Akron Dish: Basin Cafe, Michael’s A.M. mark milestones; winery tailgate party; Greek and Russian fests
There’s a accomplished lotta egg-cracking, pancake-flipping and adulatory activity on in Akron’s Merriman Valley.
Two longtime breakfast-lunch eateries — cozy, locally endemic places that are actual austere about their food — are appearance milestones.
It’s been 10 years aback B.J. and Nicole Mikoda bought the Basin Cafe, in an old coffer architecture at 1212 Weathervane Lane, by the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail.
Less than a mile abroad is Michael’s A.M. at 1582 Akron-Peninsula Road, which is adulatory 25 years in business and its fourth year beneath new ownership. Gary Porto, who had never endemic a restaurant before, bought the abode in 2015. He set about decidedly revamping the menu, as the Mikodas did at the Basin Cafe.
Let’s dig in.
You apperceive the Basin Bistro isn’t your archetypal breakfast-lunch abode aback the “signature dish” is Shrimp and Grit Cakes. (They’re accessible for breakfast or lunch, both of which are served all day.)
On the all-encompassing breakfast menu, this bowl follows accession with a Southern flair, the Breakfast Bowl, a accolade egg “bowl” abounding with a burst biscuit, home chips and cheddar cheese, smothered with bootleg sausage gravy.
B.J. Mikoda, 57, a built-in of Sarasota, Fla., who accelerating from Florida Accompaniment University with a amount in business and business management, says he mines his Southern roots for ideas.
Shrimp and Grit Cakes didn’t go on the card until February 2009, aback B.J. and Nicole absitively to try them for Mardi Gras. Now they’re the acknowledged item.
Like around aggregate else, the bowl is fabricated from scratch. Soups, sauces, gravies are all homemade. Turkey is broiled on site, as are ham and brisket.
“There’s no GMO aliment [genetically modified] or antibiotics,” said Nicole, 51.
B.J. brand to alarm his offerings “comfort foods with a gourmet twist.”
The Basin Veggie Breakfast Sandwich boasts accolade egg with house-roasted portabella mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and best of cheese. The Breakfast Burrito includes chorizo sausage and bootleg pico de gallo.
The 6-ounce Filet Burgers affection 90 percent angular arena beef from Holmes County. All sandwiches appear with can’t-eat-just-one bootleg chips.
The card is cheeky. “Amazing Breakfast Carbs” accommodate “Ginormous Pancakes” that are “as big as the plate.”
Buying an beanery is chancy at any time. Purchasing one in 2008, as the Great Recession was acrimonious up steam, was abnormally so.
During the recession, while the brace was transforming the abode to a from-scratch eatery, B.J. recalls a aliment benefactor suggesting he cut aback on costs by application beneath beginning ingredients.
“I didn’t get into this to do that,” B.J. said.
B.J. hadn’t run a restaurant aback his academy canicule afore he and Nicole bought the Basin Cafe. But for years, he had helped accompany with their eateries while alive for Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
His affection was food, not the accumulated world, and afore the Basin Cafe, B.J. formed at Piatto in city Akron and LeFever’s in Cuyahoga Falls.
“We should accept never fabricated it,” Nicole said, abandoning the aboriginal canicule of their ownership. Nicole, with a amount in economics and business administering from Kalamazoo College, formed as a Mary Kay cosmetics sales administrator until 2016, and B.J. delivered the Beacon Journal to ensure the brace didn’t absence a payroll.
They installed a additional patio and amid the above drive-through to add kitchen amplitude aftermost year. The central dining allowance was reconfigured to add added seats. The abode now seats about 80, including the patios.
In 2015, they opened a additional bistro in Wadsworth at 101 High St., in amplitude that had been home to a coffee shop. Ron Bell, who started as a band chef at the Akron Basin Cafe, fabricated the Wadsworth breadth possible, the brace said.
After Bell was assassin in 2011, B.J. begin out he had far added restaurant acquaintance than he’d aboriginal let on. Bell formed in restaurants in the Cleveland breadth afterwards confined in the U.S. Air Force, and in kitchens in New York and Las Vegas afore abiding to Northeast Ohio a few years ago to booty affliction of his parents.
These days, Ron oversees the kitchen in Wadsworth and Akron and is chef-partner. Nicole is in allegation of the advanced of the abode at both locations and B.J. oversees the business. He frequently cooks at the Akron Basin Cafe.
“There’s abundant business for everybody,” B.J. said, answer he doesn’t accord antagonism abundant thought. “You’ve aloof accept to do what you’re amorous about.”
“God is good,” Nicole said.
Both cafes are accessible from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven canicule a week. (The shrimp and grits are not accessible until 12:30 on Saturdays and Sundays.) The Akron buzz is 330-865-0101. The Wadsworth buzz is 330-331-7555.
Michael’s A.M. had me at crepes, but there’s a lot added aliment actuality fabricated from blemish at the abode in the Basin Centre arcade plaza, beyond from Papa Joe’s restaurant.
Gary Porto, 71, took over Michael’s in October 2015, befitting above buyer Mike Goodridge’s name on the business. Porto abdicate application canned and boxed aliment and began emphasizing bounded and amoebic ingredients.
A longtime home baker, he additionally alien his bootleg breads and added broiled goods.
On the approved card are Porto’s sourdough, biscuit raisin, cinnamon, gluten-free biscuit raisin and blueberry. He frequently makes Amish toasting bread.
The amateur for the sourdough dates to 1849; Gary has been agriculture the amateur aback he got it in 1981 in San Francisco, from the great-great-granddaughter of a woman who acclimated it to accomplish biscuits in mining camps.
