Piccadilly is named Best New Business in 2013 Best of the Heights Awards

Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt, an all-organic frozen yogurt shop opened in March by brothers Cosmin and Adrian Bota in Coventry Village, edged out finalists Katz Club Diner and Pinwheel Kids to win the Best New Business award in the 2013 Best of the Heights Awards.

From May through August, Heights residents voted for their favorite Heights businesses in 22 categories, including best new business. Each year FutureHeights—a nonprofit dedicated to promoting civic engagement in the Heights through information, education, and advocacy, and the publisher of the Heights Observer community news—conducts the Best of the Heights survey to recognize the unique attributes of locally owned businesses in the Heights, and their contributions to the local economy.

This year, FutureHeights recognized three businesses that have consistently been among the top vote-getters in the Best of the Heights since the contest began nine years ago. The Continuous Excellence Award winners are Jazzercise, Washington & Lee Service and Whole Foods Market.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 1:43 PM, 09.24.2013

Fashion-forward thinking keeps local designer a cut above

The Internet has given way to the ease and convenience of shopping online. With a click of a button, customers can view, purchase and have merchandise delivered to their homes. But what does the rise in online shopping mean for traditional retailers? As customers have become accustomed to the effortless process of purchasing online, some retailers find it difficult to compete, leaving many small, independently owned businesses pressed to bring in customers, and closing down within a year of opening.

Others, however, see an opportunity to change the methods of traditional retailing. DruChristine Fabrics & Design, at 1623 Lee Road, in Cleveland Heights, has successfully cleared the one-year benchmark by offering more than fashionable merchandise to clients. The success of this boutique comes by offering a lifestyle.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 3:48 PM, 08.30.2013

La'Sheek Resale Shop opens on Mayfield Road

In May, twin sisters Gennette Tanks and Annette Green opened La’Sheek Resale Shop on Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights. The sisters had wanted to own a business for a long time.

“We have had a resale shop on our mind for ages,” Tanks said. Green added, “The idea was to have something to do after retirement."

Tanks and Green fulfilled their dreams when they found the space that now houses La’Sheek. The name was inspired by boutiques that the pair discovered on a trip to Paris. For five months, the sisters decorated La’Sheek and collected resale items.

Now, their colorful shop includes furnishings and household items, ranging from sofas to knickknacks. The store also sells clothing for men, women and children, as well as shoes and fashion accessories.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 2:35 PM, 08.30.2013

A deep love of pets fuels Rainbow Vets

Linda Mitchell grew up on a farm in Lordstown, Ohio. Her family did not have much money and could not afford to provide proper care for their animals. “I love puppies and kittens, but on the farm, the animals kept dying,” Mitchell said. “It was terrible.”

This experience inspired her to get a degree in veterinary medicine. She attended Hiram College, majoring in biology with a minor in environmental studies. She then went to The Ohio State University, where she earned her doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1998.

After graduation, Mitchell began working at Blue Cross Animal Hospital, which was located in Cleveland Heights. In 2002, she left Blue Cross and started the Rainbow Mobile Vet Clinic. Two years later, she opened the Rainbow Veterinary Clinic on Noble Road in Cleveland Heights.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 3:25 PM, 08.29.2013

CH boutique celebrates one-year anniversary with special events week of Aug. 11

The Internet has given way to the ease and convenience of shopping online. With a click of a button, customers can view, purchase and have merchandise delivered to their home. But what does the rise in online shopping mean for traditional retailers? As customers have become accustomed to the effortless process of purchasing online, some retailers find it difficult to compete, leaving many small, independently owned businesses pressed to bring in customers, and closing down within a year of opening. 

Others, however, see the situation as an opportunity to change the methods of traditional retailing. DruChristine Fabrics & Design, at 1623 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, has successfully cleared the one-year mark by offering more than just fashionable merchandise to clients.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 4:34 PM, 08.09.2013

City Buddha: Coventry's exotic marketplace

Back in 1997, Larry Collins was going through one of those transitional phases in life. He had been booking bands at Peabody’s DownUnder for more than a decade, but he was getting tired of the music business and felt it was time for a change.

“I needed to shake some stuff loose,” he said. Collins decided to go to Indonesia. He traveled around Southeast Asia for a few months, and he brought some Indonesian items with him when he returned to Cleveland. It turned out that his friends loved the things he had gotten in Indonesia, mostly sculptures, so he went back six weeks later and filled a large container with many items, including jewelry, clothing and artwork.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 4:15 PM, 07.31.2013

DuoHome opens in Cleveland Heights

Business owners Tim Kempf and Scott Suskowicz moved their design and furnishing retail store, DuoHome, to 3479 Fairmount Blvd. in Cleveland Heights in April. DuoHome relocated from Cleveland’s West Side to join other “like-minded retailers" in the Fairmount Taylor Business District. DuoHome is neighbor to two other home stores, Paul Hamlin Interiors and Paysage. “This is a dedicated design block,” said Suskowicz.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 4:07 PM, 07.31.2013

City Buddha online photo contest

Inspired by its owners' love of travel, City Buddha has launched a "Focus and Inspiration Photo Contest" on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Original photo entries can be of anything that inspires, from family to the outdoors.

