Cuyahoga Falls -- If someone says, "Let's meet at the office," it may not be an invitation to congregate where desks and computers can be found. It may be a chance to try the city's newest dining establishment.
The Office Bistro | Lounge opened at 1846 Front St. in the Watermark building, across the street from the Sheraton Suites, on Nov. 21, 2012. This is the second location for owner Steve Turner, whose Office on North Main Street in Akron opened in July 2006.
Turner describes his restaurants as "polished casual … You can come in and get a burger and beer at not an expensive price, or you can spend some cash on a nice seafood dinner." Seafood is among the Office's specialties. Turner said he makes sure the fish make the trip from "river to plate in 24 hours." Entrees range from calamari to mussels, and salmon to striped bass.
The Office also specializes in steak, pasta, martinis, craft beer, and wine. Both locations have the same menu.
At the Falls location, Turner has around 30 employees, including Ryan Kilpatrick, the manager; Kyle Nelson, front of the house manager; and J.R. Hobbs, chief chef. The dining area seats 175 and the bar can accommodate 50. The Falls Office was built new by the local Testa Construction company.
Slightly smaller, the Akron Office can handle about 100 patrons altogether; 75 in the dining room and 25 in the bar, Turner said. Employees number around 12 including executive chef Dean Reed. The Akron Office is in a remodeled century-old building.
The décor in the bistro on Front Street has some unusual features including a copper-backed waterfall, valet service and a live video feed of the Cuyahoga River projected on a 90-inch screen.
Turner said he's been pleased with the response the Office in Cuyahoga Falls has received. "We're getting great feedback," he said. Turner said in addition to Cuyahoga Falls, he's drawing people from Silver Lake, Peninsula and other communities to the north.
"Our strength lies in the employees," Nelson said. "The people here are wonderful and they create an experience that brings customers back again and again." Each server's goal is to build a rapport with everyone who comes in the door, Turner added.
A hands-on owner who works 18-hour days, Turner said he likes the "socialization" he gains through his work. "Good or bad, you're interacting with the guests," he said. "That's important."
Nelson said he likes variety and problem solving. "Every day it's something different," he said. "Every day is a new set of challenges or rewards."
Office hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday brunch is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.