On the ground floor of the Skylight Office Tower, at the northwest corner of West Huron Road and West 2nd Street in downtown’s Tower City complex, a new, large and thematic establishment called The Astro Restaurant could open as early as this September (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.
Space-themed restaurant coming to Tower City
After sitting empty for seven years, the space at Tower City Center that housed Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Cleveland finally will have a new restaurant with a new theme, possibly as early as this September. But it took an invitation from Bedrock Cleveland to consider the site at 230 W. Huron Rd. before the new restaurant’s partners decided to splashdown there.
The new establishment, to be called The Astro Restaurant, sounds as though it will have an out-of-this-world theme to it — as does its rocketing logo. But the restaurant’s partners Jeremiah Burks, Ryan Gullatt, Andre Scott and Christopher Thomas aren’t yet willing to confirm that theme. In March, Scott, Thomas, Aja Mattox, Chantel Coronel and Joe D’Amato opened the Tailgate Sports Bar and Grille, 1938 Euclid Ave. Two years ago, Burks, Gullatt, Scott and Thomas launched the Haunted House Restaurant at Cedar and Taylor roads in Cleveland Heights. The partners are building another Haunted House Restaurant in Atlanta.
“We have acquired the old Hard Rock restaurant inside of Tower City,” Scott confirmed to NEOtrans. “We are looking to bring something unique and different to Downtown Cleveland. This will not be another Haunted House Restaurant, but as creators we will be bringing another themed conceptual restaurant that will have the line wrapped around Huron Road.”
Bedrock is aggressively pursuing a redevelopment of Tower City along with the riverfront area between West Huron and the Cuyahoga River. The riverfront development’s first phase looks to include the Cleveland Cavaliers practice facility relocated from suburban Independence, topped by a hotel, and with an office tower possibly for Rocket Mortgage as well as a riverside residential building.
The Astro Restaurant’s partners pose outside the front doors to their future establishment. From left are Christopher Thomas, Jeremiah Burks and Andre Scott. Not pictured is Ryan Gullatt (Christopher Thomas’ Instagram page mayor_of_bedford).
A celestial-themed restaurant might work well with a more visible office presence for Dan Gilbert’s Rocket Mortgage which has about 1,400 workers based in the nearby Higbee Building. That property and its casino were acquired by Vici Companies from Gilbert three years ago. Gilbert doesn’t like paying rent at non-Gilbert owned properties. Rocket Mortgage’s lease at Higbee’s runs out at the end of 2026.
“A partnership was cultivated from Tower City reaching out to us to bring a themed restaurant to the space,” Scott said. “When it comes to themed restaurants, I believe we have a great understanding as to what we need to deliver for guests.”
The Haunted House Restaurant, located in Melt’s former Cleveland Heights space, is an example. It features artwork and characters from scary movies and ghoulish TV shows like “Beetlejuice,” “Friday the 13th,” “Ghostbusters” and “The Addams Family.” Menu items also are topical, like Scooby Snacks, Chucky Rolls, Final Destination, as well as drinks like The Potion Bowl.
“As far as the theme (at Tower City), we are not ready to reveal the concept yet,” Scott added. “It will be an American menu with some unique beverages.”
Preliminary logo concept for The Astro Restaurant (Christopher Thomas’ Instagram page mayor_of_bedford).
In February, the partners incorporated The Astro Restaurant LLC with the Ohio Secretary of State. Then they reserved the Web address theastrorestaurant.com although there is no content there yet. They have also created an Instagram page TheAstroCLE, tagged from Thomas’ page where he has shared photos and news about their proposed Tower City location, its logo and more. Thomas said on his Instagram page that the partners hope to open The Astro Restaurant in September.
The former Hard Rock Cafe at Tower City is a large space on two levels totaling 8,900 square feet, according to a building permit application filed by Thomas with the city. Typically, restaurant spaces are about one-third as large that. The restaurant has a lower level that includes the kitchen and restrooms. It is at the same elevation as the middle level of Tower City’s The Avenue shopping mall. As part of a planned mall reconfiguration, that middle level is proposed to be removed, at least in terms of the public concourses around the perimeter.
In March 2016, when Gilbert acquired The Avenue that contained the Hard Rock Cafe, the writing was on the wall for the restaurant. The global chain’s 1998 arrival in Cleveland followed the completion of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum by three years. Hard Rock International opened the Hard Rock Rocksino in 2013 at Northfield Park in Northfield. Hard Rock wasn’t going to pay rent to a competitor to keep the duplicative Hard Rock Cafe at Tower City open. So it was closed after the crowds of the Republican National Convention dispersed in July. Cafe employees were given priority consideration for open positions at the Northfield Park cafe and Rocksino.