The contest began on July 18 and runs through Aug. 15. To enter, go to the contest entry tab located online at, or submit photos to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag, #CityBuddhaCLE.

Owner Larry Collins said, “The competition is a great way for the public to share their inspiration and perhaps inspire another in the process. There’s beauty and inspiration all around us. We’d love to see your unique perspective. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to enter. Uploaded photos can be images taken with your phone or a digital shot taken with a camera.”

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 10:30 AM, 07.30.2013

July 1-7 is Independents Week in the Heights

The cities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and FutureHeights have declared the week of July 1–7 Independents Week.

“It’s a time to reflect on the importance of economic democracy and community self-determination by celebrating the nation’s locally owned, independent businesses and the stake each citizen has in shaping their home town’s future,” said Jennifer Rockne, AMIBA director.

“FutureHeights invites Heights residents to help celebrate by shopping at our many locally owned, independent businesses in the Heights,” said Clare Taft, president of the FutureHeights Board of Directors. “When we ask people to name their favorite restaurant or shop during the Best of the Heights Awards, they usually name locally owned businesses. Owners of these businesses are our friends and neighbors. They embody the spirit of entrepreneurism and individuality in our community.”

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 3:26 PM, 07.01.2013

The ongoing evolution of Record Revolution

Record Revolution is a Coventry institution. Located on the west side of the street between Lancashire and Hampshire roads, the store opened in 1967. More than 45 years later, at a time when record stores are a dying breed, Record Revolution is still there and still doing a brisk business. As Rob Pryor, the store’s general manager said, “We are one of the oldest independent record stores still operating in the country. That’s pretty amazing!”

The store, founded by Peter Schliewin, quickly became a key part of Cleveland’s burgeoning rock and roll scene. WMMS radio, which was one of the top FM rock stations in the country during the 1970s, based a lot of its programming on the store’s sales. Hundreds of rock artists made in-store appearances there, including Lou Reed, Patti Smith and Elvis Costello. The walls of the store—which, back then, took up three storefronts on Coventry, including the current location as well as the spaces now occupied by the Crazy Mullets beauty salon—were covered with rock stars’ autographs, including those of Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, the Who, Genesis and Mott the Hoople. According to Pryor, several plywood walls covered with signatures still exist, but they are currently in storage.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 12:00 PM, 07.02.2013

A store that wants to change the world

From the outside, Revolution Books—located on Mayfield Road just a few doors down from Coventry—resembles a typical bookstore. The windows are full of books, along with a T-shirt and a poster or two; and inside, the shelves are full of books. But unlike most bookstores, Revolution Books has a mission that goes beyond selling books—way beyond.

The store’s mission is to change the world. “The world doesn’t have to be this way,” said Norm Karl, who works at the store. “People are being shot by the police. Every 15 seconds a woman is battered or raped in this country. Some 10 million children die every year in the Third World from diseases and other causes that could be avoided. Then there’s the whole state of the environment, which is in pretty bad shape.”

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 11:39 AM, 07.02.2013

S.O.F.E. Wholefoods Grill offers healthy dining options

Tanya “Ty” Richardson, a Cleveland-area native, serves healthy meals at The S.O.F.E. Wholefoods Grill on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.

Richardson, who developed an interest in fitness at a young age, used to operate S.O.F.E. (Studio One Fitness Events), a gym in Bedford. Richardson said that her clients were interested in adopting healthy eating habits to accompany their fitness regimens, so she closed the gym and opened a restaurant with the same name. “I decided I wanted to get more into the food than the exercise,” she said.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 10:23 AM, 07.02.2013

Doug Katz opens new diner on Lee Road

Doug Katz, the chef who owns fire food & drink on Shaker Square and Provenance at the Cleveland Museum of Art, has opened a new restaurant in Cleveland Heights. Called The Katz Club Diner, the restaurant is located in the twin diner cars at 1975 Lee Road, across the street from Zagara’s Marketplace. Katz held a soft opening prior to the diner's grand opening on May 28.

Several other chefs attempted to run restaurants in the historic building modeled after railroad dining cars; but ultimately all failed. Katz, who lives on East Overlook, the street adjacent to the restaurant, believes he can succeed. “I live nearby,” he said, “and I watched all of the incarnations. I watched it, and I watched it, and I watched it fail.” When he found out the building was available, he worked out a deal.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 2:59 PM, 05.22.2013

Nighttown opens new four-season patio and dog-friendly court

Nighttown’s award-winning outdoor dining space has just gotten even better. Brendan Ring, the restaurant’s owner, purchased a small portion of the parking lot to the rear of the property from the city. Included in the deal was the property on which his original outdoor bar and patio (Stephen's Green) sat, which the city had leased to Ring. “An added bonus,” said Ring, “is that the city will totally repave the parking lot in late July. It’s pretty beat up right now.”

