Brews News

The Office Bistro

Cuyahoga Falls & Akron

Chad W. Lutz
It's Friday: 5:00pm. I've just closed out of my last article for the evening, shut the computer down, and now find myself staring out the window at a beautiful herd of clouds carelessly meandering across the sky. It's the end of the workday; it's the end of the workweek. So, naturally, I'm heading back to The Office.

In this case, The Office isn't where I sit in front of a computer for eight hours a day, five days a week (and 5:00pm is actually more like 2:30pm), it's a posh addition to the Cuyahoga Falls River Front where people can grab a few quick appetizers or kick back with a couple of drinks after the weekly grind has stop strangling any memory of a social life we might have left by Friday afternoon.

Formally known as The Office Bistro, the award-winning restaurant chain includes two locations: Akron and Cuyahoga Falls. My particular visit took me to the Falls location. I honestly had no idea The Office existed until I drove past after a lengthy run at the Gorge Metro Park just down the road one evening a couple of weeks ago. The outside featured a decent-sized patio section complete with large gas-powered fire pits and ample room for both lounging and dining. As a child of the outdoors, the patio section alone had me intrigued.

The Cuyahoga Falls location sits across the street from High Bridge Glens, which offers outdoor diners something pleasant to look at while they share meals or simply take in a few signature cocktail creations. Once inside, contemporary Earth tones and soft lighting create the posh atmospheres mentioned earlier. Deco light fixtures cast just the right amount of light an accent the modern and eclectic artwork hanging on the walls. The décor blends rustic with contemporary-warehouse and creates an inviting and energetic feel that's not overwhelming or in your face. It's the kind of place where you might order a fancy $10.00 martini while wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sandals but feel right at home in doing so. Maybe that's just Cuyahoga Falls for you?

As you make your way toward the bar area, the first thing you notice is a giant waterfall cascading down the wall across from the bar. The semi-circle bar offers ample seating for twenty, and a few high-tables and booths skirt around the outer rim of the bar area to provide even more seating. For avid sports fans, a large-screen, high-definition TV plays ESPN, Indians, Cavs, and Browns games around the clock. A mix of classic rock and pop hits blends into the background of conversation. At six, the staff turned the volume up, which wasn't too inviting, but the conversation seemed to pick up and the balance was soon restored.

The Office regularly offers drink specials and half-off appetizers. Originally Monday thru Friday 3:00pm to 6:00pm, patrons enjoy half-off appetizers during Happy Hour, which The Office recently extended from 11:00am to 6:00pm. The menu is comparable to Brico or Crave in terms of presentation, but a little on the lighter side, both in terms of palate and number of menu options. Most of the entrees include chicken or fish garnished with an array of sauces and reductions ranging from Ginger Glazed Salmon with lo mein noodles and miso broth to Blackened Tilapia with fresh tomato, lemon, and basil. The Office also offers several salad options and an ever-changing, and regularly delicious, soup of the day. I had the pleasure of trying their Chilled Potato Leek Soup, which on a hot day (it was still 91 at 7:00pm that day), really hit the spot.

One of the only two hang ups I had about the place, other than being stood up a half an hour by the person I was dining with, was the lack of reasonable parking. Sure, on a sunny day, parking down the block in front of the dealership doesn't sound taxing, but if it were raining, even the valet parking would have been nearly a thirty-yard dash. And for the average working Joe who doesn't feel the need to dole out $10.00 to $20.00 with tip to valet park their vehicle, this could present a turn off.

The other qualm I had, though minor, was the pricing for entrees. Granted The Office Bistro is a lounge, and a moderate-to-fully upscale one at that, the restaurant probably won't be a frequent choice. Entrees average $17.00 a pop. The rest of the food was reasonably priced, roughly $8.00 for full salad orders, burgers, sandwiches, and wraps, but you'll find me hard-pressed to order a $23.00 plate of sea scallops on my mid-level salary. However, the large portion sizes and lighter fare of foods help offset the high prices. The only real drawback is that if you don't like leftovers, this probably isn't the place for you. And when is that really ever an issue?

The other Office Bistro location sits on North Main St. in Downtown Akron across from Arsenic and Old Lace. This location, too, has a decent patio section, although covered, unlike the Falls location.

The Office Bistro
1846 Front St. Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44221/778 N Main St. Akron, Ohio 44310
330-376-9550
Mon-Thur: 11:00am - 11:00pm; Friday: 11:00am – 01:00am
Saturday: 11:00am – 01:00am (Falls)
Saturday: 04:00pm – 01:00am (Akron)
Sunday: 11:00am – 09:00pm (Falls)
Sunday: 10:00am – 08:00pm (Akron)
Prices: $3.45 to $23.95
photos courtesy of google images