Downtown Cuyahoga Falls finally has what every thriving neighborhood wants — a locally owned coffee shop that pays attention to details.
From the coffee to the shop’s wallpaper, owner Albert Macso and employees of Asterisk Coffee Bar have put a lot of thought and effort into the place at 2101 Front St., near Crave Cantina.
Asterisk is a sister shop to Macso’s Akron Coffee Roasters, the 3-year-old downtown Akron coffee place where the beans are roasted on site. Asterisk, which quietly opened last week, uses beans from Akron Coffee Roasters.
And like the Akron shop, Asterisk specializes in the pour-over method, where coffee is made one cup at a time, with the barista pouring hot water over ground beans.
“We have a classic approach to coffee,” Eva Marx, the manager of Asterisk, as well as Akron Coffee Roasters, said. “We don’t have any frills.”
Marx has been with Akron Coffee Roasters since the downtown Akron shop opened. Unlike Akron Coffee Roasters, Asterisk will soon serve beer and wine. The coffee shop is in a “community entertainment district,” which allows for more liquor permits.
Last week, days after Asterisk opened, Akron Coffee Roasters wrapped up a Kickstarter fundraising campaign for the new shop, raising about $16,000.
That’s about $1,000 more than the $15,000 goal, or about 10 percent of the total cost of getting the shop off the ground.
Macso, the owner and an accountant, said the campaign was about more than raising money.
“We wanted to give the community a chance to be a little part of the shop,” Macso, 38, said. “Coffee shops are community spaces, so it just seemed right to get the community involved.”
Contributors to the campaign got a range of gifts — from a cup of coffee to a private coffee party for 20 guests — depending on the amount of their donations.
Asterisk, like Akron Coffee Roasters, boasts a no-frills look, with its clean, modern décor (lots of black and white).
The tin-type ceiling of the early 1900s Alhambra building in the Falls’ downtown, north of the clocktower, has been painted black.
Pendant lights hang over the bar, which is topped with a white counter. Upholstered vintage-like chairs look on to the street. A wall is adorned with dozens of succulent plants.
One wall boasts the wallpaper, made in France and featuring a scallop design, that manager Marx found online. It fits in with the shop’s modern-take-on-art-deco look, she said.
On the menu
In addition to coffee drinks such as espresso and latte, Asterisk also offers specialty drinks such as Coco Cortado, made with espresso and steamed chocolate milk and affogato, ice cream topped with espresso.
Milk used in these drinks is from Hartzler Dairy of Wayne County. Almond milk, made in the shop’s Vitamix machine, also is available.
Drip coffee is available — but only until 10 a.m. each day.
For now, the limited food menu is the same as that at Akron Coffee Roasters, featuring cinnamon and sugar toast, as well as other toast options.
On-site baker Katie Mertz makes baked goods such as scones and other goodies. Once the shop has its liquor license, she’ll make quiches for Saturday brunches with mimosas.
Asterisk also gets a weekly delivery of croissants from Summit Croissants.
One of my favorite local treats, the croissants are made by home baker Sally Ohle.
Macso and Marx said the plan is to expand the menu, as well as the hours once the shop has its liquor license.
Tapas — small plates such as hot olives — also will be offered to complement the beer and wine. The shop will come up with its own boozy additions to coffee.
So what’s with the Asterisk name?
Akron Coffee Roasters wouldn’t work because the shop is in the Falls, and asterisks are part of the Akron Coffee Roasters’ branding, Marx said.
Akron artist Micah Kraus does all the Akron Coffee Roasters graphics and artwork, including the pictures on bags of coffee beans.
Asterisk is among new businesses popping up on the stretch of Front Street that previously was a pedestrian mall. It was opened to vehicular traffic last year as part of a plan to redevelop the area, which has been designated a historic district.
“Once they did that,” Macso said, “you could tell it had so much opportunity.”
The day I stopped in last week, the owners of the Pav’s Creamery ice cream shop in the Falls, mother-and-son Sandi and Keith Saffles, stopped by to check out their new neighbor. Pav’s opened last year at 2162 Front, in the same block as Asterisk. It also has a liquor license, offering "adult milkshakes."
Asterisk customer Becca Fiser, who lives less than a half mile from the shop, had been eagerly waiting for the coffee shop to open.
“I really like it," she said. She was sitting in one of the chairs in front of the shop and working on her grocery shopping list. "It's just really quiet … I can walk here."
