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The Suburbanite
  • Bold Face: Fighter Group closing? No way, says owner

  • Bob Scofield is adamant that his 356th Fighter Group restaurant is not closing.

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  • “No, no, absolutely not,” says Bob Scofield to murmurings his 356th Fighter Group restaurant at 4919 Mount Pleasant St. NW in Green is closing.
    “Just drive by on a Saturday and you’ll see that we’re doing a good business,” Scofield said. “I can not figure out who keeps putting that out there. We are not being bought out by the airport. That’s the other thing that’s being said. We had our biggest and best Thanksgiving ever, serving close to 1,700 people. We have a huge holiday season going on. This kind of stuff (rumors) is putting us little independent guys out of business. That’s not the case.”
    Fifteen months ago, the restaurant filed bankruptcy and since then Scofield said he has worked 20-hour days to turn it around. On Jan. 8, he said, the operation should emerge from bankruptcy.
    “I’m responsible for 65 families here, not just my own. The whole team has stayed together,” he added.
    In the meantime, Johnson & Wales culinary school graduate Walter Halchak joined the team four months ago and is reworking the menu, adding daily specials that his boss said diners won’t find elsewhere locally. The Christmas Eve menu, for example, will feature raspberry barbecued salmon while New Year’s Eve revelers may want to try Halchak’s asiago-crusted tilapia.
    “He interned down at Commander’s Palace (a landmark since 1880 in the Garden District of) in New Orleans. That’s the Brennan family everybody knows,” Scofield said.
    ITALIAN VINTNER VISITS
    Dario and Stefania Stroppiana are back home in La Morra, Piedmont, in northern Italy. But last week, they made their annual journey to Canton, staying with long-time friends Leo and Claudia Dick, owners of L.A. Dick Imports.
    Family vineyard owners, the Stroppianas hosted wine tastings at various venues here during their stay. The Dicks are the area’s exclusive distributors of their wines.
    The Stroppianas’ 50 acres yield only 25,000 bottles of wine annually. In the heat of July and August, the family thins the grape crop, allowing only the best grapes to ripen.
    Their Dolcetto is aged in steel vats and bottled when the weather still is hot. Other Stroppiana wines, aged differently, include Vigna S. Giacomo, Gabutti Bussia, Barbera D’Alba, Langhe Rosso and Langhe Nebbiolo.
    THE MUSIC FARM OPENS HERE
    Business was so good at The Music Farm that it relocated from Orrville two and a half weeks ago to the former Audio Visions store at 4900 Whipple Ave. NW in Plain Township beside Toys R Us.
    Doylestown resident Brian Robinson founded the business in 2004. The store and its online counterpart, www.themusicfarm.com, offer a full line of guitars, drums, amplifiers, band instruments and sound systems. Better yet, the sales staff is comprised of knowledgeable musicians and lessons are offered.
    Page 2 of 2 - Part of the reason for relocating was a need for space but the main objective was to increase foot traffic.
    “We like to be able to show people what we have, let them come in and look at the instruments and try them out,” said Sales Associate Ken Harding. “Interestingly, everything is at least 8 percent cheaper in the store than online.”
    Visit the Farm Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays through Christmas, noon to 4 p.m.
    GYRO DEVOTEES, TAKE HEART
    Don’t let the green construction permit posted on the door of Papa Gyro’s at 2035 Cleveland Ave. NW deter you. Owners Steve and Kelly Paxos, who have been at that location since 2001, say the restaurant remains open while it undergoes a complete interior renovation. New everything, says Steve, “but it is being done in stages.”
    “It has been such a good store for us with good, loyal customers that we want  to reward them by making it more customer friendly. It will all be done some time early next year.”
    The second Paxos-owned restaurant is in the Belden Village area at 4764 Everhard Road NW, Jackson Township.
    OMNIUM-GATHERUMS
    Owners of the popular El Campesino Mexican restaurants in Canton and Perry Township have tradesmen renovating a former restaurant site at Southgate Shopping Center on Cleveland Avenue SW. A January opening is anticipated for the third restaurant which will be named El Campera, a variation on El Camposino, meaning “the farmer.” ... When the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s $27 million expansion and renovation project is complete, it will boast a 20-foot-diameter Hall of Fame logo composed of clay pavers donated by the Belden Brick Co. Visitors will be walking on 27,000 pavers, also donated by the company. Another 60,000 donated Belden-made face bricks also are part of the project ... Sports Therapy Bar & Grill at 201 Cleveland Ave. NW reopened a week ago Thursday .... It has been 50 years since Fisher Optical debuted in Fishers stores here. Today, there are centers in four stores staffed by a group of Canton optometrists.