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 05.30.2013

Two new businesses set up shop on Noble Road

It used to be a grocery store, then a thrift shop. Most recently, it served as an Obama campaign headquarters, but for long intervals in between, the building remained empty. Now Fabuless Finds Resale Boutique and Hypersonic Coffee & Beverage divide the 2,000-square-foot space at the corner of Ardmore and Noble roads in Cleveland Heights.

They join a small strip including Serenity Styling Salon, Pipe’N Hot Grill, Free Styles salon, and MGW Resource Center, a nonprofit offering counseling and mentoring opportunities to teens. The newcomers’ April arrival marks a welcome resurgence in a neighborhood where many businesses have departed over the last decade.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 2:39 PM, 05.30.2013

New businesses open in the Heights

Several new businesses have opened their doors in the Heights since the start of the new year. Among them are:

Cedar Fairmount Business District:

Cleveland Chiropractic and Wellness Center
Dr. Emily Arnold Wheat has relocated her 12-year-old practice, which focuses on holistic health care, to the Heights Medical Building and is accepting new patients.
2460 Fairmount Blvd., Unit B
Open by appointment.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 4:15 PM, 04.30.2013

Best of the Heights now accepting nominations

The Best of the Heights Awards, an annual recognition program presented by FutureHeights, is accepting 2013 nominations for each of its 22 award categories.

Write-in nominations will be accepted until June 15, at which time the finalists in each category will be determined. During the months of July and August, voters will have the opportunity to elect the Best of the Heights winners from the top nominees.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 4:16 PM, 04.30.2013

Mitchell's Chocolate celebrates 74 years

Bill Mitchell remembers when his parents, Chris and Penelope, opened Mitchell's Chocolates. It was located on Coventry Road then, next door to the Centrum theatre.

Back then, candy was not available at the movie theatre, so residents of Cleveland Heights would stop in Mitchell's to buy some chocolate to eat during the feature, and then go see the movie.

Now Bill Mitchell is the owner of the family business, which he describes as "a tradition in Cleveland Heights for 74 years." It moved from Coventry to Lee Road in 1991.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 4:35 PM, 04.30.2013

At 50, Severance faces challenges

Heights residents are now accustomed to the 1960s-vintage Severance Town Center in our midst, though the site was still the lushly landscaped 161-acre estate of John L. Severance as late as the 1950s, decades after the surrounding residential neighborhoods were developed.

In 1953, Severance Millikin, a nephew, hired the Austin Company to develop plans for future use of the Severance property. Austin opened its since-demolished headquarters there in 1960 and the Winmar Company of Seattle broke ground in 1962 for Ohio's first automobile-era enclosed shopping mall. The center opened in 1963, anchored by branches of old-line Cleveland department stores, Halle's and Higbee's. Most perimeter properties—those located outside Severance Circle—were still unoccupied. Austin's campus, in the northeast corner of the perimeter, was the exception.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 4:21 PM, 04.30.2013

Scene magazine names Heights businesses among Cleveland's best

Scene magazine has announced its its annual Best of Cleveland list for 2013, and named many Heights businesses among the honorees, as voted on by its readers.

Among those honored were the Cedar Lee Theatre, which Scene described as "the most unique movie theater in the Cleveland area," and Coventry's La Cave Du Vin—"if you were to design the ideal wine bar on paper, it likely would look a lot like La Cave Du Vin," noted Scene.

Heights winners include:

Best Movie Theater: Cedar Lee

Best Place for Spoken Word: B-Side Liquor Lounge

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 12:15 PM, 04.16.2013

Study shows increase in storefront vacancies, differences among districts

The number of vacant storefronts in Cleveland Heights has increased by about 6 percent since 2009, from 11.05 percent to 17.59 percent. Some commercial districts have seen a dramatic increase in vacancies, while others have remained the same or decreased slightly. Coventry Village, Fairmount Taylor, and Cedar Fairmount have the lowest vacancy rate, while Noble Monticello has the highest. While the vacancy rate for Severance has remained relatively constant, that is expected to change once Walmart leaves for Oakwood Commons in South Euclid.

The study, conducted by nonprofit FutureHeights, sought to measure the health of the city’s commercial districts and the effects of the recession by counting vacancy rates. FutureHeights conducted a similar study in 2009 by walking each commercial district and counting the number of vacant and occupied storefronts. For the 2013 study, FutureHeights worked with the city’s former economic development director, Howard Thompson, to create a database of storefront properties in the commercial districts and, again, walk each district to count the number of occupied and vacant storefronts.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 10:41 AM, 03.26.2013

Pinwheel Kids to open in former Sunbeam space

There is a quaint little cluster of shops in Cleveland Heights on Fairmount Boulevard, between South Taylor and Queenston roads. One of them, Sunbeam–A Shop for Children, has been offering clothes and gifts for children in the Heights at this location for nearly 17 years, and in the community since 1915.

