Whiskey bar

Char Whiskey Bar + Grille arrives at the Sweet Melissa space in Rocky River

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – A new restaurant concept will occupy the former Sweet Melissa space, 19337 Detroit Road, in downtown Rocky River. Char Whiskey Bar + Grid, owned by Julie Mesenburg and Gabe Zeller, is slated to open to the public this fall, Zeller said.

Char will specialize in locally sourced meats and fresh burgers, mac and cheese and more. The bar will serve over 100 types of whiskey. Some vegan and vegetarian options will also be available to order, according to Zeller.

Zeller and Mesenburg also own Barra, a local taco shop with locations in Sandusky and Amherst, as well as Lago in Lakeside Chautauqua. The idea behind Char has been simmering in Zeller’s mind for years, he said.

“Char was the original concept before I opened Barra,” he said. “The idea was hanging around. I had friends who were interested in doing something, so we started walking around and this one popped up.

Sweet Melissa closed in May, leaving behind its space on Detroit Road. Construction began last week, bringing some updates to the space.

A new addition will include an expanded U-shaped bar that can accommodate 22 customers at a time. The counters and tables in the space are all constructed from reclaimed wood, ordered from Northern Ohio Lumber and Timber.

Zeller said he expects the store to open between October 15 and November 1.

“Everyone has been very nice on social media,” Zeller said. “We are thrilled to be a part of the Rocky River community.

More information about Char – including a preliminary menu – can be found at char-rockyriver.com.

For photos and videos of the extraordinary food and drink scenes in Northeast Ohio, follow @DineDrinkCLE on Instagram.

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