AVON - The Avon Brewing Company plans to open a new location in the former ZZ’s Big Top, a popular bar at the corner of Jaycox and Detroit roads that closed in October 2018.
ZZ's Big Top, famous for its chicken wings and voted the best tavern in northeast Ohio on the Cleveland Hot List, has been purchased by Avon Brewing Company owner Mathias Hauck, and his partners Brian and Ken Weaver. The Weavers are Hauck's brother-in-law and father-in-law.
The new owners declined to provide the purchase price, but the property was listed on Showcase.com and Loopnet.com for $2 million, a price that included the contents. The 1.7-acre property includes the 3,042-square-foot building built in 1945 and 45 parking spaces.
Hauck and the Weavers currently own and operate the Avon Brewing Company, located on the northwest corner of Detroit and Stoney Ridge roads in the French Creek Historic District, two miles from ZZ’s Big Top, which had been a popular destination since 1984. The building also has been home to a restaurant named Spermulli's and Beckert's North Ridge Tavern in the 1950s and 60s, said Rick Schneider of the Avon Building Department.
Hauck and his partners hope to open the new restaurant, which they are naming the Avon Brewing Company Presents ZZ’s Big Top, by November or December. The original Avon Brewing Company will remain open.
Hauck has not submitted any applications for the bar's plans to the city yet, but is working with the Lorain County Health Department and other officials to update the building, which was built in 1945.
"The building needs some work," said Hauck, who noted that all the bar's fixtures except the long wooden bar were removed. "We're going to try to get a light 1950s-style jukebox to help it maintain its roadhouse character.”
"The building isn't ancient, but it's an old classic Avon building," he added. "We feel strong in our ability to revive a landmark."
The papers transferring ownership from former ZZ's Big Top owner Keith Zeman were signed on Wednesday. In addition to this project, Hauck and his partners also plan to open the Medina Brewing Company in the fall and the Tap Room, a small restaurant north of what will now be the original Avon Brewing Company.
Hauck said Wednesday that he plans to focus on keeping the bar a wing place, while blending the new with the old by providing pub chips, fresh pork rinds and microbrews.
A third-generation Avon resident, Hauck said he started thinking about buying the ZZ’s building as soon as he heard it was closing.
"We're big dreamers," Hauck said of his team. "This is the perfect opportunity for us to expand our brand and continue to be a part of the community. We're excited. People are willing to travel from out of town to visit places like the brewing company and what ZZ's will be as we bring in our own flair. Avon is becoming a destination for people to travel to and dine.”
ZZ’s location is on a busy intersection, with a newer shopping plaza on the southeast corner and a 23,000-square-foot multi-tenant office with a 17-car parking garage under construction on the northeast corner.
"Believe me, there was no shortage of suitors for the property, but he didn't sell it to any of them," Hauck said. "Later on, when we talked to Keith, he didn't say no to us. He wanted his life's work to continue, and we respect that."
Zeman could not be reached for comment, but Pam Fechter, coordinator for the Avon Planning Department, confirmed Wednesday that Hauck had plans to re-open the bar and keep part of it the same.
"It's an old-town favorite," Fechter said. "This development for the property has happened very recently, just over the last couple of months."
Matt Petrella, who works at the Avon Brewing Company, is going to be the general manager at the new restaurant.
"We want to bring that back to them, and give people what they were used to," Petrella said. "There were a lot of people who were upset when ZZ's closed. We plan to mix the old-school with new-school and bring in new people that normally wouldn't have come in otherwise."
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