Earlier this year, Vocational Guidance Services (VGS) Sunbeam Board, the nonprofit organization that ran the shop, decided it was no longer within its mission to run a retail shop and announced it was closing Sunbeam. The board is redirecting its awareness-building and fundraising efforts to special events and activities, such as Fiesta on 55th and its holiday boutique. Members of the Sunbeam's board of directors will continue to provide support to VGS, but without the shop.

Fortunately, longtime manager Janet Nelson decided to purchase the store and carry on its tradition. “It was a bit scary,” she said, “but I have 30 years of experience and many loyal customers.”

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 11:05 AM, 03.26.2013

An unlikely restauranteur creates a delicious spot north of Mayfield

Jim Barle is something of a serial entrepreneur. “I’ve never—quote, unquote—had a job in my life,” said the humble 43-year-old, with a smile, as he took a brief respite from a typically busy weekday.

The 1987 Cleveland Heights High School graduate owned a successful landscaping business for more than 20 years, which he later sold, and currently owns several local properties, including the iconic Rockefeller building. Even childhood classmates recall he had a penchant for business from a very early age. His most recent venture, Barlē Soup & Sandwich, just north of Mayfield Road on Lee Boulevard, is a labor of love—love of the Heights, that is.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 1:01 PM, 02.28.2013

Heights entrepreneur receives JumpStart funding

Cleveland Heights resident and entrepreneur Ron Cass, president and founder of Big River, has received a $250,000 funding commitment from JumpStart, the Cleveland-based business accelerator.

Cass, a Chicago native, is a 1984 systems engineering graduate of Case Western Reserve University (CRWU). He founded Big River in 2011 following a career in IT focusing on artificial intelligence.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 12:45 PM, 02.28.2013

Hessler on the Heights opens on Lee Road

The pop-up holiday store at 2174 Lee Road—Hessler on the Heights—is here to stay. The gift shop and gallery, which had its official opening on Feb. 10, sells the works of individual artists, including tie-dye, jewelry, teas and herbs, clothing, accessories, edibles, cards, journals, salsas, soaps, botanicals and wood products.

Among the artists whose work is included are Michelle Sokol (tie-dye), Faith McFluff (clothing), Marci Zabell, Beth Lewin (pottery), Joan Diouf (botanicals), Blaze Gourmet, Carol Van Diest (Krew Designs), Faustino Enriquez, Cecie Mack, Eve 'n' Stephen and Carl Jones. "There's something here for everyone," said Sokol, a longtime Heights resident.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 11:08 AM, 02.19.2013

Business groups launch March focus on small business in the Heights

Small businesses employ more than half of the national work force and are crucial to our economy, as was frequently mentioned during last year's presidential election.

Our region's largest small business support organization, the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), is working with the 14 local chamber of commerce partners in its COSE Affiliate Program to launch a year-long intiative called The Year of the Small Business. Throughout 2013, COSE will work with each chamber partner to hold a month-long celebration in its community. COSE is launching the year-long program by teaming up with the Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce (HRCC) to focus on small businesses in the HRCC service area of Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Shaker Heights, Richmond Heights, South Euclid, and Lyndhurst during the month of March.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 12:57 PM, 02.28.2013

Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt opens on Coventry

On Saturday, March 23, the first all-organic frozen yogurt shop in Ohio, Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt, opened its doors at the site of the Grog Shop’s first Coventry Village location, just south of Mayfield Road. Brothers Cosmin (Cos) and Adrian Bota, first-generation Americans, chose Coventry for its combination of pedestrian-friendly streets, vibrant storefronts and eclectic neighbors.

“I like the idea of people walking up to the business,” said Adrian. “It reminds me of New York City. I like the diversity here. I said to my brother, ‘let’s do something where people are enjoying community and the arts—let’s be part of urban renewal.'”

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 12:50 PM, 02.28.2013

Katz Club Diner is set to open this spring

Why would an exceedingly busy man like Doug Katz take on yet another huge project—transforming a vacant restaurant on Lee Road into old-time diner and bar cars of the 1940s. His plate already seems to be overflowing.   

Katz, owner/chef of fire food & drink in Shaker Square and chef/partner of the recently opened Provenance restaurant and café in the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), responded with three cogent reasons. First is his passion for cooking good food and sharing it with others. Second, his catering business, which currently operates out of fire’s back kitchen, has outgrown its space. Third, he is motivated to do something for his staff and for the community in which he and his family live.

