Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lobsterfest at Fisher's Cafe & Pub

Local Restaurant Offers Great Deal on Lobster Every Fall 
by Brit Charek

Fisher's Cafe & Pub might be one of Northeast Ohio's best kept secrets, especially in the fall. Every September, my grandmother and I start scheming about when we can make a Wednesday night trip to the valley to indulge in a lobster dinner at a more than reasonable price. (And sometimes we go two or three times!)

Fisher's is a family-friendly establishment, with an ice cream bar in the front of the house which keeps the kiddos happy and a generous selection of local beers on draft to keep the grownups happy, not to mention reasonable happy hour specials. When the weather's nice there's a beautiful patio out back to accommodate all the bikers and hikers that end up in Peninsula via the gorgeous Towpath Trail nearby. When the weather's not quite as forgiving, the inside atmosphere becomes a cozy haven for skiiers and snowboarders. And in between, there's weekend clambakes and Wednesday night lobsterfest in the autumn.

On Wednesday nights, you can enjoy a whole lobster, already split with the icky innards replaced with delicious cornbread stuffing, baked to perfection in traditional New England fashion, along with a baked potato and all the butter you can handle for a mere $14.99. They start serving at 5 pm, so it's best to call ahead to make sure they haven't run out of lobsters by the time you get there.

Last week I went to my first Lobsterfest of the year, and it did not disappoint. I just might go back tomorrow. In addition to my meal, I couldn't help myself from ordering a basket of eggplant fries, served up with a delicious cucumber-wasabi "bistro sauce." I'd highly recommend them.

Fisher's Cafe & Pub is a family-owned establishment, now onto its third generation in their 54th year of business. To learn more about their story, check out their menu or buy some Fisher's Cafe gear, check out their website at http://www.fisherscafe.com/

Fisher's Cafe is located at 1607 Main Street (St. Rt. 303) in Peninsula. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Center for the History of Psychology

CHP is located at the corner of College and Mill streets.

Local Museum, The Center for the History of Psychology
by Joanna Wilson

Looking for something different to do in Akron?  Consider exploring the gallery of a local museum--one I bet you didn't even know existed--The Center for the History of Psychology (CHP). 

Entrance to the permanent collection.

The interactive gallery space offers an interesting opportunity to experience the history of psychological principles, tests, mechanisms and devices.  The best thing about the self-guided tour is that each exhibit is clearly designed to show visitors how each piece in the collection is relevant to today's experiences.  I found this little-known museum to be very fascinating!

A guard's uniform on display at the museum--one used in the original Stanford Prison Experiment.

At the museum, you can see original costumes worn by the participants in the Stanford Prison Experiment where volunteers were asked to take on the roles of either prisoners or guards.  The results of this psychological test have been a part of the more recent discussions about Abu Ghraib. The collection also includes the electronic shock box from Stanley Milgram's experiments on obedience.  You may have heard of re-creations of this experiment that tests an individual's willingness to deliver a painful shock to someone else--as instructed by an authority figure.  This shock box and the Milgram experiments were the subject of a TV episode of History's Lost and Found on the History Channel in 2000--the segment can be seen on a video screen at the museum.

One of the many interactive exhibits at CHP--this one demonstrates the mosquito frequency that adults can't hear--but supposedly teenagers can!

There are also exhibits on handwriting analysis and attempts to use it to identify personality traits, and the doll studies done with African-American children--the results of which were used to help bring integration to public schools in the landmark court case Brown v. the Board of Education.  There is a B.F. Skinner box that was used to work with animals and an Aircrib intended to be used to incorporate Skinner's behavioral techniques for babies.  I even tested my own levels of hearing with the audio frequency display that demonstrates the controversial Mosquito Alarm, the deterrent that supposedly prevents teenagers from loitering in certain locations.  And, no--I couldn't hear it!

Self-guided tour means you can take your time to read and interact with each exhibit.  I imagine this would be an exciting afternoon for people to explore with their families or friends from out of town.

I didn't expect to connect with this museum as much as I did.  From pseudo-scientific mechanisms, to psychological tests performed by big businesses to an exhibit on the continuing evolution of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the ideas and tools in this collection are relevant to modern life and American culture.

This totem pole is a part of the Oelschlager Collection.

There's even a temporary exhibit space just as you enter the building.  They have a collection of Native American artifacts currently on display.  What can you learn about people from the past by examining their tools and art?  Come and find out for yourself.

CHP is open Monday-Friday: 10am-4pm, Saturdays noon-4pm.  Closed Sundays.  The gallery is always *FREE.*  The self-guided tour should take you approx. 1-2 hours.  I recommend it for adults and teens.

The Center for the History of Psychology
73 College St., Akron OH 44325

facebook link: Center for the History of Psychology
blog link: http://centerhistorypsychology.wordpress.com
CHP website: http://www.uakron.edu/chp/

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Szalay's Farm in Peninsula

Szalay's Farm in Peninsula
by Brit Charek

Getting sweet corn from Szalay's Farm in Peninsula has been a fall family tradition since as long as I can remember. 

