year is sayadieh, an all-in-one fish and rice dish. Volunteers will lightly fry fish fillets with onions, adding spices and layering the fish with rice before topping with pine nuts and toasted almonds.

“It’s served with tahini [sesame] sauce and pita chips,” said parishioner Hanan Khoury of Medina Township. “It’s really delicious.”

Her husband, Kamil, owns Cedars Deli in Brunswick.

At the festival, there will be the usual baked kibbeh (shells of bulgur wheat stuffed with spiced minced meat), falafel sandwiches (vegetarian patties made with a chickpea mixture), beef shawarma sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, kafta (spiced ground beef), hummus and a big array of pastries, including baklava and macaroon cookies.

One of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes is returning: mujadara, lentils and rice with caramelized onions.

Spinach and meat

Cooking began in May, with items such as grape leaves and fatayer — spinach pies and meat pies — prepared by church members and then frozen.

Church member Eleanor Abraham, 93, of Fairlawn, has been involved with the festival for all of its 30 years.

“I like to be with all our friends, people of the parish, helping out,” Abraham said, noting that some parishioners grew up in the church, and their parents were friends. “We’re just part of a big family.”

Her parents came to the United States from Lebanon in the 1920s, and she worked as a clerk at one of the Akron tire companies.

She stressed: “It’s just not the older people” helping. “We have middle-aged people, young people. There’s a bunch of us.”

Her daughter-in-law, Mary Beth Abraham, heads up the preparation of the pastries, and is known as the “baklava queen.”

Parishioner Tom Jesser said a former priest was instrumental in starting the festival in 1989, about three years after the church had moved from a location that is now part of the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center complex. The priest saw the festival as a way to bring the church family together and share the Lebanese culture with the community while raising money for the church’s upkeep.

These days, membership is around 150 families. It’s not a big congregation, but it’s a close-knit one, members say.

In addition to the food, music will be provided by DJs. Attendees can learn how to do the dabke, a line/circle folk dance, and there’s a silent auction and Auntie’s Attic rummage sale.

Seating will be available inside and outside. Food for pickup between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday can be ordered online at olclebanesefestival.com.

For information, see that website or the Our Lady of the Cedars Lebanese Festival Facebook page.

Local Food Guide

A local group is making it easier to eat local.

The nonprofit Summit Food Coalition on Monday released its Local Food Guide, a listing of Akron-area farmers markets, farm markets (based at a specific farm) and pick-your-own farms.

“We hope this will enable you to buy direct from our area growers on a regular basis — or for the very first time,” Beth Knorr, the coalition’s director, says in the introduction to the 30-page plus guide.

The guide lists 16 farmers markets, all in Summit County, eight farm markets and four pick-your-own offerings. For each farmers market, the guide includes location, days of the week, dates, website and more.

It also includes farm share programs, also called CSAs for community-supported agriculture. These programs allow the buyer to share in a farm’s yield for the season.

The guide can be found at local farmers markets; the Farmer’s Rail butcher shop at 1572 N. Cleveland-Massillon Road in Bath; Akron Coffee Roasters at 30 N. High St. in downtown Akron; the Akron-Summit County Public Library’s Main Library, 60 S. High St., Akron; and the coalition’s website: summitfoodcoalition.org/farmers-markets.

To mark the guide’s release, the coalition is asking community members to participate in Local Food Advocacy Day on Tuesday, become a member and attend the group’s community meeting Aug. 22. For information, go to summitfoodcoalition.org/membership.

Markets include well-known, established ones — such as the Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park — and new ones, such as the North Akron Market.

The North Akron Market runs from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 29 at 761 N. Main St. The Countryside Farmers Market runs from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 27 at 4040 Riverview Road in Cuyahoga Falls.

The guide notes which markets accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits and which ones offer Produce Perks. This program allows customers using the SNAP/Ohio Direction Card to receive matching funds to buy additional fresh fruit and vegetables.

The food coalition seeks to improve access to healthful, local food. It also promotes economic opportunities for Summit farmers and food entrepreneurs through education and policy initiatives.

The coalition is a partnership that includes Summit County Public Health, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and the Akron-Summit County Public Library. Workers in the Main Library’s science and technology division helped with put the guide together.

The guide does not include markets outside Summit County, such as the Haymaker Farmers’ Market in Kent, now in its 26th season. It’s the oldest in the region, running 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 27 on Franklin Avenue, under the Haymaker overpass between Main and Summit streets.

Hot time on North Hill

The Hot Summer Celebration, a hot pepper fest and a fundraiser for Shanti Community Farms in Akron, will run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 10 at Patterson Park in the city’s North Hill neighborhood.

Why hot peppers? They’re a favorite of Bhutanese people and Shanti Community Farms helps Bhutanese who have settled in Akron operate community gardens. Peppers from a Shanti garden will be among those at the event.

The event will feature appetizers — not all spicy — from Everest Nepali and Indian Restaurant in Cuyahoga Falls, a pepper-eating contest and hottest pepper competition.

Cost is $20, which includes food and activities like a bamboo splitting contest and snake gourd dart throw, as well as musical performances. Suggested donation to enter the pepper-eating contest or the pepper-judging contest is $10 each.

Get tickets at https://bit.ly/2JOtvQo. Patterson Park is at 800 Patterson Ave., north of East Tallmadge Avenue. It is near the International Institute of Akron, which has worked to resettle Bhutanese refugees in the area.

For more on Shanti Community Farms, go to https://shantifarms.org.

We’ll have more on the Hot Summer Celebration next week.

Taste of Earth

Crown Point Ecology Center’s 20th annual Taste of Earth dinner and auction will be at 5 p.m. Aug. 18 on the grounds at 3220 Ira Road in Bath.

Festivities will begin with cocktails and appetizers and a silent auction. A four-course dinner will follow, featuring fresh organic veggies from Crown Point’s gardens. Hudson’s restaurant is catering the event for the fifth year.

To request an invitation or to purchase raffle tickets, call Ellen Otto at 330-668-8992, ext. 106, or email her at [email protected].

Proceeds benefit the general fund. Crown Point is a nonprofit farmstead offering sustainable agriculture programs. It is a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

Have a sip or two

• Papa Joe’s, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road, in the Merriman Valley will host a five-course Burgess Wine Dinner at 7 p.m. Aug. 18. Steve Burgess will be on hand; his father, the late Tom Burgess, a native of Cuyahoga Falls, launched Burgess Cellars in Napa Valley in 1972. Reds and one white will be featured. Cost is $95. Call 330-923-7999 for reservations.

• The Akron Zoo’s second annual “Wild for Wine” tasting will run 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 25 with local wines and appetizers.

Cost is $45 for zoo members and $50 for nonmembers. Designated drivers are $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers. The zoo will be open and the event will go on rain or shine. Visit http://www.akronzoo.org or call 330-375-2550, ext. 7230, for tickets. This event sold out last year.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a six-course bourbon dinner at 7 p.m. Aug. 23.

The dinner will feature six “hard to come by bourbon pours,” paired with food. Cost is $79. Call 330-899-9200 for reservations. See the 35° Brix Facebook page for a listing of the bourbons.

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

A local group is making it easier to eat local.

The nonprofit Summit Food Coalition on Monday released it’s Local Food Guide — a listing of Akron area farmers markets, farm markets (where the sales are for a specific farm) and pick-your-own farms.

“We hope this will enable you to buy direct from our area growers on a regular basis — or for the very first time,” Beth Knorr, the coalition’s director says in the introduction to the 30-page plus guide.

The guide lists 16 farmers markets, all in Summit County, as well as eight farm markets and four pick-your-own offerings.

The guide also includes a listing of farm share programs, which also are called CSAs, for community-supported agriculture. These programs allow the buyer to share in a farm’s yield for the season.

For each farmers market, the guide includes location, days of the week, dates, website and more.

The guide can be found at local farmers markets, the Farmer’s Rail butcher shop at 1572 N Cleveland Massillon Road in Bath; Akron Coffee Roasters at 30 N. High St. in downtown Akron; the Akron-Summit County Public Library and on Summit Food Coalition’s website: summitfoodcoalition.org/farmers-markets.

To mark the guide’s release, the coalition is asking community members to participate in Local Food Advocacy Day on Tuesday and become a member of the coalition and attend the group’s community meeting Aug. 22.

For more information, go to summitfoodcoalition.org/membership.

Markets include well-known, established ones — such as the Countryside Farmer’s Market at Howe Meadow in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park — and new markets, such as the North Akron Market.

The North Akron Market runs from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 29 at 761 N. Main St. The Countryside Farmers Market runs 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 27 at 4040 Riverview Road in Cuyahoga Falls.

The guide says which markets accept SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] benefits and which ones offer Produce Perks. This program allows customers using the SNAP/Ohio Direction Card to receive matching funds to buy additional fresh fruit and vegetables.

The food coalition seeks to improve access to healthful, local food. It also promotes economic opportunities for Summit farmers and food entrepreneurs through education and policy initiatives.

The coalition is a partnership that includes Summit County Public Health, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and the Akron-Summit County Public Library. Workers in the main Akron-Summit library’s science and technology division helped with put the guide together.

The guide does not include markets outside Summit County, such as the Haymaker Farmer’s Market in Kent, now in its 26th season. It’s the oldest farmers market in the region, running 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through October n Franklin Avenue, under the Haymaker overpass between College and Summit streets.

Read Akron Dish in Wednesday’s Beacon Journal and at Ohio.com for more local food scene news.

The popular annual outdoor grub fest known as Taste of Akron is Thursday evening.

The smorgasbord, which will run from 6 to 10 p.m. at Hardesty Park in Wallhaven (where it always is), will feature about 30 restaurants, food trucks and other purveyors. Patrons buy tickets for $2 each, and food samples cost one, two or three tickets.

This year, you won’t have to hunt for a parking spot on one of the neighboring streets. Off-site parking will be available at Rubber City Radio at 1795 W. Market St., west of Hawkins Avenue. A shuttle will run between the lot and the park.

Also new: Norka will be the only soda pop sold. Norka (Akron backward) is the iconic brand that Michael Considine revived in 2015. So don’t look for any Pepsi, Coke or other national brand.

“We wanted to feature an Akron business,” Akron community event coordinator Laurie Chenevey said this week.

Attendees will be able to find Norka at two or more stations, but don’t look for it at the Hardesty Park Cafe, the seating area under a big white tent. You can buy beer and wine there, but not soda.

New Taste of Akron food purveyors are Akron Pickle, launched last month by Charly Murphy of Stray Dog Carts, Cafe & Condiments; CoreLife Eatery, a protein bowls chain that opened this year in Fairlawn; Craft Cantina, a spinoff of downtown Akron’s Crave that will open soon in the Merriman Valley; the Moe’s Southwest Grill chain; and Pots & Pans, the Jamaican restaurant downtown.

Yes, the Swensons food truck will be there, along with other mobile operations.

Here’s a sampling of what will be available: coconut shrimp (the Beachcomber food truck); Italian burger (Stray Dog Cart); chicken souvlaki (Arnie’s); charred kale and corn taco (Bomba Tacos & Rum of Copley Township); butter chicken (Bombay Grill); pork belly tacos (Craft Cantina); white chocolate and dried cherry bread pudding (Moe’s Restaurant in Cuyahoga Falls); pulled pork (Old Carolina Barbecue); cherry danish (Sweet Mary’s Bakery); and brisket sliders (Totally Cooked Catering).

Some samples tend to run out, so don’t wait till the last minute on something you really want to try.

Tickets will be sold in the park’s pavilion. Cash, Visa and Mastercard accepted.

The event is a lead-in to the annual Akron Arts Expo weekend at Hardesty Park in Akron’s Wallhaven neighborhood. All of the events are organized by the city of Akron.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Friday — the night before the Arts Expo — the Summer Uncorked wine, beer and food event will be held at the park. Tickets are $45.

