Mac Edwards is new head of Caritas Village. 

It's a gathering place, a safe place," says Mac Edwards of Caritas Village. Edwards, who was the driving force behind the restaurants McEwen's, The Farmer, and Brooks Pharm2Fork, recently took over as executive director of Caritas Village from its founder Onie Johns.

Johns created the community center under the ethos of "love for all people." Edwards fully buys into the idea. "It was the chance to do something good, something different," Edwards says of taking the gig.

Like Johns, Edwards lives in the neighborhood, in a blue duplex right across the street from the center. It was part of his compensation package, says Edwards.

click to enlarge Mac Edwards does good at Caritas Village. - PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Photographs by Justin Fox Burks
  • Mac Edwards does good at Caritas Village.
click to enlarge food_mac_edwards_51a1010.jpg

As for the restaurant, Edwards says to expect a lot of the old favorites — the sloppy joes, the patty melt — as well as some dishes borrowed from the Farmer.

On a recent afternoon, the special was chicken thighs and legs with mashed potatoes and green beans (plus dessert!). Sides included braised greens and sauteed carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash.

Prices top out at $8, and guests can always pay it forward by adding an extra buck or two to cover the next fellow.

There are grilled cheese sandwiches and a "one story" club, quesadillas, chicken soup, and meat and two plates. More favorites on the menu are the Cobb salad and the veggie burger. The patty for the burger comes from Fuel. Edwards plans to source as much as possible locally. The pasta, for example, is made by Miles Tamboli.

There's a pot of vegetable beef stew near the door, along with squares of cornbread. Edwards says anyone who needs a meal can get one at Caritas, gratis.

It's a place where all races, of all stations can break bread.

"Everyone eats together," Edwards says.

Caritas Village, 2509 Harvard, 327-5246, caritasvillage.org

The Hi-Tone is finally, finally (!) serving food. It's been a process, says Hi-Tone owner Brian "Skinny" McCabe. It took three-and-a-half years to bulldoze through low-dollar summertimes and "janky-ass" equipment to get to this point.

The menu is spare but creative, designed by Josh McLane. The emphasis here is on hand-held foods. Think of those paper food trays and you've got the picture.

There's the Tapenadchos, with homemade pita chips and olive tapenade and pizzas straight out of your high-school cafeteria (cheese, pepperoni, and sausage). Sandwiches include the Hamtone and the vegetarian Cara. HEELS is a tribute to McLane's band and is made with bacon, Provolone, spicy peanut butter, and homemade fruit jam. "It's a beautiful, beautiful marriage," says McCabe of the sandwich, which he says is straight-up stoner food.

Right now, the Hi-Tone is working out the kinks. Getting the staff used to serving food, correcting the typos on the menu. But, McCabe says, so far so good. Folks are coming after work to eat, or eating before gigs. "I won't say it's selling like hot cakes because we don't serve hot cakes. It's selling like hot sandwiches," he says.

Specials start at about $3, and sandwiches run to $9.

One thing that folks can just forget about is the resurrection of the old favorite dishes from the original Hi-Tone. No way, no how. "It's my Hi-Tone," McCabe asserts.

Hi-Tone, 412 Cleveland, 490-0335, hitonecafe.com

Cafe 1912 will be marking its 16th year this weekend with menu specials. Much-beloved dishes that have slipped from the menu will reappear. Among them are the pizza with caramelized onions, mushrooms, and gruyere cheese; arugula salad caprese; fried spring roll with vegetables and beef; and veal piccata. The Queen Mother cake with cassis ice cream is being revived from the La Tourelle Menu. Queen Mother Cake is the flourless rich chocolate cake using ground almonds, based on Maida Heatter's recipe.

Reservations are recommended (722-2700).

Cafe 1912's 16th anniversary, September 21st-23rd.

Cafe 1912, 243 S. Cooper, 722-2700, cafe1912.com

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