“It’s a really cool story,” promises Zachary Bond, who will open The Spot on Lakeshore (7272 Lakeshore Blvd.) in Mentor in about a month.
Bond, who most recently worked at Table 45, says that he returned to Northeast Ohio for family reasons about 15 years ago. When he did, he started working at a great little place called Lakeshore Eatery, where owner John McGlaughlin instilled in the budding cook a passion for the industry.
“John really inspired me to pursue what I had always loved to do since I was a kid, which was cook and work in professional kitchens,” says Bond, who later moved over to John Palmer’s Bistro and then Ballantine and Willoughby Brewing Co. and eventually L’Albatros and Table 45 to work for Zack Bruell.
But over the past year and a half, the chef admits, he lost that passion. Working in a restaurant located inside a hotel that is attached to a hospital in the middle of a pandemic was nearly enough for him to reconsider his career path. But then he got a call from his old boss at the Lakeshore Eatery.
“John called me and said he was done and that if I wanted the place it was mine,” says Bond. “It couldn’t have come at a better time. To be honest, it was absolutely grueling. I almost left the industry, that’s how downtrodden I was as a chef. It was rough year.”
When it opens in early October, The Spot on Lakeshore will serve breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch. There is a full liquor license, which will clear the way not only for mimosas and bloodies, but also fun events in the private dining room like pop-ups and collaborations with other like-minded chefs.
The plan is to open one side of the space at 6 a.m. for premium coffee and grab-and-go items like hot sandwiches, bagels and muffins. The main dining room will open at 7 a.m. and offer scratch-made breakfast and lunch dishes that the chef hopes will appeal to his eastern suburb clientele.
“When I wrote the menu, I went with a balance of the classics to make sure you have those everyday things, but also a list of specialties,” he explains. “The idea is to start small and kind of build off from that; try and create an epicenter over here where we’re doing creative scratch food.”
In addition to those classics – items like breakfast sandwiches, eggs Benedict, biscuits and gravy, three-egg omelets and platters containing eggs, meat, home fries and toast – Bond will whip up avocado toast, eggs in purgatory and a half dozen skillets starring redskin potatoes with various toppings. Those will be joined by specialties like steak and eggs and country-fried chicken and waffles with black pepper gravy.
When the lunch bell sounds, the menu will flip over to soups, salads and sandwiches like burgers, tuna melts, fried chicken and spiced salmon patties.
Bond says that the far-east side communities of Mentor and Willoughby still lack for creative, independent eateries of all kinds, let alone breakfast and lunch places.
“With our generation, corporate [places] aren’t going to make it,” he says. “All of the people in our generation want to know who owns the place. We want to know that you’re a scratch kitchen. We want a cool place to go to hang out. It’s more about the entire energy of the place and who else is there.”