New owners, same spirit at Berea's Eastland Inn restaurant
Grant Segall, The Plain Dealer
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on October 16, 2014 at 3:06 PM, updated October 18, 2014
BEREA, Ohio — At Wednesday's meeting, the staff quickly showed the
incoming owners the spirit of the roughly 80-year-old Eastland
When soon-to-be co-owner Domenic Ruggiero gave out his cell
number, bartender Fred Lozano dialed it right away, just to make
sure Ruggiero was on the level. Lozano wants the new boss to be as
open and down-to-earth as this warm,
charitable hangout on Eastland Road.
Outgoing co-owner Dave Peterkoski
helped to break in Ruggiero. Peterkoski and his wife, Liz, are
turning over the Eastland's keys on Sunday -- 16 years to the date
after taking over the restaurant.
At the meeting, Dave Peterkoski announced that Ruggiero had named
Lindsey Bobich as his first employee of the month. Then Peterkoski
handed her a gift-wrapped prize supposedly from Ruggiero. It
turned out to be a toilet seat with her picture inside.
Ruggiero caught on fast to the Eastland clan's sense of humor.
When chef Gwen Hall asked if she should keep buying groceries for
the kitchen as usual, he said, "Can you buy me something?"
After the meeting, Ruggiero bought something, too: a round for all
the workers who were there but off duty.
The Eastland Inn is no Ritz-Carlton. It's a dark little retreat
with a bare wooden bar, scuffed paneling, painted bricks, dim
linoleum, faded posters, Browns schedules, and, during this
Halloween season, lots of skeletons.
The place serves up hearty entrees of chicken, steak, pasta and
more at down-home prices, from $9.95 to $19.95. It's known for
long-running jokes and long-running friendships. It has sponsored
many community fund-raisers and served free meals on Thanksgiving.
"Love it," said customer Tim Thomas. Why? "Good people."
The customers hope the place stays the same. "Cosmetic changes,
OK," said Michael Shannon, who's been coming here for 30 years
with his dad, Bill, a 40-year customer. "As long as the atmosphere
Customer Shirley Zitnar said she'll miss the Peterkoskis. "They
were such nice people. They always treated me good."
Liz grew up in North Olmsted, moved to Las Vegas and came back to
town for a visit. She met Dave from Berea and married him a year
later to the date. The next day, they heard that their bid for the
Eastland had been accepted.
Says Liz, "The bar has been our honeymoon. We've put our heart and
soul in this place."
And their knees. Dave got one of his replaced recently, then
hurried back to work, where his retooled body put unfamiliar
pressure on both feet.
Now the lifelong cook plans to look for other work. Liz will keep
her day job as secretary to Teamsters Local 293.
Ruggiero comes from a big family with its own local traditions.
Several relatives have worked in the Berea schools, including his
brother, Vincent, principal of Berea-Midpark High School.
Domenic Ruggiero co-owned the Front Row tavern in Brook Park for
five years before selling it a year ago. He'll run the Eastland
with help from his sister, Daniela, who works by day at Vitamix,
and their friend Mark Bardwell, who installs steam plants in
Ruggiero said he might make some changes at the Eastland over time
but would respect its traditions. For now, he plans to keep the
same hours, menu, drinks, staff, bands and events. He hoped at
first to keep the Thanksgiving meals -- more than 700 per year --
but canceled them after learning that he'd have to start preparing
them right away.
"We want to keep everything as is and improve it," he said.
"Whatever the customers like. We don't want to change anything
that's going well."
Eastland Road and Fowles
Just minutes from Cleveland Hopkins
Airport, Baldwin Wallace College, Finnie Stadium, Cuyahoga County
Fairgrounds, Cleveland Browns Berea Training Camp Complex and
Southwest General Hospital.
On Site (or behind
Inn on Adams St.)
