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Friday, April 3, 2020

Ohio Bought a Record 437,507 Gallons of Liquor the Week Gov. DeWine Ordered Bars and Restaurants Closed Due to Coronavirus

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 1:22 PM

  • Steve Mays/FlickrCC

On the afternoon of Sunday, March 15, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that all bars and restaurants in the state would have to close by 9 p.m. that evening. It was among the first in a string of stunning orders given to help slow the spread of coronavirus that have altered daily life.

But daily life goes on, and getting through it has required alcohol. And boy did the Buckeye State require it.

From that Sunday through Saturday, a stretch which included a quarantine-style St. Patrick's Day, Ohioans bought 437,507 gallons of liquor, $38.7 million worth.

That represented a 63% year-over-year increase.

That's just the liquor, folks. Ohioans were also buying beer in record quantities.

Though the state reports that sales have slowly retreated since the first week of prepper-style booze stockup, the month of March will still see a record amount of sales in both volume and dollars.

And what, exactly, are we buying.

First and foremost, 1.75-liter bottles of Tito's, which was easily the top seller across the state.

Rounding out the top 10 sellers: Woodford Reserve, Maker's Mark, Jack Daniel's, Jameson, Crown Royal in both peach and apple flavors, Hennesseyy and Patron Silver. 

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LJ Shanghai Has Reopened for Takeout, Thank the Soup Dumpling Gods

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 1:00 PM


Some welcome news as we head into the weekend: LJ Shanghai (3142 Superior Ave., 216-400-6936), which had been closed since March 16, has reopened for takeout. SOUP DUMPLINGS ALERT. Unsure of what else to get? Check out our review from last year.

LJ is open from 12 to 7 p.m. and joins the list of AsiaTown restaurants that are offering delivery or takeout right now. Do support them.

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Here's Bill Withers' Incredible Rock Hall Induction Speech in 2015

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 10:48 AM

Take 20 minutes of your Friday or weekend and listen to Bill Withers' acceptance speech at the 2015 Rock Hall ceremony, largely considered to be one of the best speeches in Rock Hall induction history. Joyous, funny, moving, honest — it's got everything we need today, plus Stevie Wonder performing "Ain't No Sunshine."

Talking to Rolling Stone about his experience in Cleveland that weekend in a backstage interview, Withers said, "The weirdest thing for me is, I walk around all the time in Los Angeles. Nobody knows who I am. I couldn’t convince some ladies in Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles it was me. It’s a true story. So to come over here and all of a sudden this thing – it’s like, going to dinner with Paul McCartney and ducking the paparazzi, I don’t have to do that stuff. So this was a big switch for me. Normally I’m just going to Home Depot and trying to get back before Judge Judy!"

Withers passed away today at the age of 81. 

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Buckeye Vodka Hosting Virtual Bartending Contest with Cash Prizes for Ohio Mixologists Laid-Off Because of COVID-19

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 11:44 AM

  • Buckeye Vodka

Among other establishments facing temporary closure, the country’s restaurants and bars — and their bartenders and waitstaff — have taken one of the hardest hits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No longer able to work, many people in the service industry are facing reduced hours and layoffs. Ohio-made vodka brand Buckeye Vodka is looking to do what they can to help Ohio’s bartenders during this time of crisis.

“An Outpouring of Love” is a newly launched campaign by Buckeye that is looking to put money directly into the hands of Ohio’s top bartenders through an online contest. This April, bartenders from Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Akron and Dayton will have a chance to show their skills by submitting a mixology video to Buckeye Vodka for a chance to win cash prizes. The total purse for the prizes adds up to $4,500 to be distributed among the top five winners.

Bartenders and mixologists from each Buckeye Vodka region will have their videos judged by qualified representatives using the following criteria: Creativity and originality of the cocktail and overall attitude of the bartender.

“The Buckeye State has been hit hard, and our bartenders are one of the groups that has been hit the hardest, and earliest,” said Jim Finke, co-founder of Buckeye Vodka. “Our hearts go out to them, and we want to help. We’re hoping this campaign will provide a much needed creative outlet for Ohioans at home, fill the winners’ pocket with some much-needed cash, and turn up the awareness of the need, overall.”

Consumers can also enter the contest and show their skills for the chance to win non-cash prizes, like a $100 valued Buckeye Vodka gift basket. All contestants must be 21 or older to participate.

If you’re a bartender who has been displaced from your job in the past three months and you're interested in entering the contest, you can upload your mixology video to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts and tag @BuckeyeVodka and your prior establishment, using the hashtag #BVBartender.