Hours for the Arts Expo are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Go to http://www.akronartsexpo.org for information, including the entertainment schedule and details on activities, including a Sip and Paint event at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Hardesty Park is at 1615 W. Market St.

Hot time on North Hill

The Bhutanese love hot peppers. So why not celebrate the area’s Bhutanese population with a hot pepper fest, thought Tom Crain of Akron, a local teacher and organizer who works with area Bhutanese children and adults.

The Hot Summer Celebration from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 10 at Patterson Park in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood will feature appetizers from Everest Nepali and Indian Restaurant in Cuyahoga Falls, a pepper-eating contest and hottest pepper competition.

Crain emphasized that Everest will not serve up only spicy dishes.

Cost is $20, which includes food and activities, including a bamboo splitting contest and snake gourd dart throw, as well as musical performances. Suggested donation to enter the pepper-eating contest or the pepper-judging contest is $10 each.

Get tickets at https://bit.ly/2JOtvQo. Patterson Park is at 800 Patterson Ave., north of East Tallmadge Avenue.

Crain, who helped to found the Shanti Community Farms in Akron, which helps Bhutanese who have settled in Akron operate community gardens, said hot pepper contests are a staple in Bhutan.

Your ticket also will include a tour of Shanti’s garden off Tallmadge Avenue, near Patterson Park. The event is designed to raise money for Shanti and bring awareness to the group and the local Bhutanese population.

For more on Shanti Community Farms, go to https://shantifarms.org.

Crain estimates the area’s Bhutanese population at about 6,000. Many are refugees who came here through the federal refugee resettlement program after living for years in camps in Nepal, a small country in Southeast Asia squeezed between China to the north and India to the south. Others moved here after initially settling elsewhere in the United States.

The Everest restaurant was opened in 2016 by members of a family who moved to Ohio in 2013 after arriving in Washington state in 2009 from a refugee camp in Nepal.

We’ll have more on the Hot Summer Celebration soon.

Lebanese festival

The Lebanese Food Fair will serve up food and entertainment at Our Lady of Cedars Maronite Catholic Church from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Aug 3 and Aug. 4 at 507 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road in Fairlawn.

We’ll have more next week about the festival, which includes some of the tastiest Middle Eastern food around.

For a menu and more information, go to http://lebanesefoodfair.com.

Coffee shop opens

After much anticipation, Wholly Joe Coffee has opened at 11 E. Exchange St. near Main Street in downtown Akron, across from Pad Thai.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The shop features quick bites like sandwiches, wraps and salads. It’s tucked behind the Goodwill Blue boutique that faces Main Street.

It roasts its own beans, and offers fair trade beans.

The bad news is that Wholly Joe’s initial coffee shop — in Akron’s Merriman Valley — has closed.

David Fertig and Ken Fleming opened the first Wholly Joe’s in 2015 and by fall 2017 announced they were going to open a location downtown.

LaPlace open house

LaPlace is a new Akron event/wedding venue, with catering by its owner, that will host a community open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

LaPlace is in the former Gold’s Gym at 1850 Buchholzer Ave., across from Chapel Hill Mall. The open house will include information about other local businesses, food and beverages.

This is the third food-related venture Natalie Parks will be operating. The others are Natalie’s Catering and Fritters Southern Cuisine, a breakfast and lunch spot in Akron’s Ellet neighborhood.

She previously ran a cafe and bakery in downtown Akron.

For more information, go to https://laplaceevents.com.

Wine and spirits

• The Akron Zoo’s second annual “Wild for Wine” tasting will run 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 25 with local wines and appetizers. Watch animals create paintings with their feet; you could win a chance to pick the colors and take a painting home.

Cost is $45 for zoo members and $50 for nonmembers. Designated drivers are $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers. The zoo will be open and the event will go on rain or shine. Visit http://www.akronzoo.org or call 330-375-2550, ext. 7230, for tickets. This event sold out last year.

• Fleming’s will host a wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. Friday featuring Jordan Vineyards of Sonoma County. Courses include ahi tuna poke, lemon peppercorn salmon with mixed greens, bacon-wrapped filet with parmesan asparagus, and olive oil cake.

The dinner costs $95, plus tax and tip; call 330-670-5200 to reserve. Fleming’s is at 4000 Medina Road, Bath.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a six-course bourbon dinner at 7 p.m. Aug. 23.

The dinner will feature six “hard to come by bourbon pours,” paired with food. Cost is $79. Call 330-899-9200 for reservations.

You might spot a pro golfer if you visit the restaurant next week. Seems it has become a haunt for some of the players in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at nearby Firestone County Club.

Owner Kerry Janke said the restaurant is again teaming up with tournament sponsor Grey Goose on various promotions. Beginning Monday and running through next Sunday, the day the tournament ends, 35° Brix will offer Grey Goose drink specials and raffles for swag (including golf bags) and tournament tickets.

35° Brix also will offer dinner specials throughout the weekend. See http://www.35brix.com.

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.

In 2015, historian Sharon Moreland Myers helped put together a popular exhibit on the Golden Age of Restaurants in Summit County at the main Akron-Summit County Public Library in downtown Akron.

Now Myers has a paperback book, Classic Restaurants of Summit County, which draws on that effort and an online book she developed in conjunction with the exhibit.

Local culinary history buffs will be pleased to see recipes from several of the restaurants, like Chicken in a Nest from the long-gone Kaase’s at 53 E. Mill St. in downtown Akron.

Unlike the exhibit, the book includes some spots that opened fairly recently, including the Blue Door in Cuyahoga Falls, Blue Canyon Kitchen and Tavern in Twinsburg and Merchant Tavern in Merriman Valley.

Myers packs a lot of information into the 160-plus pages; the history of many places is summed up in about two or three paragraphs. She includes a short history of supper clubs, including the Semler Tavern in Cuyahoga Falls, which the Beacon Journal’s Mark Price described in a 2006 column as a “rip-roaring resort.”

Many of the black-and-white pictures come from the Beacon Journal and the Summit Memory Project, overseen by the Akron-Summit County Public Library. All royalties will go to the library’s Special Collections. The book is published by Arcadia and the History Press.

Myers collaborated on the original exhibit with Judy James, who was then special collections division manager at the Main Library in downtown Akron.

Myers, who now lives in Florida, will do two signings Saturday, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Sand Run Pharmacy, 40 Sand Run Road in Northwest Akron, and from 1 to 3 p.m. at Learned Owl Book Shop at 204 N. Main St. in Hudson.

Baker on ‘Sugar Rush’

Carrie Buchanan of Bombshell Baking Co. in Canton competed on Sugar Rush, a new baking reality show on Netflix.

She and teammate Katie Spanier-Zegarac of Strongsville’s Katie Cakes are in Episode 8, “Get Buzzed,” which features ingredients like coffee, honey and alcohol. Teams compete in three timed rounds — cupcake, confection and cake — and if a team finishes early in the first two rounds, the leftover time is added to their final round. Judges are Candace Nelson (Cupcake Wars) and Adriano Zumbo (Zumbo’s Just Desserts).

Buchanan, who works for the Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities while operating Bombshell out of her home, knew Spanier-Zegarac through social media and the two decided to try out as a team. They met in person for the first time when the casting directors interviewed them via Skype, and were flown to Los Angeles for taping in September.

Buchanan said they had a mantra: “Don’t do anything weird, don’t say anything weird, don’t act weird,” which they didn’t always manage.

“Out of hours of pre-interview, what should be in our introduction segment but me saying, ‘When I am in my kitchen baking, I’m all about, like, my Crocs and wearing my big granny panties,’ ” she said via email. “So now 125 million Netflix subscribers think I wear just Crocs and underwear to bake.”

She added, “It was a lot of fun and also mind-blowing.” The entire season of Sugar Rush is now available for streaming on Netflix.

Mangia in the Falls

Cuyahoga Falls’ Festa Italiana kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday on Front Street. It features Italian food (of course), music on two stages (including opera), bocce and morra, grape stomping and more. Find a schedule at festaitalianacf.com.

Taste of Akron

Taste of Akron will be 6 to 10 p.m. July 26. The event, now in its 12th year, is a lead-in to the annual Arts Expo Weekend at Hardesty Park in Akron’s Wallhaven neighborhood.

Patrons buy food tickets for $2 each, and restaurants and food trucks serve samples for one, two or three tickets.

From 6 to 9 p.m. July 27 — the night before the Arts Expo — the Summer Uncorked wine, beer and food event will be held at the park. Tickets are $45. For information on all these events, go to akronartsexpo.org.

Wine events

• Fleming’s will host a wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. July 27 featuring Jordan Vineyards of Sonoma County. Courses include ahi tuna poke, lemon peppercorn salmon with mixed greens, bacon-wrapped filet with parmesan asparagus, and olive oil cake.

The dinner costs $95, plus tax and tip; call 330-670-5200 to reserve. Fleming’s is at 4000 Medina Road, Bath Township.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Orin Swift Cellars at 7 p.m. Thursday. Cost is $95. Call 330-899-9200 for reservations.

• Papa Joe’s, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road, in the Merriman Valley, will feature wines from Fess Parker in California for a dinner at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Cost is $85. Call 330-923-7999 for reservations.

• The Medina Uncorked Wine Festival near Seville will run from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday and 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

General admission is $25, which includes 10 tasting tickets, a glass, entertainment and more. Proceeds from the event, which also features 16 craft beers, support the Friends of Medina County Parks. Designated driver tickets are $10.

Sip & Savor from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday offers samples from area restaurants along with tastings. Tickets are $50. A Twilight Dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday will feature a multi-course dinner with wine pairings prepared by Chef Anthony Scolaro from 111 Bistro in Montville Township. Tickets are $150.

Both of these events include festival passes.

The fest will be at Buffalo Creek Retreat of the Medina County Parks, 708 Hubbard Valley Road in Guilford Township near Seville and state Route 3 and Interstate 76.

For tickets and information, go to http://www.uncorkedmedina winefest.com.

Katie Byard is out of the office until July 23. Send food news to features editor Lynne Sherwin at [email protected].

Wine Spectator has revealed its 2018 Restaurant Awards for best wine selections, including six in the Akron area.

Three are wine bars: Cellar 59, 3984 Kent Road, Stow; Grapes in a Glass, 575 Market Ave. N., Canton; and 750ml, 2287 W. Market St., Akron. The restaurants are Fleming’s, 4000 Medina Road, Copley; the Galaxy, 201 Park Centre Drive, Wadsworth; and Hyde Park, 4073 Medina Road, Bath.

The Galaxy and 750ml received the Best of Award of Excellence, the other four the Award of Excellence.

Many more honorees are within driving distance, including Lockkeepers in Valley View and the breathtaking new Marble Room in Cleveland, both Best of Award of Excellence winners.

Find a full list at https://restaurants.winespectator.com/.

Italian fest at Lock 3

The three-day Italian-American fest in and around Lock 3 in downtown Akron will run Thursday-Saturday, with food vendors, nightly tribute bands and fireworks on Saturday.

The Andrea Rose Teodosio Memorial 5K and walk is Saturday, along with the homemade wine contest. The Council of Italian American Societies of Summit County organizes the event: http://it-am.org.

Cuyahoga Falls’ Festa Italiana is July 20-22 on Front Street. More information is at festaitalianacf.com.

Music in the Valley

The Music in the Valley Folk and Wine Festival returns Saturday and Sunday to Hale Farm & Village at 2686 Oak Hill Road in Bath Township.

The fest, featuring wine from Ohio wineries and local food vendors, runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. Musical performances and jam sessions will run from noon to 6:30 p.m. each day.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-12. Hale Farm members get in free. Wine tastings are $10 for a glass and five tasting tickets. The tasting area will open at 11 a.m. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs.

A wine and cheese pairing seminar is at 2 p.m. daily, along with a seminar titled Sensory Tasting 101 at 4 p.m. daily.

For more info, see http://www.WRHS.org.

