Food Notes: New restaurant planned for Nick Anthe’s site; Basil in Green, winning bread makers

By Katie Byard
Beacon Journal business writer

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North Hill icon Nick Anthe Restaurant, a fixture on North Main in Akron for more than 30 years appears closer to opening as a new eatery and bar, Wise Guys Bar & Grill. (Katie Byard/Akron Beacon Journal)

North Hill icon Nick Anthe Restaurant on North Main Street in Akron appears closer to opening as a new eatery/bar.

A sign promoting Wise Guys Bar & Grill has replaced the Anthe sign — a fixture on Main for more than 30 years. Gone are the old sign’s signature black-frame eyeglasses. The new sign features a 1920s-style car.

Former gun shop owner Tom Procaccio of Cuyahoga Falls bought the building at 1008 N. Main St. last year. The building had been vacant since the restaurant closed in 2011.

Procaccio could not be reached for comment. However, workers at the Cuyahoga Falls gun shop he previously owned said he planned to serve steaks and seafood. Anthe’s restaurant was known for those menu items.

No word yet on whether Procaccio plans to offer the creamy kidney bean salad that was an Anthe favorite.

Matt Mullins, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Liquor Control, said Procaccio’s applications for liquor permits could take 10 to 12 weeks to approve. He said Procaccio applied last September, but the North Main area did not have a liquor permit available until earlier this month.

For now, the “Closed. Thank you for your past patronage” sign remains on the Anthe door. At the time of the closing, the Anthe restaurant was owned by Douglas Robinson, who had worked there since he was a teenager. He purchased the business from owner Nick Anthe in 1989. Anthe remained at the restaurant for several years after, working the front of the house and greeting customers. He died in 2004 at age 85.

Basil in Green

Basil — an essential ingredient in Thai and Vietnamese food — is the name of a new Asian restaurant in the Green Plaza at 4195 Massillon Road.

It’s the second Basil Asian Bistro location for the Ly family. The first opened nearly two years ago in downtown Canton at 585 Market Ave. N. and features two statues of elephants with their trunks up, which have proved popular with picture-snapping customers.

Both places offer Thai, Chinese and Korean dishes, in addition to sushi and Vietnamese specialties, said Kenny Ly, who immigrated from Vietnam more than 30 years ago and is part-owner and manager of the Green location.

Basil chefs pride themselves on making pho — Vietnamese noodle soup — with homemade beef broth. “We cook the broth for at least six to eight hours,” Ly said, noting that some competitors use a prepared stock.

Other popular items are pad Thai, avocado curry (with choice of meat, tofu or vegetables) and various Chinese dishes.

The chefs will make just about any Asian dish, he said.

“If we put everything on the menu it would be like a Bible,” he said.

Basil in Green can seat 88, including the eight spots at the sushi bar. There’s no booze available yet at the Green site. Ly said he has an application in for a liquor license, and expects to have it approved in about five weeks.

Kenny Ly and relatives operated Ricky Ly’s in Jackson Township, which closed in 2007.

Another Kasai

Kasai Japanese Restaurant, a popular spot for sushi in Wadsworth, will open a second site in the planned Heritage Crossings of Green complex.

The retail development, being built at Massillon and Graybill roads, will be anchored by a new Acme Fresh Market store. Developer of the retail complex is Albrecht Inc., the real estate unit related to Akron-headquartered Fred W. Albrecht Grocery Co., operator of Acme stores.

Kasai owner Leon Liang said the restaurant should be open in August or September. It will seat 75 and will have a “robata bar,” featuring a charcoal grill used to prepare meat skewers, a la robatayaki (Japanese barbecue) bars in Japan.

This is the same plaza where ice cream shop Pav’s Creamery plans on opening a second location. Pav’s, set to open in early July, will be open year round and have interior, as well as exterior seating. The original Pav’s is at 3769 Manchester Road in Coventry Township. The original Kasai is at 295 Weatherstone Drive off state Route 94 in Wadsworth.

Strickland’s open

Speaking of frosty treats, the original Strickland’s Frozen Custard, already is a dozen days into its 78th season.

The place — at 1809 Triplett Blvd., in view of the imposing Akron Airdock — opened March 7, ahead of some earlier years.

UA chef’s dinner

Reservations are being accepted for the Spring Graduate Chef Dinner featuring an eight-course meal prepared by former University of Akron students.

The April 5 dinner will be prepared by eight chefs who have graduated from the UA School of Hospitality Management. The menu will include soup, seafood, sorbet, poultry, meat, salad, dessert and bread.

This year, the dinner marks the 10th anniversary of the UA Culinary Artists Club, which hosts the annual event.

Festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres. Wine pairings for each course will be provided by Wolf Creek Winery in Norton.

Tickets are $50. The dinner will be served at UA’s Crystal Room restaurant inside Gallucci Hall, 200 E. Exchange St., Akron.

Phone 330-972-6615 for reservations, which are required. Money raised will benefit the Culinary Artists Club, which focuses on students learning and competing in fruit, vegetable, and ice sculpting.

The club has adopted a more straightforward name after previously going by the name of Garde Manger, French for “keeper of the food” and a reference to a type of chef.

Bread winners

The judge of this year’s Irish Bread Baking Contest in Akron wasn’t lacking in credibility.

He was Donal O’Rourke, a native of County Roscommon, Ireland, now living in West Akron.

And he drank Barry’s Tea (imported from Ireland) while tasting the goodies this month at the Hibernian Club, 2000 Brown St., Akron.

O’Rourke judged each entry by presentation, appearance and taste, reports Colleen McKenzie, who organized the third annual contest and is past president of the Akron division, as well as the state Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians.

This year’s winners were: Irish white bread, Darlene Allen of Akron; Irish Brown Bread, Vicki Rarrick of Green; Irish scones, John Messmore, Coventry Township.

The winners received Irish oatmeal and a pound of Kerrygold Irish butter.

Tea and advice

Tickets are available for Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens’ spring tea from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 5.

The tea — called Walk Down the Aisle with a Smile: Insight from our Wedding Planning Team — will feature tips from the estate’s wedding planning team. The Stan Hywet property at 714 N. Portage Path offers various sites for weddings.

The event includes tea sandwiches and desserts, as well as a self-guided tour of the estate and Inspiration in Bloom, a fresh flower display in the Manor House.

Tickets are $35, $28 for Stan Hywet members. Call 330-836-5533 or visit

Wine tasting

The next Friday night wine tasting at West Point Market, 1711 W. Market St., Akron, is Staff Picks, from 7 to 9 p.m. March 28. The evening will feature favorites of the market’s wine team and a menu of seafood appetizers.

Tickets are $35. Order at or call 330-864-2151, ext. 129.

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or

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