This sign has been making me laugh since before I could read!
Since my grandparents lived in Peninsula, I spent a lot of time there growing up-- hiking and canoeing in the Cuyahoga Valley, skiing at the resorts, or just enjoying the scenery with my family. I didn't realize how lucky I was to live so close to one of the largest National Parks in the country. As an adult, I'm excited to share those same experiences with my own family.


Szalay's has been around since 1931 and has been family owned and operated for four generations. Not only does their store sell fresh veggies and fruits, often picked that very day, but also an abundance of other homemade goodies and items like honey and cheese from other Ohio farms in the area. 

You can feel great knowing that the food you're buying is not only going to taste delicious, but that your purchase is directly supporting the farming community.

Szalay's isn't just a place to buy food-- it's a great experience! For $5 (Kids under 3 are free) you can try your luck at the carefully planned corn maze. It takes about a half hour to complete (Don't panic! They provide a cheat sheet for those of us that are navigationally challenged!) and there's a treat waiting for you at the end.

Click here to check out the awesome aerial views of corn mazes in the past few years!

There's also an outdoor eating area open on the weekends where you can lounge on wooden swings and enjoy the crisp autumn air and the scenery while chowing down on grilled sweet corn, sandwiches and hot apple cider or homemade lemonade or sweet tea.

Don't forget to pick up your pumpkin! You can get them bite sized or supersized,  or maybe try a slug pumpkin (below)

Szalay's farm is located at 4563 Riverview Road in the Cuyahoga Valley. To learn more, you can visit their website at http://szalaysfarm.com/ or give them a call at (330) 657-2727. They are open daily from 9am to 7pm until October 31.

Do you have any Akron area fall traditions that you'd like us to cover? Let us know at akronempire@gmail.com

Thursday, October 18, 2012

25th Anniversary Screenings at Plaza Cinemas at Chapel Hill

25th Anniversary Celebration at Plaza Cinemas at Chapel Hill
by Joanna Wilson

If you remember from my July post, Plaza Cinemas at Chapel Hill has been running a cult film classics series every third Saturday of each month for most of the year.  Click HERE to see that post again.  This Saturday, Oct. 20th, they will be screening the 1984 favorite Ghostbusters for only $5 per ticket at 9:30pm and Midnight.  Click HERE for the FB event.  Won't it be fantastic to see the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man on the big screen?

Who ya gonna call?

What I'm also excited about is an upcoming celebration of the theater's 25th anniversary of their initial opening in 1987.  They are holding special screenings of six outstanding movies that came out in 1987.

I love Moonstruck so much!  Last year I attended several Halloween parties cotumed as Cher's character, Loretta, and my boyfriend was dressed as Nic Cage's character, Ronny.

The anniversary film series includes Dirty Dancing, The Lost Boys, Moonstruck, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Spaceballs and The Untouchables.  Tickets are $5 each or you can buy a special pass to each of the six films for $19.87.  Very clever--and a bargain.

"Those aren't two pillows!"  1987's Planes, Trains & Automobiles starring funnymen Steve Martin and John Candy.

The films screenings are staggered over the week of Friday, Oct. 26th through Thursday, Nov. 1st.  The schedule from the website:

Fri., Oct. 26 - 7:10 PM
Sun., Oct. 28 - 4:15 PM
Mon., Oct. 29 - 2:00 PM
Tue., Oct. 30 - 4:15 PM

Fri., Oct. 26 - 9:30 PM
Sat., Oct. 27 - 9:30 PM
Wed., Oct. 31 - 7:10 PM

Fri., Oct. 26 - 2:00 PM
Sat., Oct. 27 - 4:15 PM
Mon., Oct. 29 - 7:10 PM

Sat., Oct. 27 - 2:00 PM
Mon., Oct. 29 - 4:15 PM
Thu., Nov. 1 - 7:10 PM

Fri., Oct. 26 - 4:15 PM
Sun., Oct. 28 - 7:10 PM
Wed., Oct. 31 - 4:15 PM

Sat., Oct. 27 - 7:10 PM
Sun., Oct. 28 - 2:00 PM
Tue., Oct. 30 - 7:10 PM
Thu., Nov. 1 - 4:15 PM

Are you as excited about this film series as I am?  I've actually seen all of these movies (except Spaceballs) on the big screen before--when they originally came out.  But I'd really like to see Moonstruck and Planes, Trains and Automobiles once again at a theater.  You just can't compare the big screen, theater experience to seeing them on TV or DVD.  Will I see you there?

Check out the links:
Plaza Cinemas general website
Plaza Cinemas Facebook Special Events Schedule
25th Anniversary on-line schedule

I just see this poster and I'm hearing the soundtrack playing in my head. What about you?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Light-UP Lantern Festival Presented By University Park Alliance

Light-UP Lantern Festival
words by Brit Charek
photos by Heather Higham

The Fourth Annual Light-UP Lantern Festival took place last weekend in University Park. Despite some intermittent uncooperative weather, the gypsy style "Caravan of Lights" themed celebration was a success. Founder Leandra Drumm and Art Director Daniel Coffield are very proud of this unique celebration that is family-friendly, free and open to the public

Starting at Don Drumm Studios at 6 pm this past Saturday, the lantern procession meandered its way through the University Park neighborhood amid performers and cheerful onlookers. Between the stilt walkers, musicians, fire artists, interactive shadow puppets and imaginative performance artists, there was plenty for adults and children alike to be entertained by. 

