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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Max & Erma's redo at Mall brings out the band

The Mentor High School band was there and so were portly Max and Erma  costumed characters.
Thursday’s “grand reopening” of Max & Erma’s, a freestanding restaurant in the east Great Lakes Mall parking lot next to Barnes & Noble, drew a packed house crowd for a look around, the chance to sample munchies and taste free Thirsty Dog beer. Passing motorists tooted their approval
Bar manager Matt Michealis said the eatery closed for five-and-a-half days to undergo a re-do which included new flooring, furniture and lighting and to expand the bar. It’s part of a system-wide effort to re-ignite growth for the Columbus, Ohio based restaurant chain.
“Some employees took their vacations then while others pitched in to help us and got full pay,” said bar manager Matt Michaelis. Debuting was a new fireplace with views from both sides. On one side a new date-night seating area, intended for adults only,  was rolled out. On the other side of the fireplace are high top tables with crystal chandeliers overhead.
Kitschy memorabilia still fills the walls to dispel any impression of a high tone makeover signaled by the eye-popping chandeliers.
Free, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies go to customers on Wednesdays.
At the opening, live entertainment in the bar included Charles Kema on ukelele and acoustic guitar. Once a month entertainment on Fridays is something Michealis said he hopes to establish, “depending on how it’s received by our customers,” he said.
In keeping with its commitment to the community, Max & Erma’s pledged 20 percent of purchases that day to support music programs of Mentor Public Schools.


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