by Deon Broyles
(Plain Press, June 2011) By August 1 2011, Ohio City will reap its own unique harvest when Crop Bistro and Bar re-opens in a new location at 2537 Lorain Ave.
The joint ownership of Jackie and Steve Schimoler decided to move their restaurant into the first floor of the old United Bank Building on the corner of West 25th Street across from the West Side Market.
They believe that the new location is better suited for the growing needs of Crop. The new space is large enough to accommodate multiple businesses, Schimoler said.
“We really ran out of space at our past Crop location, generally, because we run a product development business, and we require a test kitchen and lab for our functionality.”
Crop owners plan to utilize the United Bank Building’s historic look to their advantage. According to Schimoler, the building is a perfect location for a restaurant. “It’s just a unique, unique space that was just screaming to be rejuvenated as a restaurant,” he said.
According to management, the restaurant will open with the addition of a market. “The restaurant and bar will be on the main floor,” Schimoler said. “We will also have a 2,000-square-foot market, where we are featuring all our ingredients for sale.”
Schimoler, a food scientist and head chef, has worked in the food development business for several years prior to owning a restaurant. He started his career at Nestle, where he met his wife and where he was the director of innovation and development.
After owning and selling four restaurants in New York, he and his family moved to Cleveland.
Crop also tests and develops food products for several large restaurant chains. “We do menu development for national chain accounts like Red Lobster and Cracker Barrel,” Schimoler said.
According to Mrs. Schimoler, the restaurant’s name means more than just cultivated agriculture.
“The name Crop is also short for customized restaurant operations platform. So, what that means is as we do development for different companies; we put the items on the menu and we try to see how well they do and what customers think of them,” she said.
Some people who work in the area think that Crop will be an added addition to the Ohio City West Side Market Area and will bring in new revenue streams. “We’re hoping it does really well for the neighborhood,” said Steve Mullin, a semi-retired Penzeys Spices clerk. “Customer traffic is going to be great because they are going to be open seven days a week. Just having somebody else open on Sunday is going to be really good.”
Penzeys Spices is a family owned business that sells a variety of food spices and is located on the first floor of the United Bank Building adjacent to the Crop location.
The Schimolers recently acquired and opened another restaurant called Cropicana. “We took over a restaurant down at Whisky Island Marina that used to be called the Sunset Grille. It’s a seasonal restaurant from May to September,” Schimoler said. Some 1,000 people showed up during the restaurant’s opening night.