Katz has been cooking since he was a child, when he hard-boiled his first egg at age five. He is a friendly and genial host who enjoys being part of his guests’ dining experience—greeting them and chatting about the food they’ve ordered.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 12:30 PM, 01.31.2013

Coventry Village plans events to make last-minute shopping fun

On Friday, Dec. 21, and Saturday, Dec. 22, Coventry Village Special Improvement District (CVSID) invites community members to participate in community caroling. Carolers will visit stores and restaurants throughout the district from 5 to 9 p.m. CVSID will serve hot chocolate and provide light-up items to participants.

From 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 23, Coventry Claus will visit the street to spread good cheer. As you might expect, Coventry Claus exudes the quirky, eclectic nature of the street itself.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 12:07 PM, 12.21.2012

Engineering good food at the Stone Oven

Who’d have thought that a couple of engineering majors attending Cleveland State University in the 1970s would eventually preside over a string of specialty restaurants that boast a storied history in the Heights—all based on a passion for bread. Certainly not John Emerman and Tatyana Rehn, the once-married couple who own Stone Oven Artisan Bakery and Restaurant, but that’s exactly what they’ve accomplished over the past couple decades.

“We were both mechanical engineers and didn’t particularly like working in that field. We wanted to do something a little more creative and fun,” said Emerman.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 12:12 PM, 12.18.2012

Mister Brisket continues tradition of sending 'Salamis to the Troops'

"My son Ben is doing his third tour in Afghanistan. Ben is the type of young man [who] thinks of others, not himself. When he finished school, his classmates applauded and stood when his name was announced and he walked across stage.  It was a small community, and every single one of them seemed to have a story to tell about some kindness he'd done for them.

I was not surprised at all when he decided to join the military. It suited his nature.

During his first tour, his eardrum was shattered. During his second, he was injured by shrapnel from an IED. When he came home, he never complained. I've prayed constantly for his safe return during this last tour. My means are limited so I can't do too much for him. If you could add him to the list of soldiers receiving salamis, it would be so deeply appreciated.

Thanks so much—a proud Mom,
Linda (last name and location withheld by request)"

Ben is the first soldier to receive a box of salami this holiday season through Mister Brisket’s Salamis to the Troops campaign. Hank Kornblut, owner of Mister Brisket on Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights, started the program in 2009 when a special request from a customer got him thinking.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 11:01 AM, 12.04.2012

AutoZone opens Cleveland Heights store

AutoZone, a leading retailer and distributor of au­tomotive replacement parts and accessories, celebrated the grand opening of its new Cleveland Heights store, at 3900 Mayfield Road (entrance on Wilmar Road), on Nov. 18.

Cleveland Heights Mayor Edward J. Kelley, Vice Mayor Dennis Wilcox and Council Member Jason Stein assisted Curtis Stanley, store manager, and Deandre Walton, an employee, in cutting the ribbon to open the store.

AutoZone worked with the city to identify a compatible property that would meet its needs, and on a design that would complement neighborhood aesthetics.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 11:12 AM, 12.04.2012

Handmade gift ideas guaranteed to please

What could be better at this busy time of year than checking off items on your gift list while reducing your stress level at the same time? Handmade gifts can do just that. Small repetitive motions, such as those required for knitting or needlepointing, actually have meditative qualities that may reduce heart rate.

Fortunately, folks in the Heights have three nearby independent boutiques that are bursting with ideas for handmade gift giving—Wool and Willow, Fine Points and Bolt & Spool can help you hand craft a gift that is sure to please the recipient or even become a treasured heirloom.
While it may be too late to start knitting a sweater, there are smaller items available at each shop that are ideal for last minute creation.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 9:58 AM, 11.30.2012

Pipe'n Hot Grill celebrates two years

Angela Coleman was a successful cosmetologist for 12 years. During her time as a master stylist at Maxelle's International Salon and Spa in Cleveland, the salon was rated as one of the best in the United States. Even though she worked in the beauty industry for more than a decade, Coleman always knew she wanted to open a restaurant.

Coleman, who lives in Cleveland with her husband, Jimmy, and their nine-year-old daughter Stesia, has always loved cooking and working with people. She wanted to open a restaurant serving what she knew best—seafood. On Dec. 18, 2010, she opened Pipe'n Hot Grill on Noble Road.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 9:27 AM, 11.30.2012

Family tradition and cuisine at the Mad Greek

You could call Chris Chopra, owner of the Mad Greek Restaurant on Fairmount Boulevard, an improbable restaurateur. The former golf pro assumed ownership of the restaurant, essentially by default, following the death of his father, Loki, in 2002.

“It wasn’t something I chose to do. When my dad became ill, it was kind of a no-brainer,” said Chopra. “I didn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter. It was either that or the restaurant was probably going to shut down.”

Chopra hadn’t been involved in the business previously, other than working there during junior high and high school, and again for a short time after he graduated from college.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 7:29 PM, 11.29.2012

Cedar Fairmount SID annual meeting Oct. 9 at Nighttown

The public is invited to attend the annual meeting of the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District, to be held tomorrow, Oct. 9, at Nighttown, 12387 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m.