Community cookout

The second in a series of free community cookouts in Akron’s Goodyear Heights will be 6 to 9 p.m. Friday on the corner of Honodle Avenue and Goodyear Park, east of Reservoir Park.

The event is organized by Goodyear Heights Community Action, with help from Goodyear Heights Baptist Church and Heart 4 The City Church. Free burgers and hot dogs, cookies and other picnic food will be available.

Taste of Akron

Taste of Akron will be 6 to 10 p.m. July 26. The event, now in its 12th year, is a lead-in to the annual Arts Expo Weekend at Hardesty Park in Akron’s Wallhaven neighborhood.

Patrons buy food tickets for $2 each, and restaurants and food trucks serve samples for one, two or three tickets.

From 6 to 9 p.m. July 27 — the night before the Arts Expo — the Summer Uncorked wine, beer and food event will be held at the park. Tickets are $45. For information on all these events, got to akronartsexpo.org.

Wine events

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Orin Swift Cellars at 7 p.m. July 19. Cost is $95. Call 330-899-9200 for reservations.

• The Wadsworth Buehler’s grocery at 175 Great Oaks Trail will offer a Wine & Summer BBQ Pairing event at 7 p.m. July 19. Cost is $35. Reservations are required by July 16. Call 330-336-3588.

• Papa Joe’s, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road, in the Merriman Valley, will feature wines from Fess Parker in California for a dinner at 6:30 p.m. July 20. Cost is $85. Call 330-923-7999 for reservations.

• The Medina Uncorked Wine Festival near Seville will run from 4 to 9 p.m. July 20 and 2 to 9 p.m. July 21.

General admission is $25, which includes 10 tasting tickets, a glass, entertainment and more.

Proceeds from the event, which also features 16 craft beers, support the Friends of Medina County Parks. Designated driver tickets are $10.

Sip & Savor from 6 to 8 p.m. July 20 offers samples from area restaurants along with tastings. Tickets are $50.

A Twilight Dinner at 6 p.m. July 21 will feature a multi-course dinner with wine pairings prepared by Chef Anthony Scolaro from 111 Bistro in Montville Township. Tickets are $150.

Both of these events include festival passes.

The fest will be at Buffalo Creek Retreat of the Medina County Parks, 708 Hubbard Valley Road in Guilford Township near Seville and Route 93 and Interstate 76.

For tickets and information, go to http://www.uncorkedmedina winefest.com.

Send information

Katie Byard is out of the office until July 23. Send food news to features editor Lynne Sherwin at [email protected].

Magnifico!

The Italian Center on North Hill in Akron has been serving up yummy, reasonably priced weekly pasta dinners for 30 years.

Member Jim Iona called to let me know that the first dinner was sometime in the summer of 1988.

Iona, who serves on the Munroe Falls City Council, didn’t have an exact date, but a check of earlier Beacon Journal articles reveals that the first dinner was served May 12 of that year.

Since then, members have been gathering weekly to make sauce and hundreds of meatballs. The Thursday dinners run from 4 to 7 p.m. at the center, near the corner of Tallmadge Avenue and North Main Street.

Spaghetti or penne pasta is served with sauce and two meatballs, Italian bread, salad, cake and coffee. You can have your pasta covered with sauteed garlic and olive oil instead of red sauce. Price tag: $9. A children’s portion with one meatball runs $7.50. Patrons can buy beer, wine and mixed drinks at a full bar. Soft drinks are also available.

New this year are cannoli, which are sold separate from the dinners.

The club was founded in 1934 as a gathering place for the Italian immigrants of Akron’s North Hill.

The dinners began in 1988 as a way to generate revenue as business at the club’s bar and rentals for weddings and graduations waned.

These days, the dinners are an important fixture in the lives of members and longtime customers. Proceeds continue to help pay for upkeep of the center.

The center is at 134 E Tallmadge Ave. The phone is 330-535-3919.

Italian fest at Lock 3

Speaking of Italians and Italian food, the three-day Italian-American fest in and around Lock 3 in downtown Akron will run July 12-14.

Food vendors will set up and music will include Straight On, a Heart tribute band, at 8 p.m. July 12; Satisfaction, a Rolling Stones tribute band, at 8:30 p.m. July 13; and a Frankie Valli tribute band at 8:30 p.m. July 14 followed by fireworks.

Activities include inflatables, 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.

On July 20-22, its Cuyahoga Falls’ turn to go red, white and green with Festa Italiana on Front Street. The event is one of the few times the street, formerly a pedestrian mall that was reopened this year to vehicular traffic, will be closed to accommodate crowds.

More information is at festaitalianacf.com.

Peachtree closes

Peachtree Southern Kitchen & Cocktails in Hudson has closed.

The eatery opened about five years ago in the space that previously housed the former Old Whedon Grille at 200 N. Main St. A note taped to the inside of the door at the storefront said the owner had abruptly closed the restaurant.

Music in the Valley

The Music in the Valley Folk and Wine Festival returns July 14 and 15 to Hale Farm & Village at 2686 Oak Hill Road in Bath Township.

The fest, featuring wine from Ohio wineries and local food vendors, runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. Musical performances and jam sessions will run from noon to 6:30 p.m. each day.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-12. Hale Farm members get in free. Wine tastings are $10 for a glass and five tasting tickets. The tasting area will open at 11 a.m. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs.

This year’s event has expanded with later hours, a larger tented area, more food vendors and wineries.

Also new is a wine and cheese pairing seminar sponsored by the Wine Buzz magazine. It will be at 2 p.m. daily, along with a seminar titled Sensory Tasting 101 at 4 p.m. daily.

For more info, see http://www.WRHS.org.

Community cookout

The second in a series of free community cookouts in Goodyear Heights in Akron will be 6 to 9 p.m. July 13 on the corner of Honodle Avenue and Goodyear Park, east of Reservoir Park.

The event is organized by Goodyear Heights Community Action, with help from Goodyear Heights Baptist Church and Heart 4 The City Church. Free burgers and hot dogs, cookies and other picnic food will be available.

The cookouts are the first events organized by the Goodyear Heights Community Action group, which seeks to strengthen bonds in the community.

The final cookout of the summer will be 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 24.

Eating Downtown

As summer continues, don’t forget about the Eating Downtown promotion that could net you a prize.

Eating Downtown is a project of the Downtown Akron Partnership nonprofit.

The goal is to encourage folks to patronize restaurants and other food spots — there are more than 50 of them — in a 42-block area of downtown.

Patrons can get an Eating Downtown map and punch card at any of the participating places, which range from coffee shops to food spots to ice cream shops and more.

To enter for prizes, you’ll need eight hole punches. Return the completed cards to the downtown offices of either the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau at 77 E. Mill St., inside the John S. Knight Center, or Downtown Akron Partnership at Greystone Hall, 103 S. High St.

Each month through August, winners will be randomly selected for a $25 gift card to one of the downtown eateries.

Those completing two or more cards will be entered into the grand prize of $100 in gift cards, an overnight stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in the Northside district and a basket of Akron-centric items.

Also, don’t forget about Food Truck Wednesdays in the parking lot of Akron Child Guidance at North Forge and East Market streets, near state Route 8 and the new Stark State College Akron campus.

It runs 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. through Sept. 5 (except July 4).

Updates on what trucks to expect are listed on the Akron Food Truck Wednesdays page.

And on Fridays, Cascade Cucina brings food trucks to Cascade Plaza downtown. It runs from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. See the Cascade Cucina Facebook page for updates.

Taste of Akron

Taste of Akron will be 6 to 10 p.m. July 26. The event, now in its 12th year, is a lead-in to the annual Arts Expo Weekend at Hardesty Park in Akron’s Wallhaven neighborhood.

Patrons buy food tickets for $2 each, and restaurants and food trucks serve samples for one, two or three tickets.

From 6 to 9 p.m. July 27 — the night before the Arts Expo — the Summer Uncorked wine, beer and food event will be held at the park. Tickets are $45. For information on all these events, got to akronartsexpo.org.

Wine events

• Monday is the deadline to reserve a space for the Customer Choice Wine Tasting July 12 at the Buehler’s Forest Meadows grocery store in Medina.

The first eight customers to sign up will each pick a wine for all to taste at the 7 p.m. event. Cost is $20. The store is at 275 Forest Meadows. Call 330-725-0535 by July 9.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Orin Swift Cellars at 7 p.m. July 19. Cost is $95. Call 330-899-9200 for reservations.

• The Wadsworth Buehler’s grocery at 175 Great Oaks Trail will offer a Wine & Summer BBQ Pairing event at 7 p.m. July 19. Cost is $35. Reservations are required by July 16. Call 330-336-3588.

• Papa Joe’s, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road, in the Merriman Valley, will feature wines from Fess Parker in California for a dinner at 6:30 p.m. July 20. Cost is $85. Call 330-923-7999 for reservations.

• The Medina Uncorked Wine Festival near Seville will run from 4 to 9 p.m. July 20 and 2 to 9 p.m. July 21.

General admission is $25, which includes 10 tasting tickets, a glass, entertainment and more.

Proceeds from the event, which also features 16 craft beers, support the Friends of Medina County Parks. Designated driver tickets are $10.

Sip & Savor from 6 to 8 p.m. July 20 offers samples from area restaurants along with tastings. Tickets are $50. A Twilight Dinner at 6 p.m. July 21 will feature a multi-course dinner with wine pairings prepared by Chef Anthony Scolaro from 111 Bistro in Montville Township. Tickets are $150. Both of these events include festival passes.

The fest will be at Buffalo Creek Retreat of the Medina County Parks, 708 Hubbard Valley Road in Guilford Township near Seville and Route 93 and Interstate 76. For tickets and information, go to http://www.uncorkedmedina winefest.com.

Have a cookie

Monday is National Sugar Cookie Day.

Perhaps I’ll celebrate with a cookie. But I won’t be writing Akron Dish, dear reader. I’ll be on vacation, returning to my desk at the Beacon on July 23.

See you then.

In my absence, send food news to features editor Lynne Sherwin at [email protected].

We’re well into patio dining and drinking season.

So here are a couple of outdoor spots that are new or revamped since our last roundup in 2014, plus some of our favorites and readers’ picks.

Did we miss something? Go to this story on http://www.ohio.com and add your outdoor dining/drinking haven to the comments section.

Pick’s at PLX, 530 Portage Lakes Drive, Coventry Township

One of the larger lakeside patios in the region has been revived thanks to Donnie Boyer, who in May opened Pick’s at PLX at the sprawling multistory art deco building.

The place most recently housed Nicoletti’s Park Place, which closed in 2015.

Boyer, who previously owned the Legends bar in Green, spruced up the building and the three-tier patio on West Reservoir. Inside is Table 530 at Pick’s, with seating on the patio. Boyer describes it as “casual dining” with lots of seafood, steaks and more.

Outside are two bars, one dubbed Locals on the Lake, and the other called Pick’s Chilled, which features ice cream and adult frozen drinks. Boyer plans to open an inside sports bar, also called Locals on the Lake, in late August or early September.

Pick’s gets its name from the former Pick’s Boathouse. 330-794-5157; website PicksatPLX.com is in development.

Nearby is the Harbor Front Grille (previously On Tap and before that Harbor Inn) that has a deck on the West Reservoir.

Panini’s Bar & Grill, 4200 Steels Pointe Drive, Stow

Co-owner Sue Favazzo said she “wasn’t feeling the energy” on the patio at the 3-year-old eatery, so she ordered up a big makeover. Now it features a gas fireplace, comfy chairs and couches, as well as a wrought-iron fence that replaced a privacy fence. Sure, customers on it can now see the parking lot, but they also get a view of the landscaping.

“Nowadays patios are huge, especially in the summer,” Favazzo said. “Everyone wants to be outside.”

The TVs remain — there are six between the front and the back patio. There’s live music in warmer weather.

330-945-3000; Panini’s Bar & Grill (Stow, OH) on Facebook.