Check out our photos of this terrific Akron event!

Thanks to Heather for her photos!
To learn more about the Light-UP Lantern Festival and make sure you don't miss it next year, "like" them on Facebook by clicking here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Akron Cats Unite!

Abigail from One of A Kind Pets

Akron Cats Unite!
by Joanna Wilson

I recently became aware of a new Tumblr blog my friend Roza Haidet has started in order to share her passion for adopting homeless cats and for responsible pet ownership.  She also intends for the blog to support and encourage the nonprofit organization One of a Kind Pets where she originally adopted her cat Abigail a few years ago and where she still visits to write the pet profiles for the blog.  I think this is a great idea too so I thought I'd share her blog here for Akron Empire readers.

One of a Kind Pets is located at 1929 W. Market Street in Akron.  You can call: 330.865.6200

On the blog, you'll see profiles of cats that are available for adoption including photos and sometimes video.   Roza also includes informational posts about the adoption process and costs at One of a Kind Pets, a facility that also offers dogs for adoption, if you're interested.

Roza says, "I hope to get the message out to the local community that there are a lot of cats that need homes and that they should also care for the ones they have now. The most important thing is spaying and neutering them. This is the only way to control the cat population and to avoid unnecessary euthanizing."

"I realize that not everyone is a cat lover like me (although I feel like there is a cat out there for everyone), so I don't expect them to care as much as I do. I just feel that every animal deserves to be treated in a humane way and unfortunately some people don't realize what that means."

This is Chubbs--just one of the many cats available for adoption.

I agree with Roza that this is a worthwhile project and I hope you will join me in supporting her efforts to raise awareness about adoptable pets.  Roza began the blog as a class project while attending the University of Akron, and she hopes to continue updating the blog after the end of the semester if she gets a good response.  So please share this post or Roza's blog link and show her you believe that this a worthwhile effort as well.  Thanks.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pub Bricco

Pub Bricco in Merriman Valley
by Brit Charek

All photos courtesy of Bricco's website.
I've always been partial to Bricco downtown Akron as well as their sister restaurant in Playhouse Square downtown Cleveland, but I must say that the Pub in the Valley might be my new favorite of the Bricco family of restaurants. The decor is laid back and comfortable and the staff is knowledgeable,  friendly and often patient when I can't make up my mind.

Even though the menu is limited to pub fare that doesn't mean you'll ever go away hungry. They offer hearty sandwiches and great snacks. (I'm addicted to the house chips!) You can mix and match your protein on any of the selection of gourmet salads or sandwiches-- choose from a traditional burger, go savory by choosing the crab cake, or go a little lighter with chicken, salmon, or a veggie burger.

One of my favorite things to order is the salmon. As an entree, on a salad, or on a sandwich it's always cooked perfectly. Another great feature is their rotating draft beer selection which includes both local and exotic craft beers, reasonably priced compared to competitors.

On Wednesday nights you can enjoy live jazz in the attached space that is occupied on the weekends by None Too Fragile Theater. Check out our post on None Too Fragile by clicking here.

Whether you're looking to catch a meal or just a drink and a snack, Pub Bricco will hit the spot with their versatile menu and knowledgeable staff. You can check out Pub Bricco, or any of the three other restaurants they have in the Northeast Ohio area, by visiting their website. They are located at 1841 Merriman Rd. in the Valley.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Boulevard

The Boulevard Tavern and Restaurant
by Joanna Wilson

Sometimes I'm just looking to hang out in an old school, neighborhood bar.  Once such place I frequent is The Boulevard, located on Chestnut Boulevard in Cuyahoga Falls.  This isn't a fancy place or one where all the local hipsters are talking about.  Quite the opposite.  And that's its appeal.  It's a good, comfortable place with a laid-back atmosphere, where there's no pressure to impress anyone who might be there.

The Lake Perch three-piece fish dinner served over french fries and a side of cole slaw.

The menu is small, offering Mediterranean dishes such as falafel, shawarma and kabobs.  Oddly, you can also find nachos and quesadillas listed.  But the Boulevard has made their reputation on two items: Lake Perch fish dinners which they offer on special every Wednesday and Friday, and The Bouley Burger, a cheeseburger topped with a fried egg.  The burger with a fried egg topping is a feature many places are offering on their menus now.  I've tried a number of them but I keep returning to The Boulevard for their version.

The Bouley Burger: a cheeseburger topped with a fried egg.

Sometimes I'm just in the mood for a quiet place to linger, enjoy some comfort food, and drink a beer or two.  That's when I want to go to a place where the menu's not too complicated, the food's not too fussy, but everything they do, they do well.  That's when you'll find me at the Boulevard.  Where do you go to find a casual place to drink, eat and socialize?  Want to share it with our Akron Empire readers?  Email us about guest blogging or contact us on our Facebook page.

The Boulevard
435 Chestnut Blvd. in Cuyahoga Falls
(330) 928-8596