Here’s to new food options in Avon Lake!

Avon Lake is a great place to call home. I am happy it is mine. If it has one shortcoming though, a lack of quality food options might be it. I find the restaurant options to be somewhat limited and lacking and, frankly, I think I’m being kind by putting it this way. There’s pizza, pizza and more pizza, a couple of Asian choices and then a smattering of other spots that I don’t hate but don’t love. A few spots easily qualify for an episode Gordon Ramsay’s  Kitchen Nightmares. The town has seen many cafes and restaurants come and go: Bar Symon, Atlanta Bread Company, Arabica and the list goes on. Not sure of the specifics around each closing but I assume it is the standard reason – patronage volumes that are lower than required to sustain the business.

Perhaps I’m a harsher critic as I have a handful of particulars to consider when selecting a restaurant: I’m vegetarian, my husband is a carnivore and we have a child under 2. I also want to mention that I’m a bit of a foodie who is also into natural and organic foods. Add to this that I’m also a big proponent of supporting local, independent resturants. Surely you can see that my finding qualified food options  falls just shy of a mini miracle.

The good news is that several new spots just opened or will be shortly within Avon Lake so I’ll have some new options and so will you!

Jenni Juggs (Now Open!)

Photo credit: Lori E. Switaj

The name is interesting and certainly memorable. One might interpret it for a different type of establishment (or at least this is the reaction I’ve received from most people when I share the name) but the truth is that it is billed as a quaint spot offering finger-lickin’ good Southern Comfort Food. This is certainly a new category to be represented in the far west side of Cleveland. The menu features the expected southern classics: chicken and waffles, cornmeal-crusted catfish, hush puppies, cole slaw and sweet tea. The “sides” menu is tempting enough for me to order just from it. Recent reviews that I’ve read report a cute and pleasant atmosphere, tasty mac ‘n’ cheese and cornbread and promises of return visits.

The location is on the eastern end of Avon Lake in the northern end of the Learwood Plaza (the Giant Eagle plaza, as locals refer to it) and is the fully renovated former home of an Italian restaurant (another example of an Avon Lake restaurant gone bye-bye). I’m tickled as this location is a five-minute bike ride from my house making it a great choice for a weekday dinner or a weekend brunch spot. With the addition of Jenni Juggs, the Learwood Plaza has become an even more enjoyable, diverse destination. You can get a pedicure at Luxury Nails, enjoy an order of fried green tomatoes at Jenni Juggs, browse a newly opened Goodwill location, stop by the Ron Zehel Guitar Center for a new set of strings, and finally grab a few groceries at Giant Eagle.

Hours: Tuesday- Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday brunch, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and regular service 2 p.m .- 9 p.m. Takeout is also available. 440-653-5255

Cafe Melissa (Coming November 2012!)

I recently enjoyed a veggie burger from Sweet Melissa at the 2012 Avon Lake Summer Market. I’ve also enjoyed their food at their Rocky River location over the last several years. While ordering my burger at the Summer Market, I overheard talk that they would be opening a location in Avon Lake come this November. I was thrilled at the news! (I was also thrilled when they gave me a Free Appetizer gift card for the new location.)

The Sweet Melissa location in Avon Lake will be called Cafe Melissa and will be open for breakfast every day starting at 9 a.m. The menu is to be announced although I’m hoping that at least most of my favorites from the Rocky River location will carry over. The Cafe Melissa location will be in the former Donatos building on Walker Road just West of Route 83/Avon Belden Road.

Hours: Monday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

A Mediterranean Restaurant (Coming soon!)

So, I have to say that I don’t have any confirmed info on this new food offering other than what I have heard through the grapevine around town but I want to believe it so I’m sharing! The story is that a new Mediterranean restaurant is opening in the former Tucky’s location (ah, yet another former Avon Lake restaurant and, wow, this one really didn’t last long). There are signs of work being started at the former Tucky’s location so there could be some validity to the rumors. Let’s hope so. Location-wise, it is literally a stone’s throw from the new Jenni Juggs. Hopefully, with two very different cuisines, the restaurants will complement versus threaten each other. I’ll be sure to share more on this one as news develop!

Let’s eat!

So for now, give Jenni Juggs a try and let me know what you think! I will be checking it out soon myself and using the $10 gift card that they gave to the Luxury Nails salon to distribute to its customers. (Kudos to both Jenni Juggs and Cafe Melissa for including an enticement in their grand opening promotional efforts. It works!)


The Summer Market.


I’m looking forward to The Summer Market in Avon Lake next weekend. Friday and Saturday, July 27-28, 2012, to be exact. There will be plenty of quality vendors offering up their wares from furniture to jewelry, fresh produce to home decor and more. And some great food courtesy of Sweet Melissa, Sweet Basil, Sweet! ( a mobile cupcakery), Fahrenheit, Woolson Concessions and Humble Pie Bakery make the event even more irresistible. Extras include live music and a photographer to help you capture the moment. Oh, and did I mention the park is at the water’s edge of Lake Erie? Get there!


