Foundry Kitchen & Bar

Rodney Johnson is passionate about restoring older buildings — he sees potential in neglected sites and wants to breathe new life into these spaces. Perhaps this comes from his background in construction, design and finishes or his dedication to the community as a longtime Elyria resident. 

That’s exactly the way Kevin and Gail Flanigan feel. So, when they purchased the building at 525 Broad St. nearly two years ago, the Flanigans decided to partner with Johnson to open a joint venture: Foundry Kitchen & Bar.
“We hope to showcase the history of the city of Elyria and Lorain County’s industrial past,” says Kevin. 

Gail has owned and managed The Unicorn Restaurant & Pub in Grafton for 34 years. Johnson has been active in the bar and restaurant industry since 1985. Foundry’s general manager, Greg Dabran, has 20-plus years of experience managing casual theme and fine-dining restaurants in markets around the country.

The Lineup:
Foundry offers a menu prepared by Chef Richard Wolf, along with a bar that includes 25 craft selections on draft, including cask. You’ll also find deep bourbon and scotch listings. Along with appetizers to share, hand-cut steaks, seafood and comfort food, the menu offers gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian dishes. 

The Scene: 
Foundry’s decor pays tribute to the region’s industrial, rustic roots with metal and wood finishes. An old fireplace displayed is from the building’s boiler room, and the original hardwood floor and accents have been restored. Throughout the establishment you’ll see historic Elyria photographs. Larger tables encourage big groups to gather. 

Don't Miss: 
Check out Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

525 Broad St., Elyria. 440-281-9181. Open Mon.-Tues, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Weds.-Thurs., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Bar open an extra hour Mon.-Sat.

Giuseppe's Wine Cellar

The old Amherst Hardware Store has evolved into a casual and unique destination for tasting and buying wines, craft beers and cigars. Giuseppe’s Wine Cellar opened in March 2013, a project of Paul Birres, previous owner of Paul’s Beverage in Elyria, and his family. He brings 30-plus years of experience to patrons interested in learning about, tasting and simply enjoying spirits. 

If you tried a wine during your travels, or enjoyed a glass at a restaurant but can’t find a bottle to take home, ask Birres. “Our concept is offering hard-to-find wines and craft beers,” he says, adding that the cellar’s wide selection includes lots of Ohio wines, everyday wines and a range of craft beers. 

But what makes Giuseppe’s different is its private cellar, where 125 locker members can tip a glass in an informal environment. Also, Giuseppe’s hosts events with winemakers and breweries all over the country. 

Locker members and patrons love that they can meet winery representatives and expand their palates, Birres says. “And there is always someone here who is qualified to answer questions.”

The Lineup:
Giuseppe’s represents wineries from California, Australia, Italy, Spain — and Ohio, among other regions. Check out an extensive list of craft beers, along with premium cigars. 

The Scene:
Variety is the word. Guests can explore and experience wines and beers in a comfortable, service-oriented environment. Members gain access to the private cellar, which Birres hopes to expand this year. 

Don't Miss:
Any event at Giuseppe’s is “like a wine and beer tasting unplugged,” Birres says, relating how interesting programs are a departure from the typical tasting. For example, incorporating beer into desserts. Call for upcoming events. 

209 S. Main St. #1, Amherst. 440-984-5300. Open Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

Rue 254

The menu is American bistro-style and inspired by its location in Avon — where local lore says it was a stagecoach stop leading from Cleveland to Detroit. Rue 254 offers upscale casual fare in a setting that’s appropriate for a date night, evening with friends or nice meal out with family, says owner Peter “Taki” Diamantis. 

Diamantis owned the former M Bistro in Westlake, and some might recognize menu favorites like the Romano-crusted grouper. Aside from Rue 254, he operates Taki’s Greek Kitchen in Avon Lake. 

The Lineup: 
Bistro fare features satisfying meals made from fresh ingredients. Daily specials include pork chops on Mondays, city chicken on Wednesdays and spaghetti and meatballs on Sundays. A bar menu satisfies wine lovers, beer drinkers and those who enjoy specialty cocktails.

The Scene: 
Comfortable with ample dining for groups of all sizes, everyone in the family can find something to enjoy on this menu. 

Don't Miss: 
Try a Rue 254 cocktail with Tito’s vodka, lemon basil syrup, lemon juice and white balsamic vinegar. For dinner, opt for the popular Romano-crusted grouper with white wine lemon butter, or a Rue 254 aged sirloin. (All steaks are Certified Angus Beef.)

32045 Detroit Road, Avon, 440-617-6326. Open Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sat., 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Railroad Brewing Co 

A new brewery in Lorain County will “connect the dots” of distributing craft beer companies that are cropping up and thriving throughout the state,
and help put Lorain County on the craft beer map, says Railroad Brewing Co.’s Dave Lengyel. 

Located on the railroad tracks at 1010 Center Road in Avon, Lengyel and partners Thomas Wagner and Jerome Moore want to pour a local, Lorain County authentic experience for guests at the 4,000-square-foot brewery and taproom. 

The prime location close to the new Cabella’s and Route 83 retail will give people a place to stop, gather and enjoy some brews and simple refreshments. Railroad Brewing Co. will feature food trucks and bring in local caterers. “We have parking and the property to entertain and help everyone, not just our own business but others in the area,” Lengyel says of partnering with food purveyors. 

The Lineup: 
A 10-barrel brewing system and taproom will serve 12 selection, six or seven from the brewery and the rest from friends. “We’ll also be featuring craft beers from our friends in the craft world,” Lengyel says, calling it a close-knit community. 

The Scene: 
Clean, crisp and focused on the craft beer, guests can enjoy a casual environment and taste Railroad Brewing Co.’s creations. 

Don't Miss: 
Try Railroad Brewing Co.’s flagship brew, Red Caboose. The red Amber Ale promises to “flow smoothly down the track.” 

1010 Center Road, Avon. Opens January 2017.

Cork Tree Tavern 

Refined rustic Italian is what you’ll find at Cork Tree Tavern, another Robby Lucas concept in downtown Amherst. Lucas, who was a founding member of Bar 145 with nine locations throughout the Midwest, worked in the Cleveland culinary scene for some time, including serving as the chef de cuisine at Johnny’s Downtown on Cleveland’s West Sixth Street. 

Lucas grew up in Lorain “by proxy,” he says, spending time here with his father’s family. His wife, Nicole DiGiandomenico, was born and raised here. Lucas jokes that the family “bleeds Lorain” and wanted to introduce some fresh dining concepts to the area. 

“We kept driving by this building in Amherst and saying, ‘Something cool could happen here,’ ” Lucas says of the location that’s now home to Cole’s Public House, Cork Tree Tavern and Cork Tree Catering. Cork Tree is the more dressed up, refined neighbor. 

The Lineup: 
Find Northern Italian cuisine with simple ingredients that are elegantly prepared, along with an extensive wine list. 

The Scene: 
Subtle elegance and comfort make for a fine-dining experience that is special and accessible.  

Don't Miss: 
Check out the walk-in wine cellar and pasta room, where you can see pasta drying on racks and select a bottle to share at the table.

209 Main St., Amherst. Tentatively opening in January 2017.

Cole's Public House 

Pull up a seat at Cole’s Public House for “serious entrees” in a lively pub atmosphere, says the inviting Robby Lucas, chef and owner. A chef-driven menu, roll call of handcrafted cocktails and lots of craft beers on tap fill a gap in the market for this type of experience, Lucas says. 

“I think people were wanting a place like this to come, sit down and have a full meal that they didn’t have to drive out of town to get,” he says. 

The Lineup:
Forget highfalutin’ culinary speak. You won’t find a menu glazed with fancy descriptions, though Lucas says that Cole’s kitchen team is executing fine-dining techniques in the back of the house. It’s a call-it-what-it-is approach. “Our philosophy is to understate on the menu and over-deliver at the table,” Lucas says. 

Meatloaf and Mash is made from pure Ohio ground beef, packed in a casing and poached. Once cool and sliced down, it looks like a filet. (“We are essentially making a terrine,” Lucas says.) On the menu, it’s simply listed as is: meatloaf. 

A generous list of craft beers (including ciders) and wines accompanies handcrafted cocktails made from homemade juices. “Everything is done right here in house,” Lucas says. 

The Scene:
Cole’s is a gathering place, and Lucas says the establishment has a Tremont vibe. “Our goals is to take fine-dining techniques and do it in a way where people feel comfortable coming in here, whether it’s after a shift at the steel plant or a downtown bank.” 

Don't Miss:
Order Meatloaf and Mash, or try the popular veal chop Milanese. Check out the fresh, full raw bar with oysters, mussels and clams flown in every other day. At the tap, ask for one of the latest craft brews, such as sought-after Zombie Dust from 3 Floyds Brewing Co. 

209 S. Main St., Amherst. 440-984-7432. Kitchen open Mon.-Sat., 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Bar open until 11 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and midnight Friday and Saturday,