CLEVELAND (WJW) – Clevelanders will have a few more restaurants next month as several restaurants prepare to reopen after having closed for months.
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One of them, the downtown Winking Lizard Tavern gateway location, will reopen on March 8th, almost a year before the day it closed.
“We reopened many of our stores May 21 through June, but we were hit by the riot in downtown Cleveland and it just didn’t make sense to reopen,” said co-owner John Lane.
Ohio City’s Market Garden Brewery, Beer Market, Bar Cento, and Nano Brew will also reopen on March 10th, after having closed since November.
“We’ve been very excited to reopen for a while, but we’ve been watching the trends and making sure things are going in a positive direction,” said owner Sam McNulty.
Both owners say the state’s lifting of the curfew and the expiration of local stay-at-home recommendations were large parts of the decision to reopen.
“For us, this meant the numbers were going in a great direction. The future looks bright. The days are brighter. Let’s get back to work,” said McNulty.
“It’s psychological, people can feel safe, they know they got vaccines out there, the virus is going down, so we want to be ahead of the curve,” Lane said.
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While Winking Lizard has a different location downtown, they say it was its weakest sales.
Still, Lane says they see an upward trend in business downtown.
“We heard and hoped that by April 1, many more people would be working downtown,” he said.
They’re also betting on the possibility of baseball fans complimenting Cavs fans in the spring, which they think isn’t enough to keep downtown restaurants going right now.
“I hope because the Indians are out in the open that the governor will let a lot more people go in there, just like he did for Browns Stadium,” Lane said.
That would be the icing on the cake – but Lane tells us they need the cake to survive.
“Until more people downtown work and go to the office, you know, and we have some kind of crowd for lunch and happy hour before the Cavs games and the Indian games, it will be a little rough for a while,” said Lane.
McNulty also sees more people coming to Ohio City and plans to celebrate their return before St. Patrick’s Day, at the same time last year when everything closed.
“St. Patrick deserved more than a day, so we’ll be celebrating St. Patrick for a full week starting March 10, ”he said
When they last closed since November, McNulty and his business partner spent a quarter of a million dollars on their four locations.
“UV air filters, we’ve spent a lot of money improving the spaces and making sure everything is repainted and finished,” he said
With more outdoor dining and spring, these owners are also hoping for new life to their business.
“I’m very optimistic about the future not only for us, but also for our industry,” said Lane.
“There are definitely better times ahead,” McNulty agreed.
We also heard from McNulty that Great Lakes Brewery is slated to reopen on St. Patrick’s Day and that a special beer collaboration between the two companies will take place on that day.
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