DBA (Dante Boccuzzi Akron), Northside Lofts, 21 Furnace St., Akron

This tiered patio at downtown’s northern edge provides welcome contrasting views. In one direction is the Little Cuyahoga Valley and all its greenery, and in another, there’s the growing Northside District.

My favorite part is the outside bar that allows the bartender inside DBA to serve patio patrons.

A built-in fire pit lined with couches is on the main level. The buildings on either side — Northside Lofts and the Marriott (with the Northside Speakeasy on the ground floor) — help to shade the patio in early afternoon. 330-375-5050; http://www.danteakron.com.

Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar, 54 E. Mill St., Akron

This rooftop patio offers one of the best views of downtown.

It got even snazzier last year when Nuevo added a sleek Belgium-made enclosure that covers about half the area. Overhead adjustable louvers offer lots of shade.

The rooftop perch affords a cool view of the 28-story art-deco Huntington Tower (formerly the FirstMerit building) and other parts of the skyline. 330-762-8000. http://akron.nuevomodmex.com.

Also of note downtown is the rooftop at Lockview at 207 S. Main St. Patrons who climb the steep steps are rewarded with what owner Danny Basone has called a “big city vibe.” There are views of Lock 3 Park and nearby buildings. Warning: It can get hot. Basone has covered portions of the space to create shady spots. 330-252-5128; http://www.thelockview.com.

Edgar’s Restaurant, 530 Nome Ave., Akron

Edgar’s, in the upper level of the Good Park golf course clubhouse in West Akron, offers outdoor seating on a deck overlooking the fairways.

While Edgar’s is on the city-owned course, the restaurant is privately owned and independently managed. In 2012, Executive Chef Glenn Gillespie became the sole owner. 330-869-3000; http://www.edgarsrestaurant.com.

Old 97 Cafe, 1503 Kenmore Blvd., Akron

Twinkle lights, potted plants and an ivy-covered wall make this one of the area’s coziest patios.

It’s tucked behind the bar/restaurant with its old-school neon sign. There’s room for musical acts, and off the patio is the French Barn, a cute roofed area with a fireplace. The place is named for the old trolley stop No. 97.

Call first as the entire place is sometimes rented out for special events. 330-745-5493; http://www.theold97.com.

The Jetty at the Sheraton Suites, 1989 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls

The Jetty, offering fantastic views of the Cuyahoga River, reopened last year after about a decade’s hiatus. It’s one big tiered patio, with seating on three levels.

A big awning covers the bar area, which includes flat screen TVs. Tables with colorful umbrellas are right up against the lower level railing. Sun sails — big fabric triangles that block out the sun — have been added this year.

The Jetty has expanded its hours, and is now open Monday through Thursday from 4 to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 3 to 11 p.m.

The menu — including ahi tuna poke, salmon and salads — is much more adventurous than one might think for an outdoor-only spot. Credit the folks at the mothership, Beau’s on the River inside the Sheraton Suites. 330-929-3000; The Jetty on Facebook.

Galaxy Sports Bar & Patio, 201 Park Centre Drive, Wadsworth

The enormous waterfall on the spacious patio masks the noise from Interstate 76. A tiki bar with a large-screen TV helps give the place an island feel. Restrooms are right inside the door.

Patrons on the patio can order off any of the menus for the Galaxy’s three eateries: Circle L Steakhouse, the Wine Room and the Galaxy Sports Bar. There’s live music on Wednesdays and Fridays. 330-334-3663; http://www.galaxysportsbar.com.

Also in Medina County, the On Tap Bar & Grille at 2736 Medina Road in Montville Township boasts a spacious patio with a fire pit, a small waterfall and an outside bar with TVs and live music four to five days a week. 330-725-1972; On Tap Medina on Facebook.

Twisted Olive, 5430 Massillon Road, Green

This restaurant, next to Southgate Park, offers some of the most bucolic outdoor eating in the area. A covered patio and a large deck above look out onto two bodies of water.

A 14,000-plus-square-foot house, part of the former Belden estate, became a restaurant in 2014. The Swaldo family, owners of Gervasi Vineyard in Canton, bought the home and 10 acres from Green and then spent “millions more” turning the property into the Twisted Olive, Scott Swaldo has said.

Also in Green, the patio at 35° Brix in the Heritage Crossing Plaza is surprisingly cozy for being in a shopping complex. There are fire pits for chillier evenings and live music on the patio on Thursdays. The restaurant is at 3875 Massillon Road. 330-899-9200; http://www.35brix.com.

Sarah’s Vineyard, 1204 W. Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls

Three years ago, this winery in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park opened a big timber-framed pavilion that has become a favorite for outdoor sippers and eaters. The centerpiece of the pavilion is a giant fireplace made with reclaimed curbstones from Cleveland’s East 14th Street.

During the summer and early fall, the pavilion is open at 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Order food, including wood-fired pizza Wednesday through Saturday evenings, and drinks at the bar inside. 330-929-8057; http://www.sarahsvineyardwinery.com.

Treno Ristorante, 152 Franklin Ave., Kent

The Italian restaurant, which opened last fall in the old Erie Depot in downtown Kent, launched its new Treno Terrazza last month.

A wrought-iron fence surrounds the new outdoor eating space at the north end of the eatery. Strings of lights on overhead beams add a festive touch.

Patrons take in views of the historic station (extensively renovated inside), the nearby gazebo and Franklin Avenue. 330-676-5139; https://trenokent.com.

Missing Mountain Brewing Co., 2811 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls

Rick Armon, who writes about beer for the Beacon Journal, said in a story last month the new brewery’s giant concrete patio “offers spectacular views of the rambling Cuyahoga River.”

He didn’t oversell it. “This view was what drew us here,” said brewery co-owner Dave Bertolotti.

The big patio, behind the taproom building, offers seating for roughly 80 patrons. Most of the tables have umbrellas. Big planters give a splash of color. http://www.missingmountain.com.

Nearby in the Falls, Burntwood Tavern at 2291 Riverfront Parkway, boasts a long deck offering great views of the Cuyahoga River. 330-794-7085, http://www.burntwoodtavern.com/burntwood-tavern-cuyahoga-falls.

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

The day Corina Gaffney lost her job as a civil prosecutor, she decided to pursue her dream job — one entirely different from her old gig.

Her layoff has given rise to a whole new career.

She’s the new owner of Great Lakes Baking Co. in Hudson, a 20-year-old bakery that’s a hometown favorite as well as a draw for bread fans throughout the region.

“There’s bad stress and there’s good stress, and this is good stress,” the former assistant Summit County prosecutor said as she was finishing a long day at the shop at 85 S. Main St. (state Route 91).

Gaffney, 53, is working 18-hour days, with all the paperwork associated with taking over a business on top of overseeing the bakery that offers several types of bread daily, along with muffins, scones, cookies and other treats.

And she couldn’t be more thrilled.

“I’m living the dream,” she said.

The store began 20 years ago and was doing well when Gaffney began investigating whether to buy it, so she’s not planning any big changes. She’d like to add laminated pastries — with alternating layers of dough and butter, such as croissants and Danish — as well as some European breads.

“I’ll be sharing my German heritage and adding a few more German things to the menu,” She said. “We don’t have a good German pumpernickel … and I’d like to add some tarts and tortes.”

Those additions likely won’t come this year, though, she said.

Gaffney first spotted the bakery-for-sale ad on the internet last fall, and the deal was finalized June 11.

Former owner John MacMillan was Gaffney’s age — 53 — in 1998 when he left his career as a manufacturing executive and turned his hobby of baking bread into his own enterprise.

Over the years, Great Lakes, which uses no bleached flours and sources ingredients locally whenever it can, picked up many fans, including many who have never been to the Hudson shop; they know it from farmers markets.

Look for it at the Countryside Conservancy’s market in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park as Gaffney continues the tradition. The market is in Howe Meadow, off Riverview Road, 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Sept. 27.

Aromas permeate the shop daily as Gaffney is keeping the baking schedule. Each Tuesday through Saturday, she or another baker is at the shop early turning out loaves of white, wheat, baguette, cinnamon swirl, ciabatta and rustic French, along with cheddar pepperoni rolls, cookies and other treats.

Other breads come out of the ovens just once a week, including Jewish rye, kalamata olive and challah.

The shop has several wholesale accounts, including a couple of local restaurants.

Gaffney was an assistant prosecutor in the civil division of Summit County Common Pleas Court when she was laid off five years ago.

“The very day I was laid off, I was like, ‘Well, I’m going to make sure that this is something that was the best thing that ever happened to me,’ ” she said.

An avid baker, she’d been toying with the idea of getting into commercial baking for years. After she was laid off, she worked as an unpaid apprentice at the Blue Door Bakery and Café to test the waters and gain experience.

She began looking more than four years ago for spaces to possibly start a bakery, as well as established bakeries for sale. Last October, she landed on a blind ad and was excited to discover it was the Great Lakes Baking Co.

Gaffney, who has also sung in various local bands, and her husband, Michael, are moving from New Franklin to Hudson to be closer to the bakery. Michael Gaffney is president of Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio.

“I’m jumping in with both feet to become a member of the community,” Corina Gaffney said.

Pizza night on Saturdays is continuing. The website is http://www.greatlakesbaking company.org and shop is on Facebook. Phone is 330-342-5878.

Ukrainian Festival

This Saturday is the annual Ukrainian Festival, featuring homemade pierogi, stuffed cabbage rolls and a host of yummy traditional treats, at the Holy Ghost Catholic Church.

The fest — featuring eating, dancing, a polka band and more — will run from 1 to 8 p.m.

Last year, organizers greatly increased the amount of baked goods for sale, and they’re doing a repeat this year.

Available will be butter-rich paska bread will, along with kolach rolls, sweet varenyky (pierogi stuffed with fruit), keiflies (cookies made of cream cheese pastry wrapped around a filling), pliatsok pastry and more.

The church is at 1866 Brown St., just north of East Waterloo Road. Look for the big tent.

Ukrainian items will be available for purchase. Admission is free. For details, go to the church’s Facebook page (Holy Ghost Akron) or website hgucc.org.

Green bakery closing

The West Side Bakery in Green is temporarily shutting down July 14 after five years.

Barb Talevich opened the sister location to her Akron bakery in 2010. Talevich stressed that the Akron operation is not affected by the closing and she is looking for a new, smaller spot in Green.

“We just want to tell everybody Akron is perfect. We’re not going anywhere in Akron,” Talevich told me this week. The Akron location will fill any orders for cakes, pies, cookies and other treats once the Green shop closes.

Seating about 40 people, the Green location — a storefront space in the Town Park Center shopping plaza — has proven too big. It was formerly occupied by Blake’s Cafe & Cupcakery and an Arabica coffee shop.

“We love being in the city of Green,” Talevich said. “We loved their support. The customers have been great. We just need a smaller space.”

The lease is up on the Green property, she said, so it seemed like a good idea to look for another spot

The Akron store is at 2303 W. Market St. in the Pilgrim Square shopping area. The Green store is at 1840 Town Park Blvd., off Massillon Road, in Town Park Plaza.

Talevich said the Green store’s manager will become a pastry chef at the Akron operation, and two of her co-workers have been offered employment at the Akron store. Two other Green employees are heading off to college and another worker there has her first teaching job.

Phone for the Green store is 330-899-9968; for Akron, 330-836-4101. The bakery has a Facebook page.

Dan’s Dogs reopening

Dan’s Dogs, the popular Medina hot-dog eatery that abruptly closed May 29, is reopening Wednesday under new ownership: Medina residents Jason and Dana Graf, John McCale and fiancée Randi Suliks, and Copley-area resident Joe Inglett.

The name has been changed to the Original Dan’s Dogs Diner. Three area families are the new owners of the small restaurant at 111 W. Liberty St.

A grand opening celebration July 6 will include a giveaway of a free hot dog every week for a year to the first 52 people in line before doors open at 11 a.m. A portion of the proceeds from that day’s sales will benefit Feeding Medina County.

