Akron Dish: Stray Dog’s new cafe downtown; chili winners; Lock (yes, lock) of the Irish and more – Lifestyle – Akron Beacon Journal

Akron Dish: Stray Dog’s new cafe downtown; chili winners; Lock (yes, lock) of the Irish and more – Lifestyle – Akron Beacon Journal

Stray Dog, which offers hot dogs, paninis, soups and more, is unleashing a second eatery in downtown Akron.

This week, Charly Murphy is debuting his latest caf on the ground floor of the AES Building at 388 S. Main St., at Cedar and Main streets. (Last fall, the Beacon Journal moved to the seventh-floor of the building — part of the onetime B.F. Goodrich complex.)

He has dubbed the new place Cafe 388 — a nod to the AES Building’s address. It offers a menu similar to the downtown Stray Dog Cafe that Murphy opened in 2016 on the ground floor of the Akron-Summit County Public Library at 75 S. Main St.

Cafe 388’s hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Murphy said he hopes to eventually extend the hours to 5 p.m. and offer take-home dinners.

At the AES Building, 388 Cafe is taking the place of a cafe operated by Totally Cooked, a catering business, which left the space last year.

Concerning his Stray Dog Cafe at the library, Murphy said sales there have taken a slight dip, but so far haven’t been too pinched by the ongoing reconstruction of South Main.

“It’s ugly to look at, but we’ve done pretty well,” he said.

Stray Dog Cafe is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Chili Challenge winners

A chili called Capital Punishment and another called Chili Chili Bang Bang took top awards at the Akron Firefighters Chili Challenge on Friday in downtown Akron.

Akron Police Department administrative assistant Nikki Crayton and Sgt. Angela Falcone cooked up the People’s Choice winner, Capital Punishment.

Crayton said the recipe, which included beef and sausage, is a recipe from her family that Akron police Sgt. Steve Nunn dubbed Capital Punishment.

This was the 14th year for the event inside the Commons area at Lock 3 park. Akron firefighters challenge representatives of other city departments, as well as local businesses and organizations, to see who can create the best pot of chili. Each year, members of the public buy chili samples, helping to raise money for the burn center at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Winning the Judges’ Choice Award this year was Chili Chili Bang Bang, entered by Cleveland Clinic Akron General and created by the hospital’s executive chef Steve Dent.

I was a judge, along with Becky Mundy, a nurse and the burn center educator at Akron Children’s Hospital; Johh Najaway, co-owner of Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. in Akron; Mike Doyle, director of sales at Thirsty Dog; and T.K. O’Grady, WONE (97.5-FM) radio personality.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Joy Malek Oldfield entered for the first time.

She hoped to take home the challenge’s spirit award if she didn’t snag People’s Choice or Judges’ Choice, and displayed free-for-the-taking sugar cookies next to her pot of chili. The cookies included those that looked like hot chili peppers.

Alas, her chili won Spiciest. The Akron Fire Department won the spirit award, named for Akron Police Detective Joe Smith, who died in 2014 and had helped with the Chili Challenge every year.

The city’s human resources department won Most Unique chili.

Art & Ale event

In case you missed it, Rick Armon, the Beacon Journal’s beer writer who also is editor of sister paper Wooster Daily Record, last week provided a run-down of the 20 beers that will be available at this year’s Akron Art Museum Art & Ale event set for March 28.

I’ll repeat the list of food and other vendors here: Acme Fresh Market, Dewey’s Pizza, Hartville Potato Chips (actually in Akron), Old Carolina Barbecue Co. and Swensons will serve eats, and Meadery Crafted Artisan, Akron Coffee Roasters and soda company NORKA also will serve beverages.

There are two sessions available: 2 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are on sale now; the event typically sells out. General admission tickets are $55 (or $40 for museum members). VIP tickets, which include special beers, food and a swag bag, are $75.

For more details or to buy tickets, go to to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-13th-annual-art-ale-tickets-83652377513.

To see Rick’s story, go to https://bit.ly/32lzkjb. His story talks about R. Shea Brewing of Akron’s pinning its hopes on winning the People’s Choice award for the fourth year in a row.