For now, the shop's hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Digital deli coming
Fans of traditional Jewish deli food rejoice.
Temple Israel Sisterhood of Temple Israel in Bath will take orders for its first Digital Jewish Deli beginning Tuesday and running through Oct. 15.
The Digital Jewish Deli is so named because you can order online. And there’s no deli to actually go to. Pick-up is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 3, and those getting food won’t leave their cars. Rather, they’ll drive under the covered entrance of Temple Israel at 91 Springside Drive.
The Sisterhood is the same group that organizes the biennial Art and Jewish Food Festival at the temple. This year is an off year for that event; it will return Nov. 15, 2020. A $2 coupon for 2020’s event will be included with each pickup order.
Kudos to the Sisterhood for getting such a big start on that event.
The Digital Deli will feature many of the eats available at the festival, including chicken matzo ball soup, stuffed cabbage, corned beef sandwiches, potato latkes, noodle kugel, hamantashen (triangular-shaped filled cookies) and rugelach (a type of Jewish pastry).
New items available though the Digital Deli include black-and-white cookies and gluten-free pastries.
To order and pay online beginning Tuesday, go to www.jewishdeli.net. You also can download the order form from that website and mail the form and payment to Temple Israel, 91 Springside Drive, Akron, OH 44333.
You also can pick up and complete the order form at Temple Israel and pay by cash or check.
Questions can be answered at email@example.com or call 234-200-6011.
Pizza Fest at Lock 3
Akron’s first Pizza Fest is coming to Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron this Saturday through Sunday.
Pizza vendors lined up for the three-day fest at press time were Jet’s Pizza, Dewey’s, Upper Crust, DiLauro’s, Lorenzo’s Pizzeria, Corbo’s and Georgio’s.
That list doesn’t include many Akron-area pizza makers. But the event will give attendees a chance to taste slices from Cleveland-area spots such as Corbo’s.
You’ll be able to buy pizza by the slice or a whole pie.
The festival will run from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free Friday. On Saturday and Sunday it will be $5 for adults ages 18 and over; $2 for teens ages 13 to 17; free for children ages 12 and under; $3 for students with a current college ID.
A buy-one-get-one adult admission is available from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with a printed copy of a flier that can be found at akronpizzafest.com.
Pizza-eating contests will be at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Cost is $12. You can preregister at akronpizzafest.com or register 30 minutes prior to the event.
Kids activities and free-to-play cornhole are scheduled at the event organized by a private promoter in conjunction with the city.
Parking will be free at the Summit County parking deck on High Street, the O’Neil’s parking deck on State Street and the Cascade parking facility off Mill Street.
Made in Ohio fest
The Made in Ohio Festival at Hale Farm & Village, featuring Ohio-produced arts, crafts, beer and wine, will run from noon to 5 p.m. Friday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The $7 admission includes the art festival as well as the grounds, buildings and craft demonstrations at the collection of historic structures in Bath. (Regular admission to Hale Farm is $10.)
Food vendors will be available through the day. The event also will include musical performances and traditional artisan demonstrations.
Hale Farm & Village is at 2686 Oak Hill Road. For information, go to www.madeinohiofestival.com.
The German Family Society's Oktoberfest is Sept. 6-8 at 3871 Ranfield Road in Brimfield Township.
German fare such as schnitzel, cabbage rolls, rotisserie chicken, franks, hot pretzels and corn on the cob will be on the menu. Beer, dancing and polka bands also are big parts of the festival. An outdoor Biergarten and a Jäger tent 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. 6, 3 to 11 p.m. Sept. 7, and noon to 7 p.m. Sept. 8. Admission is $5, ages 12 or younger free. Call 330-678-8229 or go to www.germanfamilysociety.com.
Get your passport
Kent's International Festival — featuring food and beverage samples offered by downtown businesses — will follow the Run the World 5K at Kent State University Sept. 7.
The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Dan Smith Community Park in downtown Kent and will feature performances and the annual Passport Excursion, which features food and beverage samples offered by downtown businesses — each representing a different country.
Passports are $5 and will be available for purchase at "Customs" in the park on East Erie Street, north of state Route 43. (Race participants receive free passports.)
Passport Excursion participants get a stamp for each destination. The first 100 people to return to "Customs" with their completed passports earn a prize. For details, go to www.mainstreetkent.org/kent.
For information on the race, which benefits scholarships for study-abroad programs, go to www.kent.edu/RunTheWorld.
Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook.