Can the Galleria be revitalized? Maybe. The Winking Lizard restaurant hopes so and Wednesday, they opened a spin-off restaurant in the struggling shopping mall.
Winks is the newest downtown restaurant, opening in the Galleria at East 9th and St Clair. Winks is not so much betting on a revitalization of the Galleria as they are betting on a resurgence of downtown night life.
The restaurant owners believe the recent steady influx of young downtown residents and the need of a sit down casual restaurant, for office workers, in that part of downtown will make them a success.
John Lane, Vice President of operations for the Winking Lizard, also is counting on out of towners to spark business.
"You've got all these travelers, the hotels, the Westin is getting ready to blast open after a $65 million dollar renovation," Lane said. "We're going to capitalize on the people coming to our city and they want to see something local."
So they've tried to make Winks feel local. The bar is re purposed wood from the now closed Twinsburg stamping plant. The table tops are also re purposed from various closed Cleveland companies. More than half of the beer, wine and booze selections are Ohio made, and you can't miss the leg lamps covering the bar.
It's a big investment in the struggling Galleria. But soon, a state of the art YMCA will open up filling a huge space. Winks owners don't believe they are dependent on a Galleria resurgence, but they are hoping to help bring back the glory days of the one time bustling shopping mall.