Route 83 & Lake Road at Veterans Park, Avon Lake, OH

July 27: 5-9 pm

July 28: 9 am-4 pm

what $14.14 gets you at goodwill.

i decided to hit up goodwill in avon lake today. uh, it was packed. it was insanity. apparently saturday is THE day to go to goodwill. i’m glad i faced the crowd though because i found a few gems. and i got them all for a grand total of $14.14.!

the bowls

i scored a set of two small bowls that are the perfect size for filling with a hearty helping of soup this winter. they are marked with “mancer” on the bottom. i tried to google this but couldn’t find much except that it is italian. the colors are great and i especially love the “drips” on the inside edges.

the plate

this is the mystery item i purchased. it is an approximately 9″ plate marked on the bottom with “the bailey-walker vitrified china 1929“. but that marking doesn’t explain the big “M” bannered with “OHIO” on the top of the plate. any ideas?

and a bassinet

after i purchased this, i texted my husband to inform him we were the proud owners of bassinet. i don’t think he believed me at first. but here’s the deal. this bassinet is in great shape and was only $6. and i’ve been looking for one to use at craft shows to display my lovely ruby alabama items. so, now i have one. and who knows–maybe it will come in handy some day for its real purpose.

packaging gets me every time.

IMG00187IMG00188i’m a sucker for it. i am known to buy things i don’t need strictly due to the cute, fancy or special packaging it comes in.

for instance, i have a brand new jar of peanut butter in my cupboard. i didn’t need these individual serving packets. but, look at them! so small and just so darn cute. the little peanut illustration describing the variety. ooh, i could not resist. and the interactive aspect of the packet. just tear, squeeze and enjoy. and i do have to say that the peanut butter really is yummy. (you can pick some up at nature’s bin in lakewood.)

and then there is my fancy dish soap that i found at target. the fresh, yet vintage look of the bottle shape, label design and font choices. why am i so easy? i bought this when i didn’t even need soap. and the best part is that i end up dumping it into my four-year old, pump-equipped sun light bottle anyway. (the j.r. watkins stuff is upside down so i can get every last drop.)

so does the packaging make the stuff inside better? i think so. sure–there are times when even the best packaging in the world can’t save a sub-par product. but good packaging most certainly always helps enhance a product. and regardless, it got me to make the purchase, and isn’t that the point?

before (sort of) & after: kitchen furniture.

IMG_6191IMG_6190i got so excited to work on this project that i almost, and sort of did, miss the “before” shot. i did manage to snag a pic of the drawers before the new paint hit them. and i have a shot of the main part of the piece with only a partical initial coat.

this was a vintage piece that my mother-in-law handed down to me. (if you read my blog regularly, IMG_6198


you’ll know that this isn’t the first piece she’s given to me. thank you, miss kathi!) this was something that she had had in her kitchen before she got a floor-to-ceiling kitchen makeover. (she now has an island covered in a beautiful piece of granite that is so big we jokingly call it the operating table.) when she had this little dresser, it served as her kitchen island. she had added a larger top to it that extended out toward the backside of the dresser and worked as an extra eating area with bar stools. she even hand-tiled a one-of-a-kind counter surface for it.

my kitchen, being smaller, required that this dresser be taken back to its original scale. my thought was to paint it to match the existing cabinetry in my kitchen (a creamy white) to help it blend in. it just happens to be the perfect fit for an area in my kitchen that is void of base cabinets because an electric baseboard heater won’t allow for them. because this new piece is on legs it was the perfect candidate for the job of filling the void, not to mention, adding a huge dose of much-needed function to my kitchen life.

i’ve already filled the drawers with kitchen must-haves: lots of kitchen towels, pens, paper, address book, cake pans, frosting colors, icing bags, and the bottom drawer holds vases and candles. i love that it blends in but stands out giving my kitchen a bit of a cottage or farmhouse feel.

my husband always trusts my intuition and supports me in all of my furniture makeovers and home-improvement endeavors (thanks, hon!). he expected a good outcome on this one but it wasn’t until we put this dresser in its new home that we both realized that it was just meant to be and better than we could have ever expected. don’t you love when that happens!?

(a note on the existing cabinetry: when we bought the house, the cabinets were awful and very dark. they were a fiberboard of some kind covered in a wood-look paper. i painted them the exact creamy white that they still are and have freshened them up over the years. thanks to quality and longevity of martha stewart paint (manufactured by sherwin williams) that i bought at k-mart nine years ago, I am still–yes, still–using that very paint to keep them looking great. it is also what I used to paint my vintage addition.)

before & after: metal cabinet + paint.

IMG_6119IMG_6170posting a few pics to share a little project of mine with you. my mother-in-law found an adorable little metal cabinet at a sale. she had it stored in her barn for a while with some of her other great garage sale finds. she was kind enough to offer the cabinet to me and with one look at it i knew i had to take her up on her offer.

the cabinet was originally a cream color inside with a darker tan outside. the foot was black. i kept with the original color scheme but added a pop of color inside…an icey IMG_6172blue. it’s a cheery surprise when you pop the door open. the freshened up cabinet is a happy home for all of my crafts supplies and finished pieces as well. i’ll be bringing it with me to the salty not sweet craft show in september so you can check it out in person if you like!

projects and pie irons.

i feel like i have a million and one projects on the flight deck and i keep adding more before finishing the ones i’ve already started. but i guess that is better than having a creative well that ran dry.

