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The Suburbanite
  • Outtakes Around The Lakes: Dietz's Landing - New Owners, New Name

  • Mark Norris established a foothold at Dietz's Marina with a boat livery in the commercial block building. When the MacGregors offered the business at the right price, Mark, and his wife, Francine, bought, and six months later on October 6, 2006, it re-opened and the game was on.

     

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  • Mark Norris established a foothold at Dietz's Marina with a boat livery in the commercial block building. When the MacGregors offered the business at the right price, Mark, and his wife, Francine, bought, and six months later on October 6, 2006, it re-opened and the game was on.
    This past Jan. 10, a remodeling program was implemented. It was years since any major improvements had occurred. The bar, set against the left wall, was enclosed and moved to the middle of the room. Additional booths were installed where the bar once stood and updates to the kitchen were completed. On the outside sign, hanging high on a pole near the road, the wording was changed to include "Waterfront Dining."
    "We're now known as 'Dietz's Landing,'" Mark said, "not Dietz's Restaurant." On Jan 22, 16 days after they closed, the newly remodeled waterfront dining room re-opened.
    Enter the restaurant today and you'll first notice an immense mural mounted on the left wall. Memorializing its namesake, Mr. C. Gottlieb "Strogie" Dietz, a grand 30 inch by 10 feet framed collection of early photos of 'The Landing,' and a page from the 'Akron Press Times' article of 1926, chronicling Dietz's purchase and his prediction that the Portage Lakes would become a year-round community soon and not just a playground for Akronites, is displayed prominently for all, especially local history buffs.
    The collage, a photographic enlargement from old photos, courtesy of noted Portage Lakes historian RC Norris, is a product of the talent and skills of Ed, Luba and Cleo Halamay of Akron's Halamay Color Lab on S. Main Street. Printed on special antique tapestry paper, it hangs in a notable space above the left booths on the top of the dining area. I myself have seen and it is a captivating, attractive and authentic piece of historical art from this most creative, imaginative and innovative photography lab.
    One of the first actions the new owners took upon establishing the kitchen was hiring head chef Tom Mayberry. Working as a chef at other notable restaurants in the area, Mayberry had most recently been employed at a long time waterfront establishment right here in the Portage Lakes.
    While the dining room, bar and kitchen opens at 11 each morning, the kitchen closes at 10 PM Monday through Thursday, and 11 on Friday and Saturdays. Among other seafood delicacies, each Friday during Lent "All You Can Eat (AYCE)" fish dinners are featured. The dining room can seat over 100 patrons for lunch or dinner.
    The waterfront property Mark and Francine Norris purchased starts at the road (Rte 619) and extends all the way north to the next road and then west to the NAPA auto parts business. Below the dining room is Club Marxx. With a tavern-like atmosphere on the waterfront, it's on schedule to be opened in the spring. The club has a dance floor and at times will feature various bands with island music scheduled for Sundays. I asked Mark about the spelling, whether it was a takeoff on his name. "No," he answered. "A friend had these two signs stored in his garage and said I could use them. The signs said 'Club Marxx.' That's how the club acquired its name."
    Page 2 of 2 - Whether you drop in by car or boat, "Waterfront Dining" at "Dietz's Landing" has more than enough parking space. Plenty of docks are available for hungry, thirsty and fun-loving boaters.
    On the street level there's ample parking spaces for cars with handicapped parking right next to the entrance.
     
    Mark and Francine's only child, Drew, an energetic 22 year old, blonde, curly haired, blue eyed, bachelor student at Akron University runs the pontoon rental business at "Dusty's II," located in the adjacent building next to the waterfront club. The Marina has eight pontoons for rent.
    Besides offering fuel for boats, most of the winter storage area is allocated for their own pontoon boats. However, they do store a limited number of other vessels there.
    During the winter months Dietz's Landing employs ten full time and 15 part time workers. That figure balloons to 45 during the summer months.
    "Our next step is to build up the week day business so we don't have to rely on summer weekends to carry us," said Francine Norris.
    If they continue to serve food as good as what we had recently, for Mark, Francine and Drew Norris, that'll be a piece of cake.
     
    Comments may be e-mailed to: Frankweaverjr@aol.com

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