Black Box Fix restaurant opens on Lee Road
Black Box Fix, a restaurant that features a variety of unique sandwiches, opened on March 27 on Lee Road, in the space previously occupied by Sweetie Fry. Eric Rogers and his wife, LaToya Rogers, own the new restaurant. Eric is the chef, while LaToya focuses on customer service. The Rogers previously ran Nevaeh Cuisine and Catering on South Green Road in South Euclid.
The couple has lived in South Euclid for the past five years, and have three children: two boys, ages 12 and 14, and a nine-month-old daughter. Eric, who’s 36, was born and raised in Cleveland, and graduated from Collinwood High School in 1997. After graduating, he took a job at University Hospitals, where he started as a clerk in the mailroom and kept moving up the ranks until he became the hospital’s supervisor of finance.
While at the hospital, Rogers did some catering on the side, working out of the kitchen at his house. He had gotten interested in food as a child. His grandparents owned a restaurant called Parkway Carry-Out, at East 123rd Street and Lakeview Road in Cleveland. Rogers began working there when he was 10 years old, and by the time he was 13, he was the lead cook.
In July 2011, Rogers decided to leave the hospital and focus on cooking. Initially, he focused on catering, then he decided to open his own restaurant. “I took a leap of faith,” he said. “I had a passion and a dream, and I followed it. I knew there would be some ups and downs, but I stayed firm in my belief.”
In March 2013, he opened Neveah, which is the word “heaven” spelled backwards. The restaurant was located in the Glengate Plaza on South Green Road. Neveah’s menu included a variety of sandwiches, as well as fresh fish and other entrees. The restaurant also featured special menu items every day. “We had a salmon and tilapia croquette, and an ‘LBJ’ sandwich, named after LeBron James, which was made of filet mignon,” Rogers said. “I have always loved creating things that are very unique.” The restaurant closed last November. “We outgrew the place very quickly, and that location was not really a dining destination,” Rogers explained. “Also, I was working 80 to 90 hours a week, and it took its toll.”
Initially, Rogers planned to focus on private catering, then a friend told him about the closing of Sweetie Fry and suggested he check out the space. “I did some market research, and I put a business plan together,” he said. Based on his research, he decided to open Black Box Fix. “I love all of the different restaurants in Cleveland Heights, and I love the diversity of the area,” he said.
The restaurant’s name refers to the black, recycled, compostable boxes the food is served in, and on social media posts Rogers saw when he ran Nevaeh. “People would always say that they came to the restaurant to get their ‘fix,’” said Rogers, who is a big believer in power of social media. “It’s the way of the world now, with everyone on their phones. Everything unfolds on social media.” Rogers has more than 19,000 followers on Instagram.
Black Box Fix’s menu offers nine sandwiches. The top-selling sandwich is the OMG Philly—grilled chicken and jumbo shrimp on a toasted brioche roll. Also popular is the Hibachi Burger, which features grilled shrimp and hibachi-seasoned beef topped with mozzarella and provolone cheese. It’s served on a toasted Kaiser bun.
“My food is always well-seasoned,” Rogers said. “I want people to taste all of the different layers of the sandwiches, from the bread to the meat and other items.” All of the bread Black Box Fix serves is made locally, and all of the beef and chicken is fresh, never frozen.
Rogers also likes to give back to the community. One dollar from the sale of every Lee Road Hobo sandwich, Rogers’ version of a Polish boy, goes to the Ginn Academy Youth Support Program, which provides programs for inner-city children in Greater Cleveland. Paintings by local artists are exhibited on the restaurant’s walls.
In addition to opening his new restaurant, Rogers also made a recent appearance on the Food Network. He represented the Midwest in the Guy Fieri show Guy’s Grocery Games.
Since its opening, Black Box Fix has been drawing huge crowds. “We’ve had overwhelming support,” Rogers said, adding that on the restaurant’s first two days of business, it sold out all of its food. “I love this neighborhood, and I am very happy that I have followed my dream.”
Black Box Fix
2307 Lee Road
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday, 2–11 p.m.
James Henke, a Cleveland Heights resident, was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine for 15 years. He is also the author of several books, including biographies of Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Bob Marley.