MONTVILLE TWP. — For almost four years the new Montville Centre shopping plaza at state Route 18 and Windfall Road sat vacant — a victim of the 2008 economic downturn.
But the prospects for the center changed in 2012 when Gino and Barbara Faciana, owners of Pleasant Valley Construction Co., bought the 70,000-square-foot mall for $3 million.
“We are all about Medina County,” Gino said. “We want to fill the plaza up and bring life to the area.”
The Facianas did just that Tuesday by celebrating two grand openings — On Tap and 111 Bistro.
On Tap, a staple of bar cuisine and night life in Medina, and the 111 Bistro, a startup operated by two ambitious restaurateurs, hosted ribbon-cuttings at their new homes in the Montville Centre.
The owners of On Tap opened at the corner of the plaza June 11, moving from their previous location down the street where they had operated since 1988.
The new restaurant boasts three bars and 40 taps, a patio with a life-size Jenga set, waterfall, fireplace and a turf-laden corn hole set.
“It has been a dream for a long time,” Nicole Michaels, marketing director for On Tap, said. “This location is a lot bigger and a lot better.”
The grill is open every day except Monday and cooks in the restaurant’s two kitchens will serve food until 11 p.m. while the bar will remain open until 11:30 p.m. weeknights and 1 a.m. weekends.
If fine dining is more of your thing, the 111 Bistro, run by head chef Anthony Scolaro and front house manager Meghan Pender, are bringing a new twist to the Medina food scene.
“New American casual fine dining,” Scolaro called it.
Scolaro previously worked as the executive chef at Westfield County Club and received his chef’s training at the University of Akron.
Pender has worked as the front house manager at Sully’s Irish Pub in Medina and received her managerial education at Akron.
Both Scolaro and Pender have the same vision: Don’t intimidate the customer by being overly posh and use only the freshest ingredients from local farms and businesses.
The bistro is open each day at 3 p.m. for dinner and 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch.
The menu includes salmon béarnaise served with asparagus, potato confit, ravigote and a 6-minute egg, and pan-roasted chicken made with lemon, thyme, pan jus, leek farrotto and lemon gremolata.
“I think Medina County needs a restaurant like theirs,” Faciana said.
Faciana was born and raised in Medina, started Pleasant Valley Construction with his wife in Medina in 1974, and they then raised their family in Medina. He said it is important for them to support businesses with a local mindset.
The plaza reopened in 2013 when a Verizon Wireless store opened up. A fitness center, Mediterranean Fitness, also occupies a storefront.
Faciana said the last food establishment, Pizza Master, will open in September.
Pleasant Valley Construction is continuing to take lease bids on the remaining storefronts and plans to diversify the plaza with other retail and business options.
“We are hoping to have it 85 percent full by the end of the year,” Faciana said.
Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.