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The Suburbanite
  • Options abound, but theme to remain the same at newest On Tap location

  • When the newest On Tap location opens this spring, patrons can expect to find much of what the restaurant offers at its four other Northeast Ohio locations.

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  • When the newest On Tap location opens this spring, patrons can expect to find much of what the restaurant offers at its four other Northeast Ohio locations.
    “On Tap has been in business and in the same family for 30 years,” said John Nassos, a business development manager who represented On Tap in its Jan. 11 agreement to purchase the former Olde Harbor Inn in at 562 Portage Lakes Drive. “We are kind of a family-style bar and grille, and if you come to any of our facilities, there is a separate area for family dining and bar dining. We are excited to be able to develop that in the Portage Lakes community.”
    Nassos, who will be involved in the setting up and opening of On Tap Grille and Bar at the Harbor, said the business plan for the new location also includes integrating the existing amenities with the On Tap theme.
    “The Olde Harbor Inn had become a hodgepodge of things — you had fine dining, but also outside dining,” he said. “We will be consistent with our On Tap theme because it works - so we will have things like karaoke and live music.”
    In addition to being the first On Tap south of Interstate 76 — the other locations are in Medina, Cuyahoga Falls, Fairlawn and Stow - Nassos said the hope is to take full advantage of the building’s famous lakeside view.
    “We are in a unique marketing position. We see this location as a destination on the lakes,” he said, noting that even in the current down economy that has seen other Portage Lake nightspots such as Hook Line and Drinkers quietly close up shop, On Tap at the Harbor could develop into more than simply a place to visit for lunch or dinner.
    “I think one of my motivations for pursuing this transaction had to do with the economy and how families have had to scale back their entertainment activities,” Nassos said.  “That is the attraction to us: where else can you go, even on the (Portage) Lakes with a lakefront view like the one at the Harbor?  So with that as a destination, we see it being more of a vacation-destination atmosphere.”
    Nassos was quick to point out that one of the primary goals for the location is that it not be a seasonal business.
    “Our programs are year-around, so that will be the case here,” he said. “I think that was part of the problem with the Olde Harbor Inn - it was a fine-dining establishment but struggled with its image. We are excited to bring some continuity to the people.”
     Former owner Steve Borroughs abruptly closed the business in September. Nassos said “cosmetic, sprucing up” changes are being made to the interior of the building, with a soft opening planned in April so
    Page 2 of 2 - employees — Nassos said there could be as many as 30 to 100 new hires — can become acclimated with the new location before the busy summer season hits.
    “We are not renovating or doing any major remodeling,” Nassos said. “Just things like changing out equipment to match the On Tap theme and making sure there is a flow.”
    The building offers plenty of room for that flow. At 10,000 square feet, it is roughly 25 percent larger than the next largest On Tap location, in Stow.
    “And when you walk into our other locations, you either go left or right,” he said. “Here, you will go up or down.”
    That being said, the new owners hope business at its newest location goes decidedly “up.”