If you’re a consumer looking to participate, upload your video with the hashtag #BVFan.

More information on the contest can be found at

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Ohio Restaurants Lost $700 Million in Sales in March Due to Coronavirus, 10% Foresee Closing Permanently in April

Posted By on Wed, Apr 1, 2020 at 2:05 PM

  • Alan Levine/FlickrCC
The numbers are somehow even more grisly than one might expect.

In just the first three weeks of March, Ohio restaurants lost $698 million in sales and laid off more than 100,000 employees, according to a report from the Ohio Restaurant Association in conjunction with the National Restaurant Association.

And as the coronavirus pandemic inflicts severe financial damage across the industry, torpedoing businesses large and small that did nothing to invite the pain, the numbers are only going to get worse. The same report said that about 10% of restaurants that made it through March forecasted they will have to close permanently in the next month while others who have adapted to take-out and delivery-only operations struggle to stay open on slimmer than usual profit margins.

While help may be on the horizon with county, state and federal assistance, for many restaurants, the damage has already been done, with years and decades of work being undone in a matter of weeks.

As the crisis stretches on and the state's stay-home order likely lasting into mid-spring, operations that had fought to keep the doors open and employees on payroll so far are now looking at some hard numbers as they ponder whether or not, based on financials and health reasons, to keep going and whether to re-up from suppliers and wholesalers. In just the last few days, for example, Crust Pizza and Sokolowski's have decided to temporarily shutter until further notice. The second wave of closures, temporary or otherwise, will continue from here.

Places like Spice have already decided that dining out will likely look different on the other side of this crisis than it did before. Industry luminaries are loudly telling anyone who will listen that help needs to arrive in short order and in magnitudes or we'll be looking at mass closures this year. The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association estimates that 1 in 3 restaurants in that state won't reopen when the crisis is over.

One in three.

And some think the percentages will be worse than that.

Remember to support your local restaurant with takeout or delivery business. Our running list of options can be found here.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Dave's Markets Buys Cleveland and Columbus Lucky's Market Locations

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2020 at 2:28 PM

  • Google Maps

While Lucky's Markets filed for bankruptcy and the majority of its stores earlier this year, the Cleveland location remained open.

This week, it got a new owner.

Dave's Markets bought that store and the Columbus-area Lucky's Market at auction for a total of $1.25 million.

The sale will be finalized next week.

"The Saltzman family is excited to announce the forthcoming acquisition of the Lucky’s Markets locations in Cleveland and Columbus. With long time roots in the city of Cleveland and as proud Buckeye alumni, the family has strong Ohio ties. The Saltzman’s are looking forward to retaining the store team members and continuing to provide the Lucky’s shopping experience," Dave's said in a statement.

About 500 employees work at the six locations sold at auction; they will be offered jobs, according to today's announcement. 

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Meijer to Install Plexiglass Shields to Combat Coronavirus

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2020 at 9:22 AM

Michigan-based retailer Meijer announced Wednesday that it would be taking extra safety measures across its 248 supercenters as the coronavirus continues to sweep through the state.

As an essential business, Meijer and other grocery stores are among those allowed to operate during Ohio's stay at home order issued by Gov. Mike DeWine. To combat the risk of COVID-19 exposure, Meijer unveiled several new features — and the temporary removal of others.

To add another line of defense between customers and Meijer employees, the retail chain will install plexiglass cough/sneeze shields at each checkout lane. They will also use floor markers to mark a six-foot distance between customers waiting in line at checkout, pharmacy, and service counters — the space the CDC recommends for "social distancing." Folks are also being asked to use their shopping carts to gauge safe distances between themselves and other customers.

You won't be able to use reusable bags from home, either, as they're suspending the use of reusable bags in an effort to control contact with potentially contaminated materials. The only exception is to those taking advantage of Meijer's shop and scan program.

Last week, Meijer unveiled adjusted hours of operation to allow its team members to safely sanitize and restock the store. Meijer is now open from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, so no more 24-hour shopping runs.

For those at high risk of coronavirus and complications, senior citizens and those customers who have chronic health conditions, Meijer will be open exclusively between 7-8 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Essential workers and Meijer employees are also encouraged to take advantage of their dedicated shopping times, which are Mondays and Wednesdays also during the 7-8 a.m. hour.

For more information about Meijer locations, adjusted hours, or sanitation efforts, visit

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