Dining options are expanding in Solon, with a new restaurant planned for the city’s central retail district on SOM Center Road.
Before the city Planning Commission on Tuesday was a site plan and variance requests associated with City Barbecue, a 3,008-square-foot restaurant planned for land at 6372 SOM Center Road, near Station Street.
A drive-thru is part of the proposal that will need to be reviewed by the City Council Safety and Public Properties Committee this week prior to a vote of the planning commission.
The site has been vacant for about nine years and had been home to a variety of restaurants, including Anthony’s and Dino’s. The building on the site had been demolished a couple years ago by property owner Steve Passov at the request of the city as it had fallen into disrepair.
City Planning Director Robert S. Frankland said that a problem with this site historically was parking. The new restaurant will share parking in a lot on SOM with the adjacent Mr. Chicken, which Mr. Passov also owns, Mr. Frankland said.
“The recipe they have now to be able to share parking will result in a successful and functioning restaurant on that property finally,” Mr. Frankland said. “We are always looking for unique restaurants in Solon and City Barbecue fits into the plan.”
The restaurant, which plans to open by fall, will also include outdoor seating. Green space will be added.
“They will have more designated access points instead of a big flat area of pavement, so aesthetically it should look better,” Mr. Frankland said.
Pending city approvals, plans are to get started with construction by spring. Mr. Frankland said this is something that has been in the planning for a couple of years, but this is the first time the restaurant has come forth with a plan before the commission.
“The city has been very supportive of this,” Mr. Frankland said, “but times are challenging and with a restaurant, they need to consider when is a strategic time to move forward.”
City Barbecue is based in the Columbus area. Another nearby location is on Chagrin Boulevard in Beachwood.
Mr. Frankland said that the building planned will meet the city’s design standards. The restaurant has large metal smokers that are a design element and will be located toward SOM Center Road. Direct access to the restaurant will be off of SOM, but also an option is to come in off of Aurora Road and go through the parking lot, Mr. Frankland explained.
The drive-thru is being planned for the south side of the building and wrapping around the back.
“It’s a tight site, no doubt about it,” Mr. Frankland said. “The city is aware of attempts in the past to make it work, and hopefully that will be taken into consideration by planning and council.
“It will be a nice addition to the downtown and diversifies our restaurant choices, which is something I think the public wants.”
The restaurant offers a variety of ribs, chicken and pulled pork options, among gluten free choices with everything smoked on site.