At 10:30 a.m., Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc., will give a talk on "University Circle: The Neighborhood without Borders."

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 1:17 PM, 10.08.2012

Career insurance man thrives in the Heights

One could say that the Heights area has been good to Stan Harris. With his laser-sharp focus on helping people managa the risks of everyday life, Harris has been helping clients since 1988.

“I help people manage the unexpected and plan for their dreams,” said Stan Harris, who on this day sits comfortably in his office above Starbucks on Cedar Road, which he’s occupied for more than 21 years.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 1:24 PM, 10.31.2012

Stock up on flu season immune system boosters

The leaves have fallen. The kids are sneezing. Flu season is just around the corner. A few minutes of pantry, fridge and medicine cabinet preparation and you’ll have nothing to fear.

Try kale. It is high in fiber, vitamin A and calcium. Braise it in some broth or white wine, add it to a smoothie, or make some kale chips. Not a fan? Try Brussels sprouts, which are rich in protein and vitamin C. Check the Internet for some fantastic Thanksgiving recipes.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 1:13 PM, 10.31.2012

Holiday Gift Guide: More than $150

The Heights Observer wants to help you think outside the box. You can find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. And most will gift wrap or ship your items. Here are some of our favorites:

More than $150

Mariposa Cheese Board. ($154, Jubilee Gifts in the Heights)

12 Yoga Classes to help with those New Year’s resolutions. ($162,

Cameras. ($189.00 and up, Cedar Center MotoPhoto)

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 12:57 PM, 10.31.2012

Community engagement is the ethos of Dewey's Pizza

What began in 1998 as a single pizza store in the Oakley Square neighborhood of Cincinnati has blossomed into 16 stores spanning two states. Dewey’s Pizza in the Heights opened on Lee Road in 2005, joining the growing number of restaurants on the street.

Known for its youthful feel, family-friendly atmosphere and quality pizza, the restaurant took over the location formerly inhabited by Chuck’s Diner.

Dave Igel, managing partner of the pizza chain, said that local ties factored into the decision to open on Lee.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 10:31 AM, 10.31.2012

Lee Road Candy Crawl draws hundreds

Balmy temperatures in the 80s and bright sunshine made Thursday, Oct. 25, the perfect day for hundreds of local kids to don their Halloween costumes and crawl from shop to shop on Lee Road. From 4–8 p.m. revelers participated in the Cedar Lee Candy Crawl, organized by salon owner Shawn Paul Gustafson, which was held in conjunction with Phoenix Coffee’s annual Pumpkin Carving Party, now in its ninth year.

Gustafson got the idea for the crawl when he heard about the pumpkin carving party, just a few doors away from his salon at 2265 Lee Road. More than 36 Lee Road businesses participated in handing out free treats to costumed children 

“I think that we ended up with between 400-500 kids,” said Gustafson. “Some have said 600. I’ve no idea where the true number falls, but wow! What a great event for the district. It was so much fun!”

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 2:35 PM, 10.30.2012

Residents choose Best Of The Heights

More than 600 residents in Cleveland Heights and University Heights voted in 21 categories, online and by ballot in the Heights Observer, for the eighth annual FutureHeights Best of the Heights Awards.

The awards were presented at Dobama Theatre on Oct. 17, where more than 120 people gathered for the ceremony and reception.

Winners in four coveted categories were the Tavern Company for Best Cleveland Heights Business, Bialy's Bagels for Best University Heights Business, Sweetie Fry for Best New Business and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District for Best Heights Spirit. Academy Music, an anchor in the Mayfield and Warrensville Business District, received the Board Choice Award.

Angee Shaker, director of communications for the school district, was "very excited and proud" that the district was voted Best Heights Spirit. She especially wanted to recognize Kristen Hughes, the district's athletic director, and the athletic teams for their school spirit in athletics and involvement in the community. She said that she believes the district's "Tiger Proud and Bully Free" movement has contributed to a rise in school spirit, and also thanked the alumni foundation for its continued support of the district.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 2:24 PM, 10.23.2012

Heights Observer Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers ($10 or Less)

The Heights Observer wants to help you think outside the box. You can find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. And most will gift wrap or ship your items. Here are some of our favorites:

Stocking Stuffers ($10 or Less)

Bugle Bead Bracelets, 12 colors available. ($3.65, Simply Charming)

Sticky Notes by Anne Taintor, available in a variety of designs. ($4.00, Simply Charming)

Blue Cottage Cards, handmade festive holiday greeting cards from area artist Delyte Delong. ($4.50, Mac’s Backs)

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 12:42 PM, 10.31.2012

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts Under $50

The Heights Observer wants to help you think outside the box. You can find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. And most will gift wrap or ship your items. Here are some of our favorites:

