Sunday, November 27, 2011

Youngstown's new chicken & waffles restaurant is open from midnight to 6am

Last Saturday evening, was heading south along Market Street then made the turn onto Southern Boulevard (toward St. Dom's and the Boulevard Tavern) and this sign was flashing, full of light:

Can this be?

A new restaurant in the city which OPENS at midnight?

Enter "Annie Mae's Chicken & Waffles"

Fast forward one week to tonight, and a trip to this oasis around 3am both confirmed their hours and provided to our crew a great & tasty meal.

Annie Mae's Chicken and Waffles is located on the site of the former restaurants over the decades such as "The Oven" and "Busy Bee" and a Jamaican establishment as well, and has a huge kitchen with ample seating . . . which was mostly full at 3am.

Here's a picture of my plate:
a delicious & fluffy, yet crisp, waffle with sweet butter and a fried chicken breast on top. with a smattering of additional syrup.
Sweet and savory!

Here's a friend's plate who ordered the grits, which sometimes are hard to find locally. (at least good grits)

The Uptown area was very vibrant at that time of night, with many folks walking over from nearby establishments or parking in their adjacent lot.

Even though the late-night hours were a nice bonus, looking at the front of their menu, Annie Mae's has daytime hours as well.

From the menu, their hours of operation:
Monday to Thursday - 7am to 8pm
Friday and Saturday - 7am to 6am
Sunday - 7am to 8pm

- - -

If you're looking to support small businesses in Youngstown, give this place a try.

I've been to Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles in LA, and lived next to Gladys Knight's Chicken & Waffles in Atlanta, and just taking the waffles, Annie Mae's waffles are better than both.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

cover of The Economist is all about "diasporas" - Youngstown are you listening?

Thousands of former citizens of the Youngstown & Mahoning Valley are returning to the nest this Thanksgiving, walking past airport newsstands seeing the image below on the cover of The Economist:

And there are networking penguins on the cover no less!

Perhaps this is the most graphically perfect representation of the Youngstown diaspora, due to our university's beloved mascot.

(images the property of The Economist)

As an exercise, everyone should read the story in the magazine and each time you see the word "diaspora" substitute it with "people from Youngstown but living elsewhere" and let the message sink in.

Heck, turn it into a drinking game, downing a shot of gravy or slivovica each time you read see "diaspora."

Let's open a bottle and read some examples:

point 1:
"People from Youngstown but living elsewhere" have always been a potent economic force, but the cheapness and ease of modern travel [and ease of communication] have made them larger and more numerous than ever before.

point 2:
These networks of kinship [think cookie table] and language [think brier hill pizza] make it easier to do business across distances.

point 3:
"People from Youngstown but living elsewhere" also help spread ideas. Many of the brightest minds are educated at universities. When they go home, they take with them both language and contacts.

point 4:
"People from Youngstown but living elsewhere" spread money too. They not only send cash to their families, they also help companies in their current location cooperate with local Ohio companies.

point 5:
Migration bring youth to aging areas and allows ideas to circulate in millions of mobile minds.

- - -

in short, developing an effort to engage the Youngstown diaspora can...
- improve Youngstown-based businesses, charities, and institutions
- support a pathway for those wishing to come home

So now that this diaspora concept is becoming more mainstream, can Youngstown do more NOW to engage its Diaspora?

check out what our friends to the north in Cleveland are doing this weekend:
"Potential boomerangs are the target of a talent attraction effort under the aegis of the Cleveland Leadership Center. This Saturday, the group is sponsoring a networking event aimed at college students and recent graduates at the Corner Alley downtown -- intersection of East 4th Street and Euclid Avenue -- from 3 to 5 p.m.
Those who attend can meet with corporate recruiters and civic leaders to learn more about opportunities in Cleveland -- and they'll be only a couple of blocks away from the Christmas lighting celebration on Public Square.
If that sounds like something for you -- or for your children who'll be home for the holiday -- go to for more information or to buy tickets."
and Pittsburgh? (from the Cle PD)
"Civic, political and foundation leaders there are offering a $100,000 reward to someone who will move to Pittsburgh.
They're looking for a special someone, 45 or older, who's both ambitious and civic-minded. Half the money can be used to launch a new enterprise, but the other half goes into a charitable trust the recipient has to spend in Pittsburgh.
"We want to bring in people with wisdom, experience and leadership skills to build the civic capacity," says Shawn Bannon, spokesman for the Experienced Dreamers contest.
It's an essay contest, to be precise. Entrants have until Dec. 16 to detail their grand plans. The winner will be chosen in an online vote.
One middle-aged dreamer will not transform Pittsburgh, of course, but this is about marketing. Pittsburgh has spent decades reseeding its entrepreneurial culture and reclaiming industrial wastelands."
 and Scranton?
"Rediscover Scranton volunteers promote and strengthen greater Scranton’s quality of life and business assets by identifying and contacting accomplished professionals with ties to greater Scranton, informing them of economic, quality of living and growth opportunities, and encouraging them to relocate their businesses and families to the area.

The program cultivates relationships between former and current residents of the area. Rediscover Scranton targets successful company executives, professionals, entrepreneurs, individuals who work in the creative industry and any other successful former residents.

Rediscover Scranton has formed partnerships with leaders from local and regional government and non-profit organizations, as well as local colleges and universities."

and Youngstown?
(fill in the blank)


Sunday, November 20, 2011

a look inside Joe Maxx Coffee - opens downtown at 7am on Monday

Got the chance to step inside downtown's newest establishment over the weekend. Joe Max Coffee looks fantastic and was warmly welcomed by entrepreneur Mike Avery and the team.

Doors open at 7am Monday.

Great job of the interior design, especially with the red hues with black and white accents. The colors match the bridges and university at entry points to the downtown.

Roasted coffees, smoothies, and other drinks can be found now at the base of the Realty Building in the space occupied a few years ago by The Bean Counter Cafe.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Friday, November 18, 2011

recap of first use of Youngstown's new community oven (and our blog's first video)

"a harbinger of a fully-developed neighborhood"

For the first time in many many years, an outdoor neighborhood bread oven was used to prepare nourishing food in the Smoky Hollow Neighborhood of Youngstown.

It happened yesterday at the weekly lunch of the Rotary Club of Youngstown.

The leadership of Wick Neighbors Inc, a CDC advancing the development of the Wick Ave area and the adjacent neighborhood, joined the Rotarians at the MVR to literally "break bread" together - in the form of artisanal hand-crafted pizzas.

The outdoor community bread oven was installed in the Hollow earlier this year at the park now known as the Harrison Commons.

Besides the oven and an herb garden planted around its periphery, Harrison Commons is also home to cut stone benches, a decorative pergola which doubles as a stage, and the replication in granite of a very old Sandborn map highlighting the previous locations of multiple bread ovens throughout the Hollow.

(please see this post from SY in July 2011 for a full overview)

- - -

Another first-time events aligns with the first-time feast from the oven...

As seen below, it's the first ever topical neighborhood video produced by the New Media Team employed at Shout Youngstown.

Check it out:

You can learn more information about Wick Neighbors and their ongoing efforts here.

Next up?

Fixing up and construction along the Hollow's Walnut Street corridor.

more details coming soon . . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

kiwi fruit, community bread ovens, & other great people lead Youngstown CityScape's 5th Annual Beautification Awards

Some of the homes, churches, business, and neighborhood improvements that are taking place in the city of Youngstown are simply amazing.

For example, check out this well maintained kiwi fruit trellis (with furniture underneath) that provides both shade and fruit during the year:

Here's another great project - the working community bread oven with herb garden in the Smoky Hollow at Harrison Commons:

What do these two projects have in common?

They are two of the many great projects from 2011 recognized during the 5th annual CityScape Beautification Awards in the City of Youngstown.

Here's a video recap of the event by our friends over at Defend Youngstown.

Congrats to all the award winners!

Go here to nominate your friends, churches, or any other effort that inspires you at this web site.

wednesday morning 8am update: at this link, you'll find a list of all the Beautification awardees, courtesy of The Business-Journal.

wednesday morning 8:30am update: at this link, you'll see a video from the event (which two videos later has a story on new downtown signs) courtesy of WKBN.

- - -

To all global readers interested in Youngstown happenings, if you're not signed up yet to receive Defend Youngstown's daily updates, SY highly recommends it.

For example, if your schedule is really busy, it's a great way to get important hyper-local information synthesized to your email box every weekday.

You can sign up for the daily news updates here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

casting call: looking to interview this Saturday those familiar with Paramount Theater

Last weekend's recordings of personal stories tied to the Paramount Theater in downtown youngstown were an amazing success.

It's just stunning, when family history and city history and even world history come together.

for example, were you one of the moviegoers at the Paramount when they announced the U.S. had been attacked at Pearl Harbor?

Do you or does someone you know, a friend or a family member perhaps, have the ability to contribute stories to once-in-a-lifetime oral history project?

A few slots still exist this Saturday from 11am to 4pm for people to share their favorite stories about downtown youngstown and the Paramount Theater.

Please call the McDonough Museum at 330.941.1400 to discuss how you or your loved ones/friends can contribute to this outstanding project, such that generations in the future can listen to your perspective.

The content will be used for an upcoming gallery event from Jan 13 to Feb 3, as the Museum will be transformed into a celebration of all things Paramount. Very cool stuff.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Moment of Geek: Dr. Rachael Maddow mentions this blog and Youngstown's "cool" new bike racks on msnbc

Lean Forward.

That's what I tried to do Thursday night while listening to Rachael Maddow's news show on msnbc amongst the cacophony in our living room.

"Did Dr. Maddow just give a shoutout to our new bike racks downtown?"
"What . . . did she just mention the SY blog on national cable television?"

While the segment was overwhelmingly about concentrated poverty, "Occupy Youngstown" and larger political forces at work across the country that was really worth listening to, there was a smaller snippet of airtime introducing Youngstown as "a place with an amazing determination to stick it out."

Clip here...

But the stories behind the content of that snippet are pretty cool themselves.

Just how did this picture pop-up on msnbc tonight?

The neat "story behind the story" is a great tale of the good things happening in Youngstown, which then flow together into a single moment and a single photo.

First, metal sculptor extraordinaire Tony Armeni had completed the basic structure of the three, 10 foot tall bike racks to be positioned downtown. With a professional and amazing attention to detail, he needed to figure out the exact position of the racks and went downtown on a Saturday morning. (Tony's website of sculptures)

Next, photographer extraordinaire Tony Nicholas came downtown to volunteer and shoot pictures of the positioning, which would then have the black ground stands photoshopped out in order to create mock-ups of what the racks would really look like upon installation. (Tony's website of photos)

Finally, YSU students that weekend voluntarily organized a bike tour of the urban gardens developing in various spots in our city, and coming from the NorthSide Farmer's Market, rode through downtown so see the other recently-installed artisan bike racks down Federal Street.

By sheer coincidence, the sculpture team was positioning the pieces as the bike tour rode by. The bike tour stopped to inspect, the artist was in his place, and the photographer captured that exact moment on film.

And that exact moment captured by Tony Nicholas made it onto nationwide television tonight.

And now you know the rest if the story.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

rare event: studio space above Silver's Vogue open this Saturday

I remember my first time.

It was cold outside, snow on the ground.

A friend of a friend had an invite one evening to the Pernotto Studio above Silver's Vogue Shop.

It's a rare place to visit.

I heard of the vast & colorful space, with super-high ceilings, art etched into the floor, and Youngstown memorabilia and history woven into the fabric of each room.

Had to jump at the opportunity.

Good decision.

Now you can have the opportunity to check out this unique downtown space as well.

Held at the Pernotto Studio, Youngstown's first "Night of Decadence" will take place this Saturday, November 5.

The party will be a fundraiser for the Next Best Art, formed to establish a new contemporary arts center downtown, independent of academic of institutional control, by artists for artists.

Lasting from 6pm to 10pm, the Night of Decadence will feature:
  • imported decadent chocolates
  • flowing gallons of wine
  • plates of handcrafted biscotti and desserts
  • inspired tastes from downtown caterers
  • jazz by Teddy Pantellas
  • dj'ed dance beats
  • silent art auction
Tickets to the fundraiser and entry to the Pernotto Studio are $20, half that if members of the YSU Student Art Association.

If you're interested in checking out the space, get a ticket.
It's a fundraiser after all,

to take the first steps
in building additional gallery
and art research space
in downtown youngstown.

Or, you can leave your name in the comment section below (which will not be posted, automatic comments disabled) telling SY that you are interested in a ticket.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

lights in the trees installation on The West Side

A thousand kudos to Casey Malone for posting on this Halloween night these wonderful photos and story behind the "lights in the trees" one often sees while driving on the West Side.

These lights have come up over and over and over again in the past few months in conversation, and the existing web content on these lights have been lacking. More and more installations going up all over the city...