A long dining table during lunch time in a Highland Square home is invitingly set with with a big bowl of mixed greens in the center. A heaping plate of freshly grilled chicken and other salad toppings in bowls of shredded cheeses, olives, vegetables and dressings surround it, along with hearty, grain breads and fruity preserves.
Evelyn “Evey” Williams says a blessing while five of her nine children and her husband Michael bow their heads. The table conversation is at first a low whirr, like an airliner idling on a tarmac. But then, after bread is broken, it takes off full throttle down the runway, with laughter, shrieks and gentle ribbing among siblings.
With Mother’s Day approaching, the Williams household recently spent time sharing what’s it’s like to be a part of a large family whose mom wears enough hats to make a milliner blush.
At Highland Square's java haunt, Angel Falls Coffee Company, you've probably seen him. Chances are, you likely know him. And if you don't know him you will at some point.
Say "hello" to Jerry Raker. Unless he says "hey" first. And that's more than likely.
"I'm just naturally social, not afraid of crowds or talking to people," says Raker, a 31-year Akron resident who grew up in Wadsworth.
Raker says the cafe "is my home away from home." It's also where he has cultivated a generous array of friendships and acquaintances. He's been referred to as the "unofficial mayor of Highland Square."
I met Raker in December 2011, when I was jockeying with my laptop for the day's password at Angel Falls' counter. He approached me with the password and said, "I just wanted to talk with you."
Back in the early 1940s, Leo Walter's grandmother came to live with his family, bringing along some of her furniture. Walter took on a refinishing project with some of those pieces. He found he had an affinity for restoring older furnishings, and eventually he started buying and reselling other furniture.
However, it didn't stop at furniture because along the way he began collecting four-by-six photographs used by people to document their travel: postcards.
And there would be more items. Lots.
Packard Institute opens second Highland Square location
The idea behind business is to flourish and provide a twofold benefit: a service for the consumer and a way to make a living for the business owner.
So it may seem odd for one local health professional to acknowledge, “Sadly, business is good; the young people come in droves.”
Raynard Packard isn’t complaining. He’s really making an observation about the rise in clients at the Packard Institute, an outpatient clinic for adolescents and young adults battling substance abuse. In fact, his statement may also be viewed as a testament to Packard’s success helping others combat their addiction through counseling, intervention and healing.
SPIRITS, a new, independent short film made in Akron, will make its public debut at Akron's Highland Theatre in November. Created by Akron couple Blue Green and Joanne Green, SPIRITS is about the "consumption of, loss of and protection of spirits," according to the movie's tagline. A premiere party for SPIRITS, will be held at Highland Theater on Friday, Nov. 30 at 9:30 p.m. Doors open at 9:15 p.m. The public is welcome. Tickets are $5.
SPIRITS is a truly independent movie created with a completely volunteer cast and crew from the greater Akron area. It was directed by Blue Green and written by Joanne Green and Chris Miller with music by Chad Jenson. The main characters are played Jim Nezbeth, Tony Lee, Dan McCoy and James Rhodes. The full cast is on the SPIRITS website. The primary set location was donated by The Office Bistro and Lounge in Akron's North Hill.
According to head writer and producer Joanne Green, "SPIRITS is somewhat of an experiment in producing high-quality, low-cost films in Akron using donated set locations and enlisting the support of dedicated, local citizens."
With a warm smile one early morning backed by wind and drizzle — thanks to remnants of Hurricane Sandy — Jonathan Morschl slipped into the Angel Falls Cafe and took a seat at the popular hangout.
A resident of Highland Square, Morschl was a recipient of the 2012 "30 For the Future" awards, sponsored by the Greater Akron Chamber. The annual event recognizes outstanding young professionals between the ages of 25 and 39 in the region who have made notable contributions to the community in and outside of the workplace.
"I was definitely happy, but it was more impressive to be included with past recipients," Morschl said. "These people have done a lot of good for Akron and in a short amount of time."
OK, be honest, when you think of places to get body art, the last name one might expect is Good Life Tattoos & Piercings in Highland Square. An habitué of such places might even think twice.
But Good Life co-owner Jeremiah Currier says when he and business partner and tattoo artist, Jesse Strother, were coming up with a name (formerly Akron Ink), they wanted to create one that was "inviting, positive ... that all you have to do is add tattoos and piercings at the end of it and know what we are."
Some back story: Strother has the name tattooed on his knuckles. Readers likely would acknowledge inked bodies and piercings have become far more mainstream. Tattoos aren't just for the bad boy straddling a Hog without wearing a helmet while ripping down I-77, nor are piercings only adorning those crazed killers chasing bad-acting teenagers in direct-to-DVD movies.
Far from it.
With menu items such as the "diabolical burger" and "defibrillator burger," a hungry customer might be inclined to go vegan or at least have a will in place.
"We're carnivorous at heart," says Fat Bob Grill owner David Tate. "You gotta splurge once in awhile, and I think our burgers is the place. And these are just some of our specialty burgers; we can be healthy with the rest of the menu."
Not for the feint of heart, the diabolical burger is dressed with bacon-wrapped tater tots, cheddar, sour cream and sweet chili sauce. The defibrillator is stacked with ribs, cheddar, onion straws and barbecue sauce.
Tate and his wife Melani, who live in Akron, started the Fat Bob, named after a Harley-Davidson model, about two years ago, and relocated the grill from Parma to Highland Square this past July.
Situated in the back of the American Legion Post 19 at 783 W. Market, customers may initially think they're arriving at a speakeasy, having to knock or ring a bell on a windowless door. But that's part of the charm, and it lets folks see Tate preparing the meals firsthand.