Under $50

Lake Erie Review edited by Rob Jackson, et al. A new quarterly literary journal focusing on the Great Lakes region. ($13.95, Mac’s Backs)

Cotton and Felt Flowers Zippered Pouch. ($14.00, Simply Charming)

Hip Flask with Martini Cocktail Napkins and two Silver Martini Glasses.($14.50, $5.00 and $12:00, Simply Charming)

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 12:49 PM, 10.31.2012

Holiday Gift Guide: $50-$150

The Heights Observer wants to help you think outside the box. You can find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. And most will gift wrap or ship your items. Here are some of our favorites:

$50 to $150

Four Yoga classes to get healthy and centered. ($54.00,

Paisley Cotton Robe from India. ($58.00, Ten Thousand Villages)

Reiki Treatment to reduce stress and promote healing. ($60.00,

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 12:54 PM, 10.31.2012

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Person Who Has Everything

The Heights Observer wants to help you think outside the box. You can find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. And most will gift wrap or ship your items. Here are some of ourfavorites:

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 12:58 PM, 10.31.2012

Congratulations to the Best of the Heights

With the final tally of votes from more than 600 ballots, FutureHeights crowned the captains of local industry at the 2012 Best of Heights Awards held Oct. 17 at Dobama Theatre, 2340 Lee Rd.

The awards program is in its eighth year. Votes are collected throughout the summer for each of 21 categories through the Heights Observer and at

Top honors went to The Tavern Company, 2260 Lee Road, for Best Cleveland Heights business, Bialy’s Bagels, 2267 Warrensville Center Road for Best University Heights Business, Academy Music for the Board Choice Award and Sweetie Fry, 2307 Lee Rd, for Best New Business.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 9:05 AM, 10.18.2012

Coventry Village SID postpones street festival meeting

Steve Presser, marketing director for the Coventry Village Special Improvement District (CVSID), has announced that the public meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16, is cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later date. The CVSID had called the meeting to discuss ideas for a Coventry street fair in 2013

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 12:20 PM, 10.09.2012

Local restaurateur’s career spans more than three decades

If you want to see Raj Singh's face light up, ask him to talk about his lengthy history in the restaurant business. It's a journey that spans more than 32 years and has taken him from Kathmandu, Nepal all the way to Cleveland Heights.

It’s a distance of more than 7,500 miles, though Singh doesn’t much worry about numbers. “Fifty-three, I think,” he responded when asked his age. “Twenty-two . . . twenty-three years,” is how he characterizes the length of his marriage to Beverly Roberts Singh, founder and director of the Atma Center, located  right next door to Singh’s Taste Restaurant on Lee Road.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 2:50 PM, 10.02.2012

Myxx to close by Oct. 1; new building owner plans improvements

Myxx, a restaurant and bar located at 12459 Cedar Road in the Cedar Fairmount Business District, will close Oct. 1. Cleveland Heights City Council declared the business a nuisance at its Aug. 6 meeting and filed a complaint with the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Judge Daniel Gaul issued an order for Myxx to cease operations on or before Oct. 1.

JDI Realty, the Chicago-based company that purchased the building in July, had already given Myxx owners a 60-day notice of the termination of its lease.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 2:22 PM, 09.17.2012

New patio for Bodega on Coventry

Bodega on Coventry isn’t a topless bar. It’s a tapas bar.

“At first, no one even knew what tapas were,” said head chef and owner Said Ouaddaadaa. “Actually, when we were saying tapas, everyone was thinking ‘oh, they’re opening a topless bar!’ We brought in something that Coventry didn’t have.”

Ouaddaadaa, who has been in the restaurant business for 23 years, grew up in Coventry and always wanted to open a restaurant on the street.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 8:31 AM, 09.03.2012

Revive boutique offers unique handcrafted items

Six years ago, Lisa Dunn merged her separate career paths in retail, fair trade and human rights advocacy and opened the Revive Fair Trade boutique on Lee Road. “The goal of the store is to sell products that are handcrafted by artisans around the world and to give them a platform to retail their products,” said Dunn, a 10-year resident of Cleveland Heights.

Dunn had wanted to open her own store for as long as she could remember. “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to have my own boutique,” she said. “Once I got into retail, I started to wonder if I could do it in an ethical manner. When I realized there was an opportunity to sell products that people can believe in and make a positive difference, it was like the floodgates opened. I was very focused on making it happen with limited resources.”

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 8:25 AM, 09.03.2012

New sign marks Cedar Fairmount as a unique destination

The Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District (CFSID) unveiled a new sign in the traffic island where Cedar Road and Fairmount Boulevard meet. The sign, which had been a long time in the making, was unveiled just before the opening of the annual Discover Cedar Fairmount Festival on Aug. 12.

“The sign is the fourth phase of a project that began in 1999 when we completed a streetscape plan for the district,” said Kaye Lowe, executive director of CFSID. “In 2007, we hired Raymond Bugelski to create a logo for the district. We worked with Peggy Spaeth and Heights Arts to initiate a public arts project to mark the district as a unique destination.”