Porto makes added breads on a melancholia base or aback he wants a specific aliment to be featured in a special — such as bells soup with brioche, a sweeter blazon of French bread.
Porto was administrator of development at Kent Accompaniment University. He retired in 2015 and for about six months, “I did the accustomed retirement things and I anticipation it was unfulfilling.”
He looked at dozens of businesses for bargain afore a agent told him about Michael’s.
While he had spent his career in academy fundraising, his grandfathering had endemic an Italian restaurant in Chicago that his parents eventually took over. It was abundantly a made-from-scratch operation, said Porto, who formed there as a child.
Attracting Porto to Michael’s A.M. were its loyal workers, including Scott Jones, a chef for 20 years, and Jones’ wife, Rebecca, who has formed there 18 years and is the account manager. The two met at Michael’s.
In the abbreviate time he has endemic the place, Porto has not alone adapted the menu, he additionally created a dining room/function allowance that seats 50 in a above adornment boutique abutting door, and added a baby patio, which opened on Mother’s Day.
In accession to the bootleg breads, he now gets all his meats from Duma Meats in Suffield Township and offers alone amoebic eggs.
Crab block and lobster Benedicts are accessible forth with approved eggs Benedict. All are served on house-made biscuits. Bootleg quiche additionally is on the menu.
About those crepes: There are candied ones served with aerated chrism (plain with delicate sugar; apples and biscuit with caramel sauce; strawberries or blueberries) and agreeable (spinach, onion, bacon and ricotta with hollandaise sauce; ham and cheese).
You can get ache combos with eggs and a meat. Unless you’re a big eater, don’t do what I did and adjustment a two-crepe combo. The crepes are filling.
While the aliment has changed, the old blooming booths and the lavender and blooming wallpaper remain — for now.
Porto said abutting ages barter can address their names on the bank at a “goodbye to the wallpaper” celebration. Shortly afterward, the walls will be corrective chicken and raspberry, and new tables and booths are planned for aboriginal abutting year.
A kitchen amplification to be completed abutting ages will acquiesce the kitchen aggregation to accomplish pasta and added breads.
Michael’s A.M. is accessible from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven canicule a week. The buzz is 330-929-3447.
Food and crafts
This is the additional year for the Accompany Aliment and Craft Market, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, in the parking lot at the above Riverside Wine at 911 N. Mantua St. in Kent.
The bazaar will abide there through Nov. 3 and move central to Trinity Lutheran Abbey at 600 Water St. in Kent until the Christmas holidays.
This is a baby bazaar with produce, gluten-free and vegan desserts and breads, candies and sugar-free items. It additionally appearance cage-free eggs, hand-blended amoebic teas, popcorn, avoid and protein bite balls. Vendors are actuality accepted. Alarm 330-678-1800.
You can tailgate with Bob Golic, the above Browns arresting accouterment and radio host on WNIR 100.1-FM, from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Red Horse Winery in New Franklin.
Golic will assurance any canteen of wine purchased that day, and T-shirts will be sold. The winery makes a candied blackberry wine called for Golic.
Tickets are $15 in beforehand and $18 at the door, which accommodate a pulled pork sandwich with potato bloom by Chef Tom Finn, a bottle of any wine, Golic’s Mad Dawg Hard Cider or bendable drink.
The winery is at 5326 Fairland Road, New Franklin. www.redhorsewinery.com.
Native foods dinner
A Built-in American foods banquet will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 30 to advice admire Akron’s countdown North American Aboriginal People’s Day Oct. 1.
Students at Lippman Academy brought the abstraction to council, and the banquet will be in the pavilion alfresco the Shaw Jewish Community Center, on the aforementioned campus at the school.
The banquet will beam Jewish comestible laws, and will be overseen by the Jewish Community Center’s chef, Efrat Ohayon. The banquet will accommodate guacamole, salsa and chips; broiled salmon; Three Sisters (corn, annihilate and beans); bison stew; bison chili; agrarian rice pilaf; attic accolade and mulled cider.
The Jewish Community Center is at 750 White Pond Drive, Akron. The banquet is $50. Reservations charge be fabricated in beforehand at https://bit.ly/2CdU3fc.
• The Greek Festival allotment for its 60th year to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Abbey at 129 S. Union St., adjoining to the University of Akron. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.
Admission and parking are free. Attendees can buy gyros, pastitsio, moussaka, soutzoukaki, dolmas, spanakopita and Greek pastries. Some vegan dishes are on the menu, and there will be a new lamb kabob dish.
There will be dancing, a bashful bargain and the Attic Treasures sales area. For information, alarm 330-434-0000 or see annunciationakron.org/greek-festival/.
• The fourth anniversary Main Street Kent Oktoberfest, featuring melancholia beer, German food, music and added will be apex to 10 p.m. Saturday on Franklin Avenue in city Kent. Added advice is at the Main Street Kent website, mainstreetkent.org.
• The Something Russian Festival at St. Nicholas Orthodox Abbey in Suffield Township runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 2 and 3. Yes, that’s a Tuesday and a Wednesday. There will be Russian and indigenous food, music, dancing, tours of the abbey and more. Go to somethingrussian.com for information. St. Nicholas Orthodox Abbey is at 755 S. Cleveland Ave., at accompaniment Route 532 and U.S. Route 224.
Send bounded aliment account to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com. You can chase her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at www.facebook.com and apprehend the Akron Bowl blog at www.ohio.com/food.
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