GREEN  Jim and Zana Genovese wanted to offer a different dining experience on the Portage Lakes and their vision came to life with the Ramp Restaurant on South Main Street.

The couple has owned Sandy Beach Marina for 35 years but wanted to be able to offer those going out on the lakes a place to have lunch or dinner.

Jim Genovese said the idea for the project started about two years ago and it took a while to get all the permits he needed. Construction of the restaurant took about nine months as it officially opened Oct. 29.

Construction of The Ramp is the first new construction of a restaurant from the ground up in many years on the Portage Lakes, though many of the restaurants which have opened have been remodeled.

Inside the restaurant there is booth and table seating with two giant walls of windows looking at the Portage Lakes. There is also a granite countertop bar with 12 different beers are on tap along with several signature cocktails.

"We wanted to give it a theme of all about the water," Jim Genovese said.

In the center of the restaurant sits a 1955 Chris-Craft wood boat, which has been turned into a booth. The portion of the boat cut out to create the booth wasn’t wasted, however, as it serves as the hostess station. There are also antique boat motors on the walls and a clock from the former Blue Swan hangs on a wall near the bar.

A giant mural also hangs in the restaurant, which was painted by University of Akron students.

Leslie Genovese, who has been handling public relations and social media for the restaurant, said they wanted to keep construction of the restaurant locally focused.

There are 24 dedicated docks so that people can come to the restaurant by water and, come better weather, people will be able to order and have their food brought out to them on their boat.

"This is a great place to have lunch or dinner and you don’t have to leave the area," Jim Genovese said.

Outside the restaurant near the lake there is a deck for people to sit and a second deck is expected to be constructed before next spring.

"We want the best experience from the minute you walk in," Jim Genovese said.

The menu

The Ramp sells itself on having a wide variety menu and offering something for everyone. Some of the offerings include Black Angus center cut ribeye, salads, pizza, burgers, sandwiches and wraps.

A popular item on the menu is Art’s Bean Soup and Art’s Signature Salad, which are both past items from Art’s Restaurants, one of which stood at the corner of Waterloo Road and South Main Street and the other location was in Cuyahoga Falls. Jim Genovese said his uncle owned the restaurants and putting the items on The Ramp’s menu has been a huge success.

The appetizers have also been widely popular as homemade sauerkraut balls are served with Dijon mustard. Other appetizers include the lamb lollipops, Bavarian pretzel sticks and cheese wedges, just to name a few.

Holly Russell is the general manager and the chef is Anthony Lawson. Previously, Lawson worked at Prime 93.

"The response has been really good," Leslie Genovese said. "We have had a lot of good feedback and people are loving the variety on the menu."

She said being right off the swim zone will make it convenient for people to come in and eat. The Ramp also offers a fabulous children’s menu, which she said has been kid tested and approved.

Carryout is also offered.

The Ramp employees 45 people and Jim Genovese said that number continues to grow.

Santa Claus is also planning to make two appearances at The Ramp, once for breakfast and once for lunch. He will be there from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Dec. 16 and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 21.

Hours for the kitchen are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The bar stays open later each night and The Ramp is currently closed on Sundays.