Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Restaurant plans hometown feel

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LOVELAND - Familiar faces and slices of Loveland will be found in just about every corner of The Works brick oven restaurant when it opens behind city hall next month.

From the 1905 brick structure at 20 Grear Millitzer Way that once provided water for the trains running through town, to the artistically decorated tables crafted by young students, relatives, friends, firefighters and police officers, Scott Gordon is building his new restaurant with his hometown in mind.

Locals will make appearances as guest bartenders and chefs, and a small gift shop will showcase the work of local artists, sculptors and craftsmen.

Teachers and even a school bus driver - Gordon's mother-in-law, Lynne Lee - will double as hostesses and staff.

"This is going to be a hometown restaurant. We want it to be a place we can just come and hang out. It's Loveland's own," said Gordon, a Loveland grad and former minor-league pitcher for Toronto who returned with his wife, Jamie, in 1996 after a stint in the Marine Corps.

Jamie, also a Loveland grad, now teaches math at Loveland High School.

With a grand opening probably a couple weeks away, Gordon and his family are busy putting the finishing touches on the interior, as well as the bar list and menu, which will include a variety of modestly priced pizzas, salads, pasta, chicken, steak and desserts. Chef Shawn Hobson, who is Gordon's brother-in-law and an experienced cook at local restaurants, will be in charge of the kitchen.

The Works will have seating for about 100 diners and a room downstairs will be available for private parties. There are also plans for an outdoor patio next spring, Gordon said.

Even with no restaurant experience, Gordon, 36, said he expects The Works, nestled off West Loveland Avenue near the city's bike trail entrance, to be a success driven by locals, cyclists and tourists.

Loveland officials have faith. They are leasing the building to Gordon, and think The Works will set an example that the historic business district can support a "premium" restaurant, along with an established tavern, a coffee shop, and a tea room.

"You look at what he's done. He was a pro ball player, a Marine captain," Assistant City Manager Tom Carroll said. "He's never run a restaurant, but he's just the kind of guy that is successful at whatever he does."

Well, maybe not everything.

Gordon tried to talk the city into reprogramming the carillon atop the restaurant to play the "Marine Corps Hymn" and "Scotland the Brave."

"We couldn't swing that," Carroll said.


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