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Can Indie Restaurants Survive in Uptown Neighborhood?

Cleveland Chef Zack Bruell shut down his Dynomite burger location in the Uptown neighborhood Friday night.  It follows in the footsteps of Crop and Accent – independent eateries in the mixed-use development at East 115th and Euclid – that couldn’t survive despite chef/owners with a history of success.  But that doesn't mean future restauranteurs couldn't succeed in the space, according to two local business experts.

Professor Michael Goldberg with the Case Western Weatherhead School of Management says new housing developments in the University Circle neighborhood should help provide a larger year-round client base beyond the student and hospital crowd.

"So the more folks that are moving here, and those projects don’t just cater to students, they’re catering to the empty nesters that are moving back to the region," says Goldberg.  "So clearly, the influx of housing downtown I think has really supported the food scene there and we’re seeing it happen in University Circle and hope it continues to grow."

Professor Richard Klein with the Cleveland State University School of Urban Affairs says for now, the area is in a holding pattern and restauranteurs will have to wait a little longer for the pay-off.

"You have to take into consideration that the full development impact to that district has not been felt as of yet.  It’s still a ways away," says Klein.  "It’s going to take probably anywhere from 1-3 years to possibly as much as five years before you start to realize the kinds of profits that you hope to get from those areas that are peripheral to the main core." 

Klein adds the University Circle neighborhood needs to work on ways to draw visitors from the core of the area’s cultural institutions out to the edges of its commercial district.

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