Rascal Flatts is bringing their restaurant to the Cleveland East Flats. The trio band, famous for its success in the country music industry, is opening its first restaurant in Cleveland as part of Cleveland’s Flats East Bank project. The restaurant has been in the works since at least 2012. The developers do not have a confirmed opening date for the restaurant. However, they expect to be able to open late this summer or early fall.
Customers can expect a restaurant environment reflective of the band’s music, as it promises an “eclectic space that will mix country themes with rustic and industrial stylings,” according to Cleveland.com. The plans for the 10,000-square-foot site also include a large 3,200-square-feet patio area for outdoor eating in addition to performance areas provided indoors. The restaurant will sit in the ground level of a riverfront apartment building, with the Beerhead Bar & Eatery and a suite of spin-off restaurants tied to Crop Bistro serving as its neighbors.
With renderings reading “Rust Belt Baby” in marquee letters on an inside wall, hardwood from floor to ceiling and a cowgirl pinup cutout above the bar, the restaurant’s décor and design will highlight the style and tone of Rascal Flatt’s brand.
The East Bank Flats project wanted to be sure to carve out a place for country music and originally reached out to country singer Toby Keith, famous for songs such as “Red Solo Cup” and “Beer for my Horses.” However, that business deal fell through after the Arizona company that manages Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill chain took on its own legal problems. Keith’s would-be restaurant still remains vacant.
Putting that setback aside, those involved with the project are thrilled with how it turned around. “A restaurant supported by a national name like Rascal Flatts is the perfect addition to the Flats East Bank,” developer Scott Wolstein said in a news release distributed after the public meeting. “From the beginning, we set out to build an urban waterfront destination, and we’re excited to be able to offer this type of concept in conjunction with our existing restaurants and entertainment venues. It’s also a testament to Cleveland’s resurgence for us to be able to attract these types of businesses.”
The renovation of the flats has been an ongoing endeavor. The Flats East Bank redevelopment is a partnership between The Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties driving $750 million in waterfront redevelopment with an 18-story office tower, trendy hotel, state of the art fitness club, and a range of local restaurants. Fall 2015 marked the completion of Phase II with even more amenities to the growing riverfront district as it added 241 unit high-end residential, restaurants, entertainment venues, and extensive riverfront boardwalk.
Aside from the vacant Toby Keith restaurant space, the Flats East Bank is totally booked with retail space. Other tenants include FWD, a seasonal waterfront nightclub; Alley Cat Oyster Bar; Punch Bowl Social; the Big Bang dueling-piano bar; and Coastal Taco, set to open in May.
“To land what we think is the quintessential country music band to be the host of a rotating series of live country music acts is going to bring a whole different crowd to downtown Cleveland,” Fishman said of Rascal Flatts, according to Cleveland.com. “Music is very important to the live, work, play mantra that the Wolstein family has established for this district, so we’ve been chasing music deals all over the country. When we happened upon these guys, it was a perfect match for what we were trying to accomplish.”
A few John Carroll University students shared their excitement about the restaurant’s opening.
“It is good to see a famous band from Ohio supporting and investing in an emerging entertainment hotspot in the city of Cleveland,” said sophomore Pat White.
Junior Taylor Homyk, a very enthusiastic and dedicated fan of country music, agreed saying, “I am so excited to go to this new restaurant. I love Rascal Flatts and I can’t wait to see what they do with the place, but I know that it will be amazing.”
Rascal Flatts’ band representatives have not yet commented on the restaurant. However, the band has ties to Ohio beyond this project. All members of the group are from the Buckeye State, lead singer Gary LeVox graduated from Ohio State University and the band formed in Columbus more than fifteen years ago.
Editor’s Note: Information from Cleveland.com, Tasteofcountry.com and Theboot.com was used in this report.