Paul and Terra Davis had been leasing the business, which began in 1991, for about three years when they shut down in May.

Raising Cane’s opens

Raising Cane’s has opened in Kent, the Louisiana-based chain’s second location in Northeast Ohio.

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

The Kent location — actually in Franklin Township — is at 1801 E. Main St. (state Route 59), east of the Kent State University campus and Alpha Drive.

Earlier this year, the chain opened a location in Jackson Township, at 5455 Dressler Road NW, less than a mile from Kent State University at Stark and Stark State College.

Rib, White & Blue

The National Rib, White & Blue Festival in downtown Akron opens Friday for a longer-than-usual run of six days, through July 4. Eleven vendors — including five from Ohio — will hawk barbecue on South Main Street.

I’m always blown away by how long-lived this fest is. Including earlier versions, it’s in its 41st year.

Music is scheduled daily, and the 122nd Army National Guard Band will play July 4, followed by fireworks at 9:45 p.m.

Barbecue vendors are BBQ Master of Georgia; Cowboy’s BBQ and Texas Pit BBQ, both of Texas; Pig Foot BBQ, Pig Tails BBQ, Fine Smoke BBQ, Hog Wild and Off the Bone, all of Ohio; Big Boned BBQ and Carolina Rib King, both of South Carolina; and Porky Chicks BBQ of Arkansas.

Other food will include sausage sandwiches, steak sandwiches, fried cheese, bloomin’ onions, candy apples, popcorn, cotton candy, funnel cake, pierogis, fries and roasted corn.

Gates open at 11 a.m. Friday, and that night’s music lineup is the Juke Hounds at 7 p.m. and the Bruce in the USA Bruce Springsteen tribute band at 8:30 p.m.

Saturday will be Family FUNtastic Day featuring Slider from the Cleveland Indians and Zippy from the University of Akron. A wristband can be purchased for inflatables and a rock wall.

Admission is free, and parking is free after 6 p.m. on Fridays and weekends at all city-owned parking decks, including the State Street deck next to Lock 3 Park.

Go to http://lock3live.com for more.

Kent Heritage Festival

Also Saturday, the 23rd annual Kent Heritage Festival organized by the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce will run from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., with fireworks scheduled to be set off from Kramer Ball Fields at 10 p.m.

It will offer a variety of festival/fair foods, live music and entertainment on three stages. A children’s play area will include a rock climbing wall and bouncy house.

Admission is free. Kramer Ball Fields are at Fred Fuller Park off Haymaker Parkway in Kent. Go to http://www.kentbiz.com/events.

Speaker in Kidron

Joe Salatin of Polyface Farms, a farm in Virginia known for its back-to-basics methods, will be the keynote speaker at a Country Living Workshop June 30 at Lehman’s in Kidron.

Cost of the workshop (day pass) is $35, lunch included. Cost for children ages 5 to 12 is $7. For information, go to http://www.lehmans.com/storeevents.

Wine calendar

• July 9 is the deadline to reserve a space for the Customer Choice Wine Tasting July 12 at the Buehler’s Forest Meadows grocery store in Medina.

The first eight customers to sign up will each pick a wine for all to taste at the 7 p.m. event. Cost is $20. The store is at 275 Forest Meadows. Call 330-725-0535 by July 9.

• The Medina Uncorked Wine Festival near Seville will run from 4 to 9 p.m. July 20 and 2 to 9 p.m. July 21.

General admission is $25, which includes 10 tasting tickets, a glass, entertainment and more.

Proceeds from the event — which also features 16 craft beers — support the Friends of Medina County Parks. Designated driver tickets are $10.

Two events within the festival allow patrons to sip and eat.

Sip & Savor from 6 to 8 p.m. July 20 offers samples from area restaurants along with tastings. Tickets are $50, which includes a festival pass for Friday and an extra glass of wine or beer.

A Twilight Dinner at 6 p.m. July 21 will feature a multi-course dinner with wine pairings prepared by Chef Anthony Scolaro from 111 Bistro in Montville Township. Tickets are $150 and include a weekend festival pass.

The fest will be at Buffalo Creek Retreat of the Medina County Parks, 708 Hubbard Valley Road in Guilford Township near Seville and Route 93 and Interstate 76. For tickets and information, go to http://www.uncorkedmedina winefest.com.

• Papa Joe’s, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road, in the Merriman Valley, will feature wines from Fess Parker in California for a dinner at 6:30 p.m. July 20. Cost is $85. Call 330-923-7999 for reservations.

• The Wadsworth Buehler’s grocery at 175 Great Oaks Trail will offer a Wine & Summer BBQ Pairing event at 7 p.m. July 19. Cost is $35. Reservations are required by July 16. Call 330-336-3588.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Orin Swift Cellars at 7 p.m. July 19. Cost is $95. Call 330-899-9200 for reservations.

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.

This Sunday may be your only chance this season to get in on Akron Honey Co.’s Market Day, a small, eclectic outdoor market featuring area food entrepreneurs and makers of nonfood items.

Akron Honey founder/owner Brent Wesley says he may just do one market this year, as it’s a lot to organize and he’s a busy bee. The market is from 1 to 5 p.m. at 1045 Jefferson Ave., near the Every Blooming Thing florist, in Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood.

Food participants in addition to Akron Honey are Square Scullery food truck; Stray Dog (hot dogs); Sandy Bottom Bowls, which bills itself as the “first acai smoothie bowl mobile trailer in Northeast Ohio;” Compass Coffee; Ms. Julie’s Kitchen restaurant (vegan and vegetarian); 2 Daughters Tea Company; Butter Your Nuts (nut butters); and Tea House (baked goods and teas).

Wesley will offer honey from at least one of his apiaries, vacant lots he has turned into bee havens, and from Dayton. Akron Honey is teaming up with Butter Your Nuts to offer a honey peanut butter, and Stray Dog will pair corn dogs with a honey mustard made with Akron Honey. He will be asking visitors for feedback about the honey peanut butter and a hand cream made with his honey.

DJ Forrest Webb will be spinning and nonfood items will be available for sale, including soap and candles.

The 5-year-old Akron Honey is a small-batch venture created by Wesley, also an R&B singer whose stage name is Wesley Bright. Akron Honey has a production and sales area at the Marketplace at Northside Lofts in downtown Akron. Go to http://www.akronhoney.com for a complete list of Market Day vendors and information.

Lunch at El Gato

Danny Basone said he hasn’t given up on looking for new hires for El Gato Taqueria next to his Lockview bar/eatery in downtown Akron. But until he finds help, he is keeping El Gato open for lunch only.

El Gato (Spanish for cat) opened in late 2015 at 209 S. Main St. Initially, hours were 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Now it’s 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The switch happened earlier this year.

“We’re in Lock 3 season and it bums me out I can’t staff it,” Basone said, referring to the weekend lineup of bands that perform at the park across Main from El Gato.

Basone said his lack of workers isn’t for lack of trying. He began advertising on social media several months ago, when he moved to lunch-only at El Gato.

The small eatery, where cutouts of Mexican wrestlers pop out from one wall, offers a simple menu including skirt steak, chicken, chorizo (spicy sausage) and carnitas (braised pork). Items include “Street Tacos,” large burritos and Disco Fries with chihuahua cheese, guacamole and sour cream. The fries also can be topped with a choice of meat.

El Gato has a Facebook page, its website is http://www.elgatotaqueria.com and phone is 330-253-4323.

Dinner at Da Bayou

You can still get reservations for Da Bayou Authentic Cajun & Creole Cuisine’s inaugural Bourbon Pairing Dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday.

The event looks to be quite a bit more inventive than your typical booze pairing event. And it’s a deal: For $30, you get three courses of small plates, each paired with a bourbon from Cleveland Whiskey.

They’ll be serving “an exploration of Vietnamese food and its influence on Louisiana cuisine,” owner Tony Banks said. Courses will be a black cherry bourbon paired with a cold Vietnamese salad of vermicelli noodles and fresh herbs; a black bourbon paired with a deconstructed Vietnamese po’ boy and filet; and a sugar maple bourbon paired with The Elvis, a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.

“This is by no means Vietnamese, but since our chef [Neal Smith] is from Tennessee we thought we’d have fun with it,” Banks said.

Cigars from Cousins in the Merriman Valley, selected to complement the bourbons, will be for sale to smoke on the patio.

Call 234-678-9781 to reserve. Da Bayou is at 1562 Akron-Peninsula Road, in the shopping center across from Papa Joe’s restaurant.

Deal at Michael’s A.M.

Michael’s A.M., in the same plaza as Da Bayou, is offering a 15 percent discount to those age 62 or older on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a 10 percent discount on those days to first responders and active military personnel and veterans.

Owner Gary Porto noted he is 71 and appreciates discounts when he eats out. Plus, he said, older adults are the backbone of his customer base.

Michael’s A.M. now has a patio, which opened on Mother’s Day. And on July 1, the breakfast and lunch spot will open its new meeting space, in a former jewelry shop Porto has expanded into.

Porto bought the restaurant in 2015 and began featuring locally sourced ingredients along with his homemade breads. Michael’s A.M. is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days a week at 1562 Akron-Peninsula Road.

Phone is 330-929-3447. Website is http://www.michaelsam.net.

Summer Solstice Fest

Sarah’s Vineyard is hosting its 16th annual Summer Solstice Festival at the vineyard, 1204 W. Steels Corners Road, across from Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls.

The event features Sarah’s wine, along with food (including Sarah’s wood-fired pizza and food trucks), music and crafts. Hours are 4 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

It may feel like summer is already well underway. But this year, the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, will be Thursday, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory.

Admission is $10 and includes seven wine tasting tickets and a commemorative wine glass; parking is free. The wine tent is cash only, though there will be an ATM available.

Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome. Sarah’s opened a big timber-framed pavilion with seating in 2015, but it can fill up quickly.

Go to http://www.sarahsvineyardwinery.com/solstice for a list of vendors and the music schedule. The phone is 330-929-8057.

Caution: Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers will play at Blossom on Saturday, so the traffic could get a little hectic.

Old European Days

Also this weekend is the Old European Days & Bierfest at the German Family Society in Brimfield Township.

Ethnic food is the big attraction here, along with beer and dancing. The kiddies won’t be left out: Children’s games will be offered, along with an inflatable bounce house. Hours are 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday.

The Donau Park grounds include shaded areas, as well as an air-conditioned main building in which to eat and hang out.

Admission is $5, free for children under age 12. Parking is free. The society’s grounds are at 3871 Ranfield Road in Brimfield, a little east of Interstate 76. Go to http://www.germanfamilysociety.com for a schedule and list of food items.

More fests

• Get a jump on July 4 fun in Green at the Freedom Fest, which will run 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday at Boettler Park, 5300 Massillon Road.

Along with food vendors, there will be a beer garden, inflatables, train rides, bingo, skydivers, live music, tethered hot air balloon rides (weather permitting) and fireworks at 10:15 p.m. Saturday.

Admission and parking are free. No pets or sparklers.

The rain date for the fireworks is Sunday. Information will be available on the City of Green Ohio Facebook page or via Twitter: @cityofgreen.

• In Wadsworth, the Blue Tip Festival continues through Saturday.

The five-day fest at Memorial Park, north of the Art Wright Football Stadium, began Tuesday. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, 6 to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday.

For a schedule, go to ww.bluetipparade.com/schedule.

• The Rock the Docks four-day fest kicks off Thursday and continues through Sunday with food, rides, games, a petting zoo and entertainment on the shore of Springfield Lake off state Route 224.

Hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Folks from Mueller Honey Bee Rescue will sell honey and offer presentations at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday where you can get up close and personal with bees. (They will be inside a double tent, organizers stress.)

The festival, a cooperative venture with Springfield Township and Lakemore Village, will include fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Saturday.

For information on parking and a schedule, go to the event’s Facebook page.

Event at Wayside Café

Wayside Café will donate all proceeds from food sales to the Alzheimer’s Association on Thursday during “The Longest Day.”

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 café will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The fundraiser is being held in remembrance of Anna Marie Ferrato, matriarch of the family that owns the business, and will feature her favorite foods: wedding soup, pizza and Italian cookies.

This is the third and final fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association that Wayside has hosted this year.

Community cookout

A community cookout in Goodyear Heights, featuring free burgers and hot dogs, cookies and other picnic food will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

The Goodyear Heights Community Action Group is teaming up with Goodyear Heights Baptist Church and Heart 4 The City Church for the cookout that will include face painting and games. It will be on the corner of Honodle Avenue and Goodyear Boulevard, west of Reservoir Park.

Kris Lonon, with Goodyear Heights Community Action, said this is the group’s first event.

“The idea is to create a venue where people can talk, get to know each other and strengthen the Goodyear Heights community/neighborhood bonds,” Lonon said. No better way than to do that than with food, I say.

This is the first of three cookouts at the same location. The others will be from 6 to 9 p.m. July 13 and Aug. 24.

Fresh food in Medina

The Medina midweek farmers market will kick off 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in Root Candles’ parking lot at 623 W. Liberty St.

The city’s other market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays in Medina Public Square.

Workshop in Kidron

Joe Salatin of Polyface Farms, a farm in Virginia known for its back-to-basics methods, will be the keynote speaker at a Country Living Workshop June 30 at Lehman’s in Kidron.

The website for Polyface Farms, “the farm of many faces,” (http://www.polyfacefarms.com) says it “arguably represents America’s premier non-industrial food production oasis.”

Cost of the workshop (day pass) is $35, lunch included. Cost for children ages 5 to 12 is $7. For information, go to http://www.lehmans.com/storeevents.

Also at Lehman’s this Saturday, free pressure canner lid testing will be offered. Lehman’s is at 1 Lehman Circle in Kidron.

Ukrainian Festival

The annual Ukrainian Festival, featuring traditional foods such as homemade pierogi and stuffed cabbage rolls, returns to the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church in Firestone Park from 1 to 8 p.m. June 30.

Last year, organizers decided to more than triple the amount of baked goods for sale, and it was such a success they’re doing a repeat this year.

Butter-rich paska bread will be available, along with kolach rolls (flavors include poppy seed and nut), sweet varenyky (stuffed pasta), keiflies (cookies made of cream cheese pastry wrapped around a filling) and more.

The church is at 1866 Brown St., just north of East Waterloo Road. Look for the big tent.

Also on the bill: a polka band, a folk band and a performance at 3 p.m. by the Kyiv Dance Ensemble from Pittsburgh. Church tours will run throughout the day. Ukrainian items will be available for purchase. Admission is free. For details, go to hgucc.org or call 330-724-8277.

Wine tastings

• Wise Guys Lounge & Grill, 1008 N. Main St., Akron, will host an Italian wine tasting from 6 to 9 p.m. June 20, featuring small bites by Chef Dino Reed. Cost is $40.

Wise Guys is also bringing back Nick Anthe’s Weekend Thursday through Saturday. Wise Guys is in the building that formerly housed the Nick Anthe Restaurant.

The restaurant is open 3 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 330-922-3006 for reservations for either event.

• West Point Market, 33 Shiawassee Ave., Fairlawn, will offer its first summer wine tasting of the year from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday. Cost is $30 (down from the initial price of $35). It includes appetizers, cheese and “something sweet,” along with a drawing for store gift cards and a chance to win a Diva cake from the store’s long-awaited on-site bakery. Call 330-864-2151, ext. 405, for reservations.

• Papa Joe’s, 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road, in the Merriman Valley, will feature wines from Fess Parker in California for a dinner at 6:30 p.m. July 20. Cost is $85. Call 330-923-7999 for reservations.

• California and Ohio wines will both take the stage at a rock and roll tasting that looks to be a deal.

More than $3,500 worth of wine will be on the menu at a cost of $65, touts the organizer of the 7-9:30 p.m. June 24 event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. That’s less than many rock concert tickets cost these days.

In all, about 40 wineries will be featured. Most of the Ohio wineries are from the Grand River region near Geneva; Gervasi Vineyard in Canton is also on the list.

The organizer is the Ohio Wine Producers Association, http://www.ohiowines.org.

For more information and a complete list of wineries, go to https://bit.ly/2kT7Z2N.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Orin Swift Cellars at 7 p.m. July 19. Cost is $95. Call 330-899-9200 for reservations.

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

You can now take a culinary trip from Jamaica to the Southern low country and Japan in the space of a couple of blocks in downtown Akron.

Pots & Pans Jamaican Cuisine first turned on the reggae music and began serving island favorites such as jerk chicken, oxtails and chicken “frikazee” last fall on South Main Street.

The Boiling House & Sushi Bar, around the corner on West Exchange, is now boiling up crabs, lobster, crawfish and clams and presenting them in heavy plastic bags, along with gloves and bibs. Yep, you read that right. They’re messy.

Pots & Pans

“Oh man, since January, probably 30 plus,” said Malcolm Robinson, 23, when I asked him one recent day how many times he’d eaten at Pots & Pans at 325 S. Main St., in the space that previously housed a Pita Pit.

Robinson, who works in insurance in downtown Akron, was with a group of co-workers waiting for lunch orders. He was not doing a light lunch. He ordered two Jamaican beef patties — beef in a flaky pastry shell, with roots in the English pasty — and a large curried chicken, breast meat simmered in spices.

Lucky for Robinson and other fans, Simone Sherman, who operates the eatery with her daughter, Lamesha Caldwell, and son Lavrick Caldwell, decided she wanted a less expensive place to live than Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The family had moved there from Jamaica about a decade ago.

Sherman, who worked as a nurse in Florida, was eager to experience the four seasons and decided to move north. She landed in Ohio and wound her way to Akron.

One day last year, Sherman and family members drove past the Main Street storefront and saw it was available for rent. It’s the family’s first foray into the restaurant industry, Lamesha Caldwell said.

But Sherman and her 21-year-old daughter aren’t fazed by their lack of experience. “We had a farm in Jamaica and mom likes to cook. She’s just really good at it,” Lamesha said.

The menu is simple. Their meat entrees include pork jerk, chicken jerk, chicken frikazee (mine on a recent trip was very tender and falling off the bone), oxtails, goat curry and chicken curry. Seafood items are new to the menu, and they include shrimp jerk and shrimp curry. Prices for entrees, which come with Rasta Stew (cabbages and carrots) and rice, range from $6.45 for a small chicken frikazee to $18.68 for various dishes made with yellowtail snapper, including snapper curry.

Sides include Irie Slaw (a vinegar-based coleslaw), fried plantains and a favorite of mine, fried festivals, which are flour and cornmeal breadsticks fried golden brown. They’re sweet, but not too sweet.

It’s a no-frills place. Picnic tables painted in Jamaican flag colors of black, yellow and green dot the dining room. A big flag of Jamaican reggae musician and cultural icon Bob Marley hangs on one wall.

The food is made from scratch daily. Customers order at the counter and can see the various offerings.

Lamesha Caldwell said her mother can be a bit impetuous at times, as evidenced by her quick decision last year that there were too many sandwich shops in Akron and the city needed a Caribbean restaurant.

“Well, it seems it was a good idea,” Caldwell said. “Because everyone is happy we’re here.”

Soft drinks are available, but no alcohol. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Closed Monday and Sunday. Call 234-706-2300, see http://www.potsandpansja.com or its Facebook site.

Boiling House

The Boiling House added sushi last month, hoping to boost its lunchtime crowd.

Seafood boils and sushi may seem like an odd combination, but Boiling House owner Leo Chen cooked for the Wasabi Japanese steakhouse chain when he and his wife, Tiffany, came to Ohio a few years ago. The couple is originally from China.

“A lot of doctors order it,” said Tiffany of the sushi, noting they aren’t far from Akron Children’s Hospital, as well as Akron General Medical Center.

Boiling House opened in March. The small spot, just west of Bricco in the same 1 W. Exchange St. building, is a revival of the Chens’ Boiling Crab that was on Romig Road in Akron.

Some customers new to the concept have adjusted well to seafood boils served in a bag — “it’s part of the fun” — while others request a plate, Tiffany Chen told me on a recent visit. Customers place the bags on a plastic tray and toss shells into metal buckets.

There are combos featuring crawfish, mussels or clams, each with snow crab legs, shrimp, sausage, a half-ear of corn and a potato. They’re $30, and it’s a lot of food.

You can also get seafood a la carte, served with corn and potato. Choices include snow crab legs for $20, mussels for $12 and shrimp (head on) for $14.

Seafood is served with choice of four sauces: Garlic Butter, House Juicy, Lemon Pepper and Cajun.

There’s also fried seafood platters (not served in a bag) with french fries, including shrimp ($15) and cod ($11). Hoagie sandwiches are served with french fries: shrimp ($11), catfish ($11) and chicken ($10).

Marteecé D. Waters of Youngstown was enjoying the seafood with family in Akron on a recent weekend. “The food is absolutely delicious,” said Waters, who had eaten there several times before.

Waters, who owns a travel agency, also likes that it isn’t a chain: “I support all things local, whether that’s in Youngstown or Akron.”

The prices “are phenomenal for the amount of food you get,” he said, adding that the sushi is a lighter option.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Call 234-571-9692.

Craft Cantina coming

Crave, the 13-year-old downtown Akron eatery, is expanding again, this time into Akron’s Merriman Valley.

Co-owner Aaron Hervey and a silent partner are hoping to open Craft Cantina, featuring craft beer and craft-your-own tacos, guacamole, burritos and bowls, in early August at 1244 Weathervane Lane in the Liberty Commons area of the valley.

On a video posted on the Craft Cantina Facebook page, Hervey says, “The emphasis will be on craft beer and craft in what you want” to eat.

The space once housed the Indian restaurant Saffron Patch, now at 1238 Weathervane Lane, also in Liberty Commons. Old-timers may recall that it housed the celebrated Maison Martel, which served authentic French food and closed in the early 1990s.

Hervey and the same silent partner opened Crave Cantina last year on the former Front Street pedestrian mall in Cuyahoga Falls.

Sarah’s Vineyard fest

The Summer Solstice Festival at Sarah’s Vineyard in Cuyahoga Falls runs from 4 to 10:30 p.m. June 22, noon to 10:30 p.m. June 23 and noon to 6 p.m. June 24.

This outdoor event, in its 16th year, features wines, food vendors and music.

New food vendors this year are Fork Food Truck by Hudson’s Restaurant and the SWAT Food Truck. SWAT stands for Stuffed (burgers) With Amazing Taste, Sarah’s Vineyard General Manager Sarah Altieri said.

Homegrown Popcorn & Bunker Hill Cheese, Ms. Julie’s Kitchen, and Wholly Frijoles Food Truck are returning. Sarah’s will sell its wood-fired pizzas and Boy Scout Troop 155 will sell hot dogs, soft drinks and snacks.

Daily admission of $10 gets you seven tastings of Sarah’s wines and a glass. Parking is free. No outside food or coolers permitted.

Sarah’s is at 1204 W. Steels Corners Road, across from Blossom Music Center. Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers will play at Blossom on June 23, so the traffic could get a little hectic before the concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Go to http://www.sarahsvineyardwinery.com/solstice for a list of vendors and the music schedule. The phone is 330-929-8057.

Pizza Palooza

Pizza Palooza returns to Medina Square from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The event brings together local pizzerias to compete for People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice.

Sampling tickets are $8. Dozens of social service groups will be on hand to share information. Sponsors are Main Street Medina, which promotes the city’s downtown, Feeding Medina County, United Way of Medina County and Westfield Bank.

For information, go to http://www.mainstreetmedina.com or call 330-722-6186.

Stow farmers market

The Stow Community Farmers Market, in its eighth season, has opened with a record 31 vendors.