11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
American Traditional and Classic
Dinner and Lunch
served in Restaurant
Not Required in
Restaurant or Bar
Full Bar and wine
Neighborhood and Pub-style
Event Caterer for
Business or Private Parties
Atmosphere and Personality:
Bar Scene, Fun And
Flirty, and Laid Back Casual
Live Music & Entertainment:
Admission, Happy Hour, Jukebox, Karaoke, Live Performances,
People Watching, and Signature Dishes
Average Drink Price:
Cash and Major
Berea's popular Eastland
Inn is back and better than ever
Heileman, Sun News
Published: Saturday, September 18, 2010, 8:43 AM
The Eastland Inn, 33 Eastland Road, is a favorite dining spot
for many of us in Berea and environs.
A friend from town who dines there frequently told me he finds
the inn to be a cozy place that serves comfort food home style
and commented that its cabin-like atmosphere puts him in mind of
a place more likely to be found in Adirondack mountain resort
areas of upstate New York.
The inn, which sits among trees and adjacent to the lushness of
the nearby Metroparks, at the juncture of Eastland Road and
Adams Street, reopened for business this week after a short
shutdown for some interior and exterior renovation and repairs.
members of the community pitched in to help restaurant staff
paint, replace restroom floors and fixtures and reupholster
dining room chairs.
The exterior of the 78-year-old inn got a fresh look with the
installation of new siding of a color “Irish thistle.”
The menu’s been revamped, too, with additions including stuffed
duck and eggplant roulette.
Eastland Inn Restaurant & Bar combines friendly
with quality pub fare in Berea Ohio
Phillips, Sun News
Wednesday, June 02, 2010, 4:14 PM
There has been all sorts of rumors regarding the Eastland Inn’s
early years. According to one of those rumors, the inn got its start
as a speakeasy, before moving to its present location after
Whatever its past, it’s likely that the inn served as a
well-liked community gathering space, if its present casual
cheeriness is any indication. Maybe it’s because the inn is located
in a college town (Berea is home to Baldwin-Wallace College), but it
seems to attract a nicely mixed clientele that makes it welcoming to
all. Everyone from professors and BW college students, to retirees, to
families with small children, to high school kids seems to enjoy the
Tuesday burger special (buy one, get one for $1.50).
The owners actively nurture this variety of customers,
making the cozy inn feel more like a family-friendly, old-style
British pub or European cafe', rather than a mere watering hole. Of
his variety of customers, “They all seem to mesh really
In addition to its friendly service, The Eastland Inn Restaurant
and Bar appeals to
customers with its budget-friendly daily specials.
On a recent Wednesday night visit, featured specials included
crab legs ($14.95) and tender strip steak ($8.95). The generous
portion of perfectly steamed Alaskan king crab legs arrived cleverly
presented in a metal bucket, with a special tool for making short
work of the shells. Skin-on French fries sprinkled with malt vinegar
made a delicious accompaniment, as did some of Dave’s thick and
creamy beer-cheese soup (although a tad salty). Washed down with a
smooth Rolling Rock beer, it made for a most pleasant, all-American
The inns’ excellent fish fries ($12.95), made with fresh Lake
Erie perch, are another customer favorite. They want everyone to
know that they’re available every day for lunch or dinner, not just
on Fridays or during Lent. Seafood lovers can also look forward to a
month-long lobster event beginning in mid-June.
In addition to super specials, The Eastland Inn Restaurant & Bar offers a great
variety of chicken, veal, and pasta dishes, such as a sweet
Cincinnati chili ($8.95), as well as salads, sandwiches and lighter
fare, such as its New Orleans-inspired muffaletta on focaccia
Looking for just a bite to go with a drink? Try Dave’s “Dirty
Nachos” ($6.95), featuring a tasty combination of artichokes,
spinach, melted cheeses, tomato, scallions, and black olives topping
a mound of crunchy pita chips.
The Eastland Inn Restaurant & Bar is at 33 Eastland Road in Berea. The inn is open
from 11 a.m. until 2:30 a.m. daily. Call
Phillips is a freelance food writer in Avon Lake.
"Great Restaurant and
a Fun Bar in Berea Ohio"
Have us Caterer your next Business Luncheon,
Party or Fundraiser
The Eastland Inn
Restaurant & Bar in Berea Ohio is a favorite stop for Baldwin
Wallace (BW) students between studies.
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