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 11:25 AM, 08.21.2012

Familiar faces and a dream come true at New Heights Grill

If you claim longtime Heights residency or have, through the years, found reasons to keep coming back, you may not know Kelly Kral and Adam Faller by name. But if either of them were standing in front of you, you’d be hard pressed not to say to yourself, “Oh yeah, they look really familiar.”

That’s because, between the two of them, they’ve logged upwards of 50 years of combined experience in the restaurant business. What is more remarkable is that all of it has been spent working in the Heights.

“I’ve pretty much lived on Corydon Road since 1968,” said Kral. “I just like the community, and St. Ann’s is really a big part of that. I have a great following of teachers who followed me from different locations." Kral inadvertently dated herself in referencing what is now known as Communion of Saints, no longer St. Ann’s. Call it longevity. 

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 4:54 PM, 09.04.2012

Cleveland Heights City Council declares Myxx a public nuisance

Cleveland Heights City Council passed an emergency ordinance at its Aug. 6 meeting declaring Myxx, a restaurant and bar located at 12459 Cedar Road, in the Cedar Fairmount Business District, a hazard to the health and safety of the community and authorizing the city manager and law director to take any steps necessary to abate the nuisance.

Mayor Ed Kelley said, “We had received numerous complaints from neighbors and businesses and there was no progress on working out the issues.”

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 3:11 PM, 08.07.2012

Atma Center celebrates 15 years on Lee Road

In 15 years on Lee Road, Atma Center has taught health-oriented yoga and brought Satyananda Yoga to the Heights neighborhood.

“I picked Cleveland Heights because I lived here and when we opened in 1997, yoga was [new and] different for some people,” said Beverly Roberts Singh, founder and director. “Cleveland Heights is a great place for it, since it’s an open-minded community.”

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 2:54 PM, 08.07.2012

spyngaFlows expands, promises to remain different

When Carina Adams found herself unable to reach her knees, she knew that something was wrong. Once an avid cyclist, her passion was leaving her stiff and at risk of injury.

Turning to yoga as a remedy, Adams quickly discovered that the two activities complement each other nicely. Cycling offers an intense cardiovascular workout, while yoga provides an opportunity to increase flexibility.

Inspired to learn more, Adams traveled to Toronto to study with the founders of Spynga, the cycling and yoga chain to which she now belongs. Adams said that she found her studio space the first time she drove through the Coventry neighborhood. After that, “everything just fell into place,” she added.

As a master Spynga franchisee, Adams prides herself on operating a diverse, inclusive and friendly studio. Classes at spyngaFlows attract a wide range of ages, from college students to the retired, and a variety of skill levels. Most classes are 50 minutes long, with 25 minutes on the stationary bike and 25 minutes of yoga.

Said Adams, “Typically we have someone who’s really practiced in yoga, but they’ve never been on a bike before . . . and vice versa.” To accommodate the gaps in experience, as well as to prevent injury and maximize the efficiency of each workout, Adams caps enrollment in each class at 12 people.

With her commitment to small classes, and the studio’s popularity, Adams is planning some major changes this fall. First, spyngaFlows is expanding its physical space by moving across the hall at 1846 Coventry Road, the building where the studio is located.  

Adams is also adding a teaching school. She hopes to retain some of these students as employees. Finding instructors who are qualified to teach both yoga and cycling is difficult. “Most yogis stay off of their bikes because it makes the body tighter,” she explained. The teaching school should also enable Adams to provide a diverse array of classes.

In addition to her standard yoga and cycling classes, Adams offers classes for kids, and post- and prenatal “boot camp” classes. She provides cycling and yoga expertise to sports teams as a trainer, working with, most notably, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Between working at spyngaFlows and raising three children, Adams finds the time to offer her fitness expertise outside of her studio. She leads bike tours of the Chagrin Valley, where she lives, and occasionally conducts free yoga sessions in neighborhood parks.

For more information about spyngaFlows classes, call 216-965-0310.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 3:26 PM, 09.04.2012

Carol Leslie, occupational therapist, helps patients through difficult times

Carol Leslie, University Heights resident and occupational therapist, helps trauma and transplant patients get through difficult times in their lives after surgery and recovery.

Leslie opened her business in Beachwood on March 1, in an office that she felt had a “calming and soothing aura.”

Leslie teaches skill building for recovery, which includes meditation, guided imagery for wellness and Reiki therapy. Everything is activity based, and she sets goals for every appointment.

“I really do have a passion for helping people after they leave the hospital,” Leslie said. “They have follow-up appointments with their surgeons and sometimes get home help a couple days a week to do specific things, such as going up and down the stairs and getting in and out of the tub. But nobody, other than a psychiatric nurse, is helping them cope.”

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 1:03 PM, 08.06.2012