Local restaurant owner chases success, manages transition
When Kim Lisboa, owner of Myxx Luxury Lounge and Restaurant in Cedar Fairmount, noticed fewer customers crossing the threshold of the former Jillian's Billiard Club, she knew she had to make a bold move. After a near-complete demolition and rebuild, the spacious new restaurant and lounge are more reminiscent of a place you’d find in Soho than in Cleveland Heights.
“I took over in late 2010 and tried to operate it as a pool hall,” said Lisboa, “but it wasn’t making money. The crowds weren’t large enough to make it profitable, so I decided to do something completely different.”
Sporting a contemporary new decor that features granite bars, flowing white curtains, swanky lighting, and new bathrooms and furniture, Myxx—all 960 square feet of it—opened in July 2011. The menu features what Lisboa describes as “nouveau contemporary classic cuisine,” and includes a variety of small plates, steaks, salmon and pork chops. There’s also a late night menu, and one just for kids.
Myxx also features music, and brings in DJs, bands and other live entertainment. “Cleveland Heights needed a new place to go, not only for fine dining, but also for live entertainment and dancing, “ Lisboa said. "I took over the entire space with the concept of booking special events—birthday parties, bar mitzvah's and larger social gatherings.” The space is large enough to accommodate more than one event simultaneously. “When people walk in they say, ‘This is such a change from before. You did a fantastic job.’ Others say, ‘It’s so big, what a perfect venue for large groups,'" Lisboa said.
So far, results have been . . . well, mixed. Opening a new restaurant is seldom without challenges. Lisboa, who is also president of Cleveland Granite & Marble, lost her first chef after only 6 months, forcing the restaurant to suspend food service for nearly two weeks. After hiring an interim chef for three months, she recently brought on Chef Jesse Mendoza and says she’s excited about Myxx’s prospects going forward. “He’s bringing a new flair that Cleveland hasn’t seen. He excels at mixing unusual combinations of flavors. I think he should give people a real incentive to stop in and try us out,” said Lisboa.
Recently hired general manager Neil Fredricks has upgraded the sound system and added a stage, making the place even more music-friendly. He plans to diversify the slate of entertainment acts, and plans to make Myxx a more club-oriented destination once the dinner hour closes out.
“After ten, it’ll basically be a blend of good cuisine and fun. It’s basically the place Cleveland Heights residents have been waiting for . . . and it’s here,” said Fredricks.
Richard Stewart is president of Digizoom Media, a Cleveland Heights-based video production company, and a FutureHeights board member.