Bricco restaurants, including the nearly 16-year-old eatery in downtown Akron, have a new owner — a local man who is a 27-year veteran of the restaurant industry.
Dave Sharp, 46, part owner of fine-dining restaurant DBA in downtown Akron’s Northside district, bought the restaurants from Dave Glenny, who opened the downtown Bricco mother ship in 2003 at the former Treva at Main and Exchange streets.
Sharp originally planned on keeping all five of the Bricco locations open.
But he couldn’t reach a deal on a new lease with the owner of the building that housed the newest restaurant, Bricco Prime on Manchester Road in New Franklin.
“We just couldn’t come to terms,” Sharp said Thursday. “It’s business as usual at the other Briccos. Come on in; and we’re planning on making them better.”
Sharp, who lives in his hometown of Cuyahoga Falls, said he’s not planning any significant changes right away.
“The restaurants are doing well,” Sharp said. “I think Bricco has a great program. Financially, they’re stable.”
Glenny worked as a wine salesman and managed a restaurant in Hudson before opening the downtown Bricco. Now a granddaddy of the downtown dining scene, the restaurant gained a following for its eclectic menu of seafood, beef, pizza and appetizers.
Sharp brought partners into the deal, including Michael Spaulding, a one-time line cook who worked for Sharp at the Macaroni Grill in the Copley area of Montrose.
Sharp had a 20-year career, including various management positions, with Macaroni Grill, first joining the company as a server in Phoenix, Ariz.
Sharp’s wife, Stacy, is a partner in the business and is the event manager. She also is the bookkeeper.
Sharp met her when they worked at the old Chi-Chi's Mexican Restaurant near Chapel Hill Mall in the early 1990s.
Glenny, who was sole proprietor of the Bricco group of restaurants, said Thursday that after years of running the business and overseeing its growth from a single restaurant to five, he wanted to move on.
“It was time,” Glenny said, “I decided maybe about two years ago that I was getting tired of working as much as I was. The way I had the business set up, it required me to work a lot. … I was working seven days a week."
In 2009, six years after the downtown Bricco debuted, Glenny opened Pub Bricco in the Merriman Valley. Café Bricco in the Double Tree by Hilton in Fairlawn opened in 2010, and the Kent Bricco opened in 2014. In summer 2017, Bricco Prime opened in the former Prime 93 in New Franklin. A Cleveland Bricco operated from 2008 to 2013.
Glenny said Thursday he “still loved coming to work every day … but the business side [everything from human resources to dealing with government entities] was really starting to weigh me down.”
Last September, Sharp learned from a bartender at the Northside Speakeasy in downtown Akron that Glenny was looking for a buyer. The bartender had worked for Glenny.
Sharp is one of the partners in Byte LLC, which owns and operates Northside Speakeasy on the ground floor of the Courtyard by Marriott. Byte also owns the nearby DBA, at the Northside Lofts, and the Local Brew bar inside the nearby Northside Marketplace.
The other Byte partners are Cleveland chef Dante Boccuzzi, area developer Joel Testa, and Morgan Yagi, who owns the Hibachi Japan in Cuyahoga Falls. Testa Cos. developed the Northside Lofts.
Sharp said he'd never met Glenny — though the two had long known of each other — until last year, when they started talking about Sharp buying the Bricco group.
"I've always wanted to own a restaurant company. That has been the thing on my bucket list," Sharp said. "I wanted to own a restaurant group where I could control my own destiny," as opposed to working for a corporate chain as he had for so many years.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com.