The market runs 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 6 and features live music and events. It’s in the parking lot of the Stow Community Church, 1567 Pilgrim Drive.

Produce, potted plants, jams, honey, homemade soaps, grass-fed beef, eggs, baked goods, loose tea, fresh roasted coffee and more are available.

The market is now accepting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) cards, as well as credit cards. Go to http://www.stowfarmersmarket.com or the market’s Facebook page.

Small bites

• Old European Days & Bierfest will be June 23 and 24 at the German Family Society of Akron. This is a big food, beer and dancing bash. Children’s games will be offered, along with an inflatable bounce house.

Admission is $5, free for children under age 12. Parking is free. The society’s grounds are at 3871 Ranfield Road in Brimfield. Hours are 3 to 11 p.m. June 23 and 1 to 7 p.m. June 24. Go to http://www.germanfamilysociety.com.

• The Well Community Development Corp. and Asian Services In Action, are teaming up for six Middlebury Wednesdays! outside of the Well building at 647 E. Market St. The first installment is June 27 and each Wednesday will feature the HAPI Fresh farmers market, food trucks and breweries. The event will run from 4 to 7 p.m. in the back lot of the Well, the former First Presbyterian Church. Compass Coffee generates revenues for the nonprofit and is inside the Well building.

Go to thewellakron.com/middlebury-wednesdays or the Well Community Development Corporation Facebook page for updates.

The HAPI Fresh farmers market will run through Sept. 29 at the same location, 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays beginning June 27, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays beginning June 30. HAPI stands for Healthy Asian Pacific Islander and is an agriculture job training program overseen by Asian Services in Action.

• The National Rib, White and Blue Festival in downtown Akron runs June 29 through July 4, a longer-than-usual 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.

• D’Agnese’s Trattoria & Cafe, 566 White Pond Drive, will host a wine dinner at 5 p.m. Thursday. Cost is $65. Call 234-678-3612 to reserve.

• Wise Guys Lounge & Grill, 1008 N. Main St., Akron, will host an Italian wine tasting from 6 to 9 p.m. June 20, featuring small bites by Chef Dino Reed. Cost is $40.

Wise Guys is also bringing back Nick Anthe’s Weekend June 21-23. Wise Guys is in the building that formerly housed the celebrated Nick Anthe Restaurant.

The restaurant is open 3 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 330-922-3006 for reservations for either event.

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

California and Ohio wines will both take the stage at a rock and roll tasting that looks to be a deal.

More than $3,500 worth of wine will be on the menu at a cost of $65 per ticket, touts the organizer of the 7-9:30 p.m. June 24 event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. That’s less than many rock concert tickets cost these days.

The California wines will be from wineries on Sonoma County’s Wine Road. Wine Road is an association of wineries and places to stay in the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River valleys of Northern Sonoma County.

Beacon Journal features editor Lynne Sherwin, who is much more of a wine aficionado than I am, says she bets this will be a fascinating tasting. She notes there’s a small winery on the Sonoma County list, Moshin Vineyards, that she fell in love with when she visited California’s wine country.

Moshin wines that will be available for tasting June 24 include 2014 Rosalina Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, which retails for $58.

In all, about 40 wineries will be featured. Most of the Ohio wineries are from the Grand River region near Geneva; Gervasi Vineyard in Canton is also on the list.

The organizer is the Ohio Wine Producers Association, http://www.ohiowines.org.

For more information and a complete list of participating wineries and their wines, go to https://bit.ly/2kT7Z2N.

Anthony Bourdain had a very Akron sense of humor.

“Sarcastic, funny and witty,” recalled Black Keys drummer and Akron native Patrick Carney on Friday after Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room in France.

Carney spent a chunk of a day with the chef, writer and huge music fan, filming a segment of his No Reservations show that aired in 2012 on the Travel Channel.

The episode opened with Carney and singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach picking up Bourdain in what the TV host called a “van of death and possible dismemberment.”

The No Reservations show, Carney said, “was shot with some sort of weird plot … We were kidnapping him. I think his thing was he thought there were a disproportionate amount of serial killers from Akron, Ohio, so he was making some sort of joke.”

The show featured Carney and Auerbach eating barbecue in Kansas City with Bourdain.

The episode was shot a few days after the Black Keys released El Camino and about two years after their commercial breakthrough, Brothers.

Carney said he and Auerbach were big fans of Bourdain’s show and books, and their publicist managed to get them on.

“We were sort of star-struck by him,” Carney said.

They bought Bourdain a bottle of the coveted Pappy Van Winkle bourbon to impress him and they all polished it off.

Bourdain, who infused his shows with music, had a big following among rock and other musicians, Carney said: “It’s rare to see someone with such a high profile, a non-music-related show incorporating so many musicians.”

Bourdain hopping from one culinary/cultural adventure to another, was akin to a rocker on tour, Carney said.

“This guy, who kind of seemed sort of out of place, traveling around,” discovering things, “was very reminiscent of touring musicians. It was very relatable,” he said.

“We all kind of grew up on the road broke,” Carney said. “He would go to the nicer restaurants and he would also highlight the holes in the walls,” gems that offered cheap, but good eats.

“When I hear of anybody killing themselves, I can’t really wrap my head around it,” he said. “It’s a big loss … He was more of a rock ’n’ roll star than I’ve ever met.”

In 2014, Smithsonian magazine called Bourdain “the original rock star” of the culinary world, “the Elvis of bad boy chefs.”

Bourdain showcased Cleveland in the third season of No Reservations, on a show that aired Aug. 27, 2007: “I like Cleveland. Always did. I find the much-maligned town beautiful. A stark reality up against a unique sense of humor and resignation, a surprisingly hopeful place for food if you only bother to look.”

Katie Byard is the stepmother of Patrick Carney. She can be reached at 330-996-3781 or [email protected].

Today we bring you foodcentric news about Cuyahoga Falls, which recently celebrated the reopening of Front Street to vehicles. .

The folks behind the Burntwood Tavern plan to open Rose Italian Kitchen in the revived stretch of the roadway. It will go in the space that previously housed Hibachi Japan at 2251 Front St.

“We’ve had our eye on [the space] for a potential sister concept,” said Jen Leonard, marketing and events manager for Chef Art Pour, the restaurant group headquartered in Chagrin Falls that has nine Burntwood Taverns in Northeast Ohio.

This will be the second Rose Italian Kitchen. The first opened in April in Solon, and like that one, the Falls location will have bocce courts and a terrace.

Chef Art Pour hopes to open the place, just a little south of the Falls Burntwood, late this year, in time for the holidays.

I wondered if I misunderstood Leonard when she said that also like the Solon place, the Falls site “will have the wheat.”

I heard right. Dried wheat is a part of the decor of the Solon site. It sits atop a partition that separates the dining room from the bar, adding to the farmhouse feel. Walls will be white, and vintage light fixtures will add warmth.

The menu boasts appetizers such as shrimp and crab cakes ($12), pizza (personal size are $14; large ones are $19), salads (a wedge with pancetta runs $7), entrees like Grilled Beef Vesuvio (at $24, the priciest dish) and pastas. The signature Pasta Rose with chicken, mushrooms, green onion and red pepper cream costs $16.

The restaurant is named for the late Rose Gentile, grandmother of Michelle Adams, wife of Chef Art Pour founder Bret Adams.

The Front Street location grew more attractive with the reopening of the roadway to drivers. The city closed portions of the street in 1978 to create a pedestrian mall that never lived up to the city’s hopes. Early this year, the street was reopened, and on Saturday, the Falls celebrated with a parade and festival.

Hours for Rose will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Brunch will be available 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Happy hour, with $3 off any appetizer, $4 house wines and $6 signature cocktails, will run 3 to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

For more information, go to the Rose Italian Kitchen Facebook page.

Burgers and salads

Chef Art Pour’s plans for an Italian-focused restaurant meant developer Joel Testa has changed some plans.

Hibachi Japan moved in 2015 to 1803 Front St., the first building in the Falls’ Riverwalk complex, a development of the Testa Cos. Nearby is Testa Cos.’ Watermark, a condominium-apartment-retail space that previously housed The Office restaurant and bar.

Testa, president of Testa Cos., said early this year he planned to take over that spot, and said at the time he was leaning toward a restaurant with “an Italian influence.”

When he heard of Chef Art Pour’s plans for Rose Italian Kitchen, he switched things up.

Now, Testa, along with restaurateur Dave Sharp, is planning to open Butcher and Sprout, which Testa describes as “an American bar and grill with a focus on gourmet burgers and an extensive salad menu.”

He says there will be a full bar and “family-friendly options” with a focus on local ingredients.

This is the second restaurant partnership in which Testa and Sharp are involved. The two also are partners in Byte LLC, along with chef Dante Boccuzzi and Morgan Yagi, who owns the Hibachi Japan.

Byte owns and operates DBA (Dante Boccuzzi Akron) in Testa Cos.’ Northside Lofts in downtown Akron, and the Speakeasy, in the Northside Courtyard by Marriott. Byte also owns Local Brew and the Belle Vie wine bar in the Northside Marketplace.

So there’s some local food scene trivia. There will not be a test.

Gift box for Dad

I think it’s safe to say that chocolate-covered bacon doesn’t come to mind for most of us when we think of organic/natural foods.

But Seven Grains Natural Market of Tallmadge this year is taking orders for its homemade hand-dipped bacon for Father’s Day.

As one would suspect, this isn’t just any ol’ chocolate-dipped bacon. The market takes its nitrate- and antibiotic-free, thick-cut bacon and hand-dips it in your choice of organic milk or dark chocolate.

The bacon comes in a gift box for dad. Four slices cost $12.99.

Deadline to order is Monday; call 330-633-9999 or stop by the market at 92 West Ave., west of Tallmadge Circle. For information, go to http://www.sevengrains.com.

Seven Grains will also host an Island Luau Taste Fair from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, with samples of summer grilling foods like island teriyaki chicken kabobs, scallion ginger fish tacos, mango coconut shrimp, pineapple upside down pie and more.

Vegans and vegetarians can sample vegan BBQ ribs, meatless chorizo three-layer dip and grilled sweet and spicy pineapple. Many of the dishes are gluten free.

This sounds especially cool: The store will be spinning natural and vegan cotton candy, a first in Northeastern Ohio, says Gina Krieger of Seven Grains. Chilled Organic Sangria, and Coconut Rum Loco-nut liquor also will be available. Oh my.

For information, call or go to the store’s website or Facebook page.

Lunch buffet closes

I’m embarrassed to say I’d never patronized the Tuesday lunch buffet in Greystone Hall, the restored Masonic Temple at High and Mill streets in downtown Akron.

Now I’ve missed my chance. I heard from a couple of readers who were sad to find that the lunch had been discontinued.

The Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau operates Greystone and the nearby John S. Knight Center. The Greystone buffet had been prepared by the Knight Center food service folks.

The Knight Center still operates its popular outdoor JSK Café, which opened for the season last week with a small menu, including hamburgers. It is open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays through Aug. 24.

Gregg Mervis, president and chief executive officer of the bureau, told me that the decision was prompted by the arrival of new lunch options downtown in recent years.

“There’s so many wonderful dining establishments. We decided to help lift those establishments,” he said.

He noted the bureau has teamed up with Downtown Akron Partnership for the Eating Downtown prize program, designed to promote more than 50 dining/beverage spots in a 42-block area.

Patrons can get an Eating Downtown map and punch card at any of the participating places, which range from coffee shops to food spots such as the Peanut Shoppe, El Gato Taqueria, Barley House and Chill Artisan Ice Cream Co.

To enter for prizes, you’ll need hole punches at eight of the participating spots. Return the completed cards to the downtown offices of either the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau, 77 E. Mill St., inside the John S. Knight convention center; or Downtown Akron Partnership, 103 Greystone Hall.

Each month through August, three winners will be randomly selected to win a $25 gift card to one of the downtown eateries. Those completing two or more cards will be entered into the grand prize drawing of $100 in gift cards, an overnight stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in the Northside district and a basket of Akron-centric items.

