1847 Tavern and Grille started a soft opening a couple weeks ago at its 21 Mill St. location, but plans to open up full fledged hours here soon.
Many remember the building for the infamous Mill Street Bistro which appeared the Chef Gordon Ramsay television show “Kitchen Nightmares” in 2013.
During those two episodes, Ramsay and bistro owner Joe Nagy verbally sparred about the restaurant’s practices, menu and vision. Later that year though, Nagy changed the name of the bistro to Maple City Tavern, saying then it was time for a change and new focus. Despite the name change, the business closed and was sold January of last year.
Now Huron native Rob Humenik owns the building, which he and kitchen manager John Sharp say has taken a whole new life.
“After the TV show the business kind of (took a sharp decline),” Sharp said. “He kind of insulted the towns people in the national TV show and when all the people around here heard what he said, he just went out or business basically. Then Rob bought it off him about a year, year and a half ago.”
Sharp said the business has “come a long way” and “doing great.”
Since then the restaurant has gotten a rustic, family friendly remodel. Sharp said though they kept the tables and chairs there was “a lot” of cleaning involved, along with rearranging, fixing things that were broken. The previous restaurant had some of the original stone wall exposed from behind the wall. As the Tavern, more of that original stone is exposed, creating a rustic character and revealing some of the building’s history.
“The building did actually catch on fire way back in the late 1800s and you can see that’s some of the original smoke damage from the fire (on the wall next to one of the booths). They repaired it and kept on going because the walls are about two-foot thick,” Sharp said.
“The building was originally built in 1847 and it actually was one of America’s first electric motor repair service (shops). The company is actually still hear in town — Bennett Electric. ... Supposedly, though of course we can’t verify this, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford used to visit here because of Harvey Bennett and his work with the electric motors. They wanted to know what was going on. And originally it was a mill where they milled grain back before Harvey Bennett came in. Through the years, it was just different restaurants and things.”
That history is carried throughout the restaurant, even into the menu.
“There is a lot of rich American history in this area and so we just kind of wanted to tap into a little bit. People coming here from Connecticut were British people, French people, etc.,” he said.
“We wanted to do what we can to show people that you know we’re not just Norwalkians. We have a lot of heritage here from different areas of the world. Eventually the idea is to put all the different flags across the front and then for different events and national holidays and things, we’ll have a featured flag with the American flag. So people can drive buy and say ‘Oh, the French flag is up we’re having this, this and this and it’s Bastille Day.’ Dave, our chef, is a trained chef he’ll make the main entrees and things, but then he’ll kind of change the menu and make different things based on what he feels like making that week or if it’s a French holiday or whatever, he’ll say, OK we’re making (something along that cultural line). But we want it to be good food that’s affordable to everybody.”
Sharp said the menu is “totally different” from the previous owner’s.
“Every Saturday night is 50-cent wing night,” he said as one of the popular specials.
“We have great mac-n-cheese bites that are really good, salads, a build-you-own burger where you pick your own cheese and toppings, a smoked brisket that appears on the menu every now and again. A real popular item we do right now is the fish and chips. It’s real popular and we actually sold out last time. Totally gone. We have a couple steaks, an Alfredo pasta dish, a children’s menu and cheesecakes for dessert.”
Despite only being three days a week for about the past month, Sharp business is already picking up and gaining a following — something he says is due to the improved “family-affair” atmosphere that promotes “a family restaurant that serves drinks, not a bar that serves food.”
“We want people to come in and bring their kids, bring their families without felling like they’re going to a local gin and sawdust joint,” he said. “We want them to have a good family time. The idea it to provide a good quality meal, at a good price and a good portion so people could possibly maybe even take some home.”
Beginning Tuesday, June 20, the 1847 Tavern will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
In other business happenings...
Terra State Community College hosted the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) 2017 Annual Meeting on June 7 and 8. Over 20 community college administrators attended the two-day event. The meeting’s keynote speaker was Gretchen Schmidt, executive director, Pathways Project, American Association of Community Colleges. OACC president and chief executive officer Jack Hershey provided a review of the organization’s past year. Additional sessions covered topics of textbook affordability, innovative partnerships and graduation requirements.
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Skeeter Products joins Pier 53
Skeeter Products, Inc., the leader in performance fishing boats is excited to announce it has joined with Pier 53 Marine as an authorized dealer. Pier 53 Marine is fully equipped to support the sales and service of all Skeeter Boats’ products. Established in 2008, they have created a dealership facility that offers a high level of professionalism and customer service.
Pier 53 Marine will handle the sales and service responsibility for Skeeter Boats from its Port Clinton and Sandusky locations. Skeeter Boats and Pier 53 Marine deliver quality product and service to form a business partnership that makes for a perfect fit in the northern market.
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Organ donation celebration
Life Connection of Ohio and Hyway Trucking Company entered into a partnership over a decade ago, resulting in the life-saving message of organ donation traveling millions of miles.
There will be a celebration at Hyway (10064 US-224, Findlay) at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 14. There, Life Connection of Ohio, the organization that promotes and facilitates organ donation in northwest and west central Ohio, and Russ and Kathi Flew, of Norwalk, will show their appreciation for Hyway. Truckside posters that feature Russ and Kathi’s son, Dylan, who gave the gift of life through organ and tissue donation in 2006, have appeared on Hyway’s fleet of 375 trucks for the past 10 years. During that time, Dylan and the Donate Life message have traveled over 125 million miles! The posters contain Dylan’s picture with the text “Dylan saved five lives. Be an organ and tissue donor.” Russ and Kathi have received countless calls and picture messages of the posters from across the country, which they call “Dylan sightings”.
Currently, there are more than 117,000 people on the National Transplant Waiting List, including over 2,900 Ohioans. The organ shortage continues to grow at a staggering rate, as another person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes. Sadly, 20 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant. The good news: One person has the power to save up to 8 lives through organ donation and heal 50 more through tissue donation.
For more information or to register as a donor, visit www.lifeconnectionofohio.org.
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Free fall prevention home improvements, equipment
The Erie County Health Department and Serving Our Seniors are working together to implement a $5,000.00 grant to prevent falling in later life. The grant is to benefit Erie County residents, ages 60 and older, which includes most of Milan and all of Berlin Heights/Berlin Township.
The grant was awarded to the Erie County Health Department, who asked Serving Our Seniors to put the money into action to prevent falls in later life. Fall prevention home improvements include, but are not necessarily limited to: Repairing/replacing unsafe steps, installing hand rails to prevent falling, installing lighting to prevent falling; and installing grab bars, raised toilet seats and hand held shower heads.
Fall prevention equipment such as: shower chairs, raised toilet seats, transfer benches and hand held shower heads and rubber slip resistant bath mats are also available free of charge. For more information about this fall prevention home improvement program call Serving Our Seniors at 419-624-1856 or 800-564-1856. Ask to speak with a Senior Advocate Assistant.
If you have an item for the business roundup column, send the information to the Norwalk Reflector in care of Zoe Greszler, 61 E. Monroe St., Norwalk, Ohio 44857, or email it to [email protected]