By Steven Arnold
Beacon Journal Advertising Writer
Behold, there is a new gem in the Valley of our quaint community! Art Latte in the Valley is Akron’s newest entertainment venue/destination spot that boasts a vast selection of Artistic Caffeinated Cuisine, light unique and healthy food fare, as well as a delicious dessert selection. A separate room features all of their own photography with many breathtaking local images that captivate the expansive history and rich imagery of our community in proud fashion. The back gallery features local artists, and Art Latte hosts a new gallery opening every third Friday of each month allowing local artists to display their work prominently in a relaxing space adorned with contemporary furnishings and interior design. This space is also available for private parties during evenings and throughout the weekend, as well as light catering availability for special events! As a huge supporter of local small businesses and families through the use of only local products and attentive service, Art Latte likes to do a little more unique—creating different blends of artistry through its unique menu offerings and atmosphere.
As a small local family owned business, the owners’ of Art Latte, Mark Shane and Erin Richards purchase their roasted coffee locally at Caruso’s in Brecksville, and source as many of their fresh produce as possible through local farmer’s markets. The menu includes unique fresh delectable breakfast blends such as the Smoked Ham and Egg Bundle on Rustic White Toast, garnished with Tomato and Corn, drizzled in Sunflower and Basil Oil, tied neatly in a Celery Stalk Bow. Lunch items include an assortment of salads and wraps including my personal favorite the Go Green Wrap—a Spinach Wrap with Smoked Turkey, Spinach, Cheddar Cheese, Pickled Grilled Jalapenos, and Cream Cheese. And although the fall and winter hours are 8am-6pm, if the open sign is lit and the door is propped open Mark and Erin are always ready to serve patrons!
Mark and Erin are always looking for local artists and musicians that are looking for a canvas to display their talents, as evident in its current exhibit which features the renowned work of Cleveland Rock n Roll photographer Joe Kleon. The exhibit, “A Decade of Decibels” is currently on tour and opened at Art Latte August 23rd. Classic Rock duo Jim & Eroc performed two acoustic sets from 6-9pm for a packed house! Photos from the event are available in the photo gallery. Jim & Eroc are founding members of the local band Wish You Were Here, and Eroc has been a bass player for Michael Stanley & The Resonators for 20 years! Both artists are prominently featured throughout the exhibit as well as striking and evocative shots featuring artists such as Rush, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Toby Keith, Madonna, The Dave Matthews Band, Aerosmith, Brittany Spears, and many others.
Kleon and Mark Shane, both ’86 graduates of Cuyahoga Falls High School reconnected through Facebook hoping to give something back that the community could be proud of. Neither was aware the other were a photographer, as Kleon’s work grew out of his involvement in music. He was a radio announcer for 25 years with WNCX and WRQK. In the last ten years, Kleon has photographed nearly 100 shows and events a year. A video slideshow of hundreds of photos are available for viewing at the exhibit featured at Art Latte.
Shane’s passion for photography developed after a career as a Firefighter and Iraq War Veteran, in following his daughter’s passion for dance. He is most noted for his work featuring Dani Renee, and his work is also prominently displayed also in the gallery at Art Latte. Both he and Kleon share a passion for capturing the energy of a performance and the vibe of the venue, so much that you feel as though you have been transformed through time and space to the electricity and emotion of actually being at the venue.
Although, Art Latte may be off the beaten path for many, the stop in is sure to be well worth it! Art Latte is a great place to have breakfast, brunch, lunch, and even meetings. Free Wi-Fi is available along with the Spot On Local Rewards Program, so stop in and enjoy some of the area’s best local artwork! A great way to stay updated on Art Latte’s current events is to check out and like their Facebook page, which is updated daily. Additional photos of Joe Kleon’s work are available for viewing and/or purchase at www.joekleon.com and Mark Shane’s at www.markshanephotography.com. Check out this month’s gallery opening at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvjbzJMT_m4.
1662 Merriman Rd.
Akron, OH 44313