To see a map of locations, go to https://bit.ly/2ISHwAV.

Farm festival

The Sow & Grow Farm Festival and Plant Sale at Hale Farm and Village in Bath will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Food-related activities include talks on beekeeping, backyard chickens, hearth cooking, canning and preserving, fresh herbs and more. Demonstrations involve oxen driving, draft horses and blade sheep shearing and more.

The Citizens of Hale auxiliary group will sell plants, with special historic and heirloom annuals, perennials and herbs offered. The 19th century village/museum, at 2686 Oak Hill Road, will be open to explore buildings and the working farm complete with sheep. The 1810 Café and the MarketPlace shop will be open.

Admission for all activities is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12, free for members.

Hale Farm is also offering a new Friday music series (with food!), beginning June 15. The three installments — 5 to 8 p.m. June 15, July 20 and Aug. 17 — will feature local musicians in an outdoor setting and food from 1810 Café and other purveyors.

Pizza will be available from Dewey’s, doughnuts from Peace, Love and Little Donuts, and a cash bar, featuring Ohio wine. The music lineup: Katy Robinson, June 15; Time Cat, July 20 and Mike Lenz, Aug. 17.

Admission is free. You pay for the food and drink. Regular museum sites will not be open these evenings; bring blankets and chairs.

Cookies for a cause

Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar, Melt Bar and Grilled in the Montrose area of Bath Township and Thyme2 in Medina will be selling cookies for a good cause Thursday.

Members of Cleveland Independents, an organization of independent restaurants in Northeast Ohio, will bake and sell cookies for $2.50 each to support the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

The Melt Bar in Jackson Township, which is not part of Cleveland Independents, also is participating. For a list, go to http://www.clevelandindependents.com and click on “Cookies for Kids.”

Brimfield Bierfest

The popular Old European Days & Bierfest is coming up June 23 and 24 in Brimfield Township.

This event is one of the two major festivals the German Family Society of Akron offers, opening its grounds to the public for a big food, beer and dancing romp (it also holds an Oktoberfest each September). Sausage, schnitzel, stuffed cabbage, pastries and more will be on the menu.

The society’s grounds are at 3871 Ranfield Road in Brimfield.

Children’s games will be offered, along with an inflatable bounce house. Admission is $5, free for children under age 12. Parking is free. Hours are 3 to 11 p.m. June 23 and 1 to 7 p.m. June 24. Go to http://www.germanfamilysociety.com.

Small bites

• Ken Stewart’s Grille, 1970 W. Market St., Akron, will host a wine tasting with Justin Winery and Vineyards of California at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The menu will include seared jumbo sea scallop, warm goat cheese and pear salad, herb-roasted organic chicken, petite beef short rib and dark chocolate espresso mousse. Cost is $85. For reservations, call Terry Kemp at 330-697-6917.

• D’Agnese’s Trattoria & Cafe, 566 White Pond Drive, will host a wine dinner at 5 p.m. June 14. Cost is $65. Call 234-678-3612 to reserve.

• Wise Guys Lounge & Grill, 1008 N. Main St., Akron, will host an Italian wine tasting from 6 to 9 p.m. June 20, featuring small bites by Chef Dino Reed. Cost is $40. Call 330-922-3006 for reservations.

By popular demand, the restaurant is bringing back Nick Anthe’s Weekend June 21-23. Wise Guys is in the building that formerly housed the celebrated Nick Anthe Restaurant, a North Hill fixture for some 30 years until it closed in 2011.

Tom Procaccio of Cuyahoga Falls, whose parents operated Ladd’s Diner on State Road in the Falls, bought the Anthe’s building and opened Wise Guys in 2014. Call 330-922-3006 for reservations. The restaurant is open 3 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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

Today is National Doughnut Day, and you can score a free sweet goodness.

Participating Krispy Kreme locations — including the one in Akron — are giving away a free doughnut of your choice. No purchase necessary.

Here is the scoop: http://www.krispykreme.com/NDD

Dunkin’ Donuts is offering a free doughnut with the purchase of any beverage.

Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, is getting in on the act, giving away a free glazed doughnut.

Caution: Walmart’s Twitter feed has some customers reporting that some stores are clueless about the giveaway.

I called the Walmart SuperCenter in Springfield Township on South Arlington Road and a clerk said the store is participating. She said it was her understanding that all Walmarts are giving away one glazed doughnut per person.

Walmart’s Twitter feed cautions the giveaway lasts as long as “supplies last.”

The lone Krispy Kreme in Akron is at 354 Maple St.

National Doughnut Day was created in 1938 by the Salvation Army to raise money for people in need during the Great Depression.

During World War I, Salvation Army workers served coffee and doughnuts to soldiers in the trenches in the battlefields of France.

I’m doing a bit of catch-up today on three new places, among other tidbits.

Those new spots are a gastropub in the old Duffy’s, Mexico City in Akron’s North Hill and Global Kitchen in Tallmadge.

First up is Rm. 727 Gastropub at 231 Darrow Road, north of Interstate 76. Not quite a year after it closed, the longtime Duffy’s Restaurant and Grill in Akron’s Ellet area has been transformed.

Rm. 727 is owned by husband-and-wife Ethan and Aileen Moore, and executive chef is Ernie Cornelius, whose prior gigs include DBA (Dante Boccuzzi Akron). Folks online already are raving about his food, including Kraut Bombs and pizza.

Unfortunately for Duffy’s breakfast fans, there are no morning hours. But the bar remains — can’t have a gastropub without the pub! — and there’s good news for night owls: Most days, it’s open later than Duffy’s was. Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Sunday; 3 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 2 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Phone is 234-571-2738. Rm. 727 has a Facebook page.

Global Kitchen

Global Kitchen is celebrating its grand opening on Thursday at 12 Tallmadge Circle. As its name implies, it’s offering foods from more than one country: Nepal and its neighbors, India and China.

Soul Gurung, from Bhutan, and partners have spruced up the small space — which previously housed a frozen yogurt shop — dotting it with tables covered in white tablecloths.

Global Kitchen is in a plaza owned by Tony Jaber, who in 2011 bought the former Bumpas Drug & Emporium. The complex also houses a Firehouse Grille and a Danny Boys pizza shop.

A lunch buffet will run 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., then the regular menu will be served until closing. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Phone is 330-400-4800.

It follows at least two other Nepali places that have opened in the past few years: Nepali Kitchen, 399 E. Cuyahoga Falls Ave. in the North Hill neighborhood; and Everest Restaurant (Nepali and Indian), 2033 State Road in Cuyahoga Falls.

All three restaurants partook in last year’s Bhutanese Festival at the University of Akron, organized by the Bhutanese Community Association.

Mexico City

In Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, Mexico City Mexican Restaurant & Bar has opened where the Akron City Tavern was located, in a well-kept old brick building at 778 N. Main St., south of Cuyahoga Falls Ave. Akron City Tavern shut down in January. It and its predecessor, the Office, which opened in 2006, were welcomed in the working-class area.

Hours for the family-owned Mexico City are noon to 10 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Phone is 234-678-8957.

If you go on a Saturday, you can hit the new North Akron Market, which sets up in the lot across the street, next to the Hibernian club. The market, featuring fresh produce, crafts and artwork, will run 2 to 7 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 2.

Restaurant book

In 2015, historian Sharon Moreland Myers helped put together a popular exhibit on the Golden Age of Restaurants in Summit County at the main Akron-Summit County Public Library in downtown Akron.

Now Myers has a paperback book, Classic Restaurants of Summit County, which draws on that effort and an online book she put together in conjunction with the exhibit.

Local culinary history buffs will be pleased to see recipes from several of the restaurants, like Chicken in a Nest from the long-gone Kaase’s at 53 E. Mill St. in downtown Akron.

Also, unlike the exhibit, the book includes some spots that opened fairly recently, including the Blue Door in Cuyahoga Falls, Blue Canyon Kitchen and Tavern in Twinsburg and Merchant Tavern in Merriman Valley.

Myers packs a lot of information into the 160-plus pages. The history of many places is summed up in about two or three paragraphs. She includes a short history of supper clubs that left me wanting more. One of the places she focuses on is the Semler Tavern in Cuyahoga Falls, which the Beacon Journal’s Mark Price described in a 2006 column as a “rip-roaring resort.”

Many of the black-and-white pictures come from the Beacon Journal and the Summit Memory Project, overseen by the Akron-Summit County Public Library. All royalties from the book will go to the library’s Special Collections. The book is published by Arcadia and the History Press.

In 2015, Myers collaborated on the exhibit with Judy James, who was then special collections division manager at the Main Library in downtown Akron.

Myers, who now lives in Florida, will be coming to the area for two signings July 21, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Sand Run Pharmacy, 40 Sand Run Road in Northwest Akron, and from 1 to 3 p.m. at Learned Owl Book Shop at 204 N. Main St. in Hudson.

New Northside market

Downtown Akron’s Northside district is poised to get a produce and local food market that would be open year-round.

Cuyahoga Countryside Conservancy, operator of three seasonal markets, hopes to team up with area developer Joel Testa to open the market in the parking deck beneath the Northside Marketplace, a collection of small retail spaces.

Tracy Emrick, director of the conservancy, told me in an email the market idea grew out of Testa’s desire to have more food in the Northside District. The Countryside nonprofit’s board has approved the idea.

The space is just under 10,000 square feet. The initial plan is that vendors will set up on some Saturdays and Sundays, beginning this summer.

Emrick told me that she feels strongly “that this project has a great deal of potential for us and for the city. Public food markets are beautiful expressions of a place, its culture, its history and its vibrancy.”

She noted, “We have a region full of food and farm entrepreneurs and this project can really help them thrive, while bringing fresh, local food into Akron, year-round.”

Testa spearheaded development of the Northside Lofts, at 21 Furnace St., and the next-door Courtyard by Marriott.

Lebanese Festival

This year’s Lebanese Festival Aug. 3-4 marks the 30th year for the event at Our Lady of Cedars Maronite Catholic Church in Fairlawn.

The festival, featuring lots of Lebanese food and music, will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. both days (a Friday and Saturday) at the church at 507 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road. On the menu will be kibbeh, fattoush, tabbouleh, fatayer, grape leaves, hummus, shawarma and more.

Fun in Kent

Kent’s downtown will host Main Street Kent’s Art & Wine Festival from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday.

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

Also in Kent, the city 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.

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

Food at Stagefest

It’s not a food fest, but there will be some yummy eats at Summit Stagefest from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in Akron’s Highland Square.

More than 20 theater and performance groups will appear on six stages. New this year at the free event: Most will be covered by canopy tents for protection from the elements.

But we’re about the food here, so on with that. Food trucks A Twist of Leona, Smash Time and Southern Thangs will roll in, along with Nom Nom Popcorn, McCoy’s Custom Catering and other purveyors, including Bom, which sells “adult chocolate truffles” (there’s booze in ’em).

For more go to https://stagefest.org/vendors.

Wine calendar

• 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. Wednesday. $85. 330-923-7999.

• The Merchant Tavern at 1824 Merriman Road in Akron will offer eight wines from Owen Roe at a tasting from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. $35. 330-865-9510.

• WVIZ Grand Tastings and Seminars return to Ideastream, 1375 Euclid Ave. in downtown Cleveland on Friday and Saturday. Proceeds support public television station WVIZ/PBS and public radio stations WCPN (90.3-FM) and WCLV (104.9-FM).

Tasting sessions from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday are $75. Jacques Pepin, French chef, author and winner of the James Beard Award, will do a demonstration on Saturday ($100) and appear at a VIP dinner that evening ($300).

For more, go to the Ideastream Grand Tastings and Seminars Facebook page.

• 35° Brix, 3875 Massillon Road, Green, will offer a five-course dinner featuring wines from Orin Swift Cellars at 7 p.m. July 19. $95. 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.

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.