John Lane, Jim Callam and Fred Kobzowicz at Winking Lizard are ready for a little bit of a growth spurt. Within the next year, at least four new locations and concepts will pop up throughout Northeast Ohio with a slew of others in the works.
The most significant change will come with a move of location for the current Winking Lizard in Fairlawn, which will make a trek a few miles west to Montrose into the former Golden Corral Buffet & Grill. The updated spot will also feature a Lizardville, a bottle shop and whiskey bar concept the owners created less than two years ago. Lizardville locations are already prominent within Cleveland (in Bedford Heights and Rocky River) and would add a well-needed retail beer store to the Akron area. If all goes as planned, the new and improved Winking Lizard and Lizardville will open in March of next year.
The most immediate additions will come in the form of their latest creation, Winks Bar and Grille, a restaurant focusing on Ohio-made beer, wine, spirits and food. The first location will occupy a spot in the Galleria at Erieview mall in downtown Cleveland and is scheduled to open in October, presumably to coincide with Cleveland Beer Week. If the concept is a success, plans are to add a second location along Chagrin Boulevard in Beachwood.
For the Grandview Heights and Canton areas, the crew plan to unveil yet another concept, the Winking Lizard Bar and Grille. This smaller version of the standard Winking Lizard will focus on draft beer and feature about 30 taps with a reduced food menu. Grandview Heights is set to open in January while the Canton location is still in the works, though aiming for a 2013 launch.
The owners would ideally like to open two or three more restaurants in the Columbus area, where only one currently exists, before moving into the Dayton and Cincinnati markets.