Cabbage roll reminder

Reminder: The United Methodist Church of Uniontown will offer its annual cabbage roll dinner from 4 to 6 p.m. March 7.

A dinner of two cabbage rolls (these are made the day of the event to assure freshness), mashed potatoes, salad, roll, beverage and homemade dessert will run $12 for adults. A “child friendly” meal of chicken nuggets will be offered. Patrons can dine in or carry out.

Cabbage roll six-packs will be sold for $15. Patrons can bring in freezer containers if they want to stock up.

The church is at 13370 Cleveland Ave. NW, just north of Beiler’s Market, in Lake Township. It is handicap accessible. For information, call 330-699-3587. The church is offering coupons for $1 off each meal at uniontownchurch.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/umcuucla.

Wine events

• Winemaker Dan Speck will present wines from Henry of Pelham Estate Winery at a Winemaker’s Dinner at 6 p.m. Wednesday at LaLa’s restaurant in New Franklin.

Speck co-owns the winery in Ontario, Canada.

Cost of the wine dinner is $50. Call 234-571-4757 to reserve a seat.

Lala’s is at 4315 Manchester Road.

• Wine maker Dave Phinney will be at 35 Brix’s first wine dinner of 2020 at 7 p.m. May 7.

Eric Henniger, chef at the Green eatery, will prepare food.

Tickets are $59. Wines from Locations winery will be poured.

The Green eatery is at 3875 Massillon Road in the Heritage Crossing Plaza. Call 330-899-9200 to reserve your seat.

Gallo, the biggest winery in the United States and based in California, bought Locations from Phinney in 2018, and Phinney stayed on as winemaker. Gallo bought Phinney’s Orrin Swift label in 2016.

• Fred Dame, known as the “godfather of sommeliers,” will make his first appearance in Akron at a wine dinner at 6:30 p.m. March 24 at Papa Joe’s.

Whites and reds from Daou Family Estates in California will be poured.

Cost is $95. Call 330-923-7999. Papa Joe’s is at 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road in Akron’s Merriman Valley.

• In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Gervasi Vineyard on March 4 will offer $10 off Gervasi wine by the bottle (except wine in its Italian collection) for customers dining in at the vineyard’s Bistro, Crush House and Still House at 1700 55th St. NE in Canton. The discount also is being offered at Gervasi’s sister eatery, the Twisted Olive, at 5430 Massillon Road in Green. The discount also will be offered at all the locations Wednesday March 11, Wednesday March 18 and Wednesday March 25.

Maple Sugar Festival

The annual Maple Sugar Festival at Hale Farm & Village in Bath runs March 14-15 and March 21-22.

Enjoy a pancake breakfast at the 19th century village/museum and see tree tapping and the process of boiling sap into syrup. Crafts and trades will be demonstrated, along with working with oxen.

Admission for breakfast and all activities is $17 for adults, $12 for children ages 3 to 12, and $7 for breakfast only. Breakfast will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hale Farm closes at 4 p.m. Museum-only rates also will be available.

Event sponsor Acme Fresh Market will provide the breakfast of pancakes, sausage, fruit, coffee, juice and milk.

Reservations are not necessary, but tickets can be purchased in advance at www.halefarm.org. For more information, call 330-666-3711 or visit the website.

Hale Farm & Village is at 2686 Oak Hill Road.

Lock of the Irish

The Lock of the Irish Celebration will run from 1 to 6 p.m. March 15 at the Trailhead at Cascade Loft, at 21 W. North St., just north of downtown Akron.

Lock 15 Brewing Co., adjacent to the Trailhead, will offer a menu featuring Irish eats and beer.

I love that name for the event, a play on the locks of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Lock of the Irish is being presented by the Mustill Store Museum, operated by the Cascade Locks Park Association, near the canal’s Lock 15.

Attendance is free. Food and beverages are priced separately.

The event will include games and activities for children, a bake sale of Irish-themed goodies and live music.

The event will honor the work of the Irish immigrants in helping to build the canal.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com. You can follow her @ KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook.

Mike Brown, a probation officer, carries his tray of chili samples to a table at the Akron Firefighters Chili Challenge in downtown Akron on Friday. [Katie Byard/Beacon Journal]

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