IMG_6117a stack of new fabric will hopefully turn into the baby burping cloths that i have envisioned. and i’ve got some soft baby rattles in mind too. (this idea was spurred by a pattern that i found on cookie magazine’s website. gotta tweak it though to make it my own.)

IMG_6118i also am fixing up a vintage metal cabinet that my mother-in-law found for no-doubt a spectacular deal and quite possibly free. i’ll share some “after” shots when it is complete.

IMG_6120at the present moment, i am going to use my culinary creativity to whip up some pizza pies in my new pie iron. i have fond childhood memories of camping and the pie iron and recently bought a new one for myself. the pizza pies will be followed by apple pies! need i remind you that dessert is part of the meal!?


IMG_5853my husband and i have spent the last few weekends working in our yard, getting ready for summer. we bought a new grill–much bigger than our old one. plus it has a burner so i can have baked beans or use my tea kettle outside. we also purchased a picnic table, assembled it and then painted it with two coats of black paint while sipping honey wine. it turned out a dark grey which is fine by me.

we planted our organic herbs and lettuces plus some green beans. the plants have already tripled in size. amazing. we also planted a new shrub, lots of different types of flowers and even put down sweet peet instead of regular mulch. (if you haven’t tried it, you gotta check out the sweet peet. soooo much better than mulch. it breaks down and improves your soil over time. and it looks so good.)

our flagstone patio that we laid a couple years back is now completely settled and there are hints of bright green moss here and there which we are loving. our hammock is on its stand and always inviting.

so now we just have to maintain. and enjoy! so far, we’ve been doing just that. we’ve already broken in our patio with a get-together and grilled out several times. i really think the key was the picnic table. and it doesn’t hurt that we have an extra fridge in the garage making food for the grill nice and handy.

IMG_5854here’s a tip on how to eat out on your patio every night and on short notice:


keep plates, silverware, napkins, salt and pepper and table cloths in a picnic basket in the house. it’s so convenient to just grab the basket and head outside, completely prepared. and you won’t have to worry about spiders or ants hanging out on your tableware like you would if you kept all of those things outside in your garage. (i’m lucky to have a beautiful picnic basket that was a wedding gift…almost 14 years ago!) and it’s so nice to use your picnic basket every day during the summer instead of just once or twice a year like you normally would. if you don’t own a picnic basket, check your local thrift store for one. and look for vintage table cloths while you are there. thrifting is as “green” as it gets.


the other part of the equation is to keep grill-friendly food stocked in your fridge and cupboards. as i mentioned, it’s great to have an extra fridge in the garage. we keep burgers and hot dogs (the real and the fake kinds), buns, condiments and drinks in the fridge. i make veggie foil pouches indoors and then take them out and throw them on the grill. (i’ll have to share my latest veggie pouch recipe with you soon!) or i whip up a side dish and take it out. last week, i did pesto pasta with pine nuts and sauteed tofu cubes.

so here’s to summer! cheers! now turn off the computer and go outside.

shopping for the strange.







sorry so late in the game with notification on this. 

oddmall is a cool event this saturday in hudson, ohio. it brings together about 100 crafters and artists at one venue. 

check out the site for links to the exhibitors. my girl candra will be there selling her greeting cards. stop by and say hello!


what: oddmall. emporium of the weird.

where: clarion hotel and conference center in hudson, ohio

when: saturday, may 9, from 10 am to 7 pm

admission: free!

why: easy, fun way to shop locally from local crafters and artists

bonus: main street cupcakes in hudson. i hear that they are amazing. go there for a cupcake lunch!

history for sale.

my mother-in-law is a realtor and recently showed a beautiful mid-century home in lorain, ohio, to a couple of buyers. she knew that it was right up my img_5619alley so she was kind enough to give me a tour as well. here are the photos from that day.

the ranch-style home, designed by a local architect, was built in 1956. it was obvious from the smart floor plan to the ample storage that this house was thoughtfully designed rather than just built in cookie cutter fashion to match two dozen other houses in a sub-division. wood and windows everywhere, cabinetry, stone, wide open spaces. even the extra-deep basement was well thought out with a bar and shuffleboard game worked into the floor pattern. some of my favorite features: the drawers perfect for shoes and purses that ran below the super wide closets in the bedrooms, and the large glass tile in the bathroom in a color scheme i simply love.

all i can hope is that the new owners of this beauty are kind to it. and that they let the house be what it was meant to be. please, no granite counter tops, no tear down of the wood paneling. it’s always best when we appreciate things for what they are.

by the way, this house is a steal at $89,000. those that appreciate mid-century